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17 Charged in Apple Store Crime Spree in California

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on September 28, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Over the last few months, over $1 million in Apple products have been stolen from various Apple stores, from San Diego to Butte County. Though the band of thieves took a bite out of Apple, it appears the police have taken a bite out of crime, thanks to Alameda and San Luis Obispo police departments and the California Department of Justice eCrime unit.

To date, 17 people have been charged in the spree. Police arrested seven adults this week and booked them in Alameda County Jail. An eighth was already in custody in Sonoma County. Arrest warrants have been issued for the other nine suspects.

Common M.O. -- Stealing Thousands in Seconds

The Apple robberies and burglaries were all very similar. A group of people would dash into Apple stores wearing dark hoodies and grab products from the shelves and display tables in a matter of seconds. These daring events mostly occurred in broad daylight and in stores filled with customers, and were caught on video surveillance footage. In a few instances, it appears the customers are incidentally assaulted.

Sprees Spanned 19 Counties; Three Counties Have Already Pressed Charges

The crime spree, which occurred from about May to August 2018 spanned 19 counties throughout California. Criminal charges will be brought in each country, and vary depending on the value of the products stolen and subtle differences in each event. More charges are expected in the coming weeks in other counties. Charges already brought include:

  • Five suspects in Fresno County were charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft and grand theft of personal property, stealing more than $25,000 worth of Apple goods.
  • Ten suspects in Alameda County, two of whom were also charged in Fresno County, were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, commercial burglary, and second-degree commercial burglary, stealing more than $60,000 in Apple product.
  • The remaining suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft charges in Santa Clara County.

These are all very serious charges, and all come with hefty prison sentences. As tempting as it is to see all of that glorious, expensive Apple product in the store when you cruise by, resist the temptation as best you can. And if you or your loved one does get involved in stealing, to any degree, contact a local criminal defense attorney, who can help minimize any punishment and hopefully help get life back on track.

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