SANTA CLARA – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arrest of and charges against 17 individuals for a robbery scheme targeting Apple retail stores across California that resulted in the loss of over $1 million.
The defendants are charged with entering Apple retail stores in large groups wearing hoodies and snatching products on display in a matter of seconds. The alleged crimes took place across 19 counties.
Seven adults were arrested on September 25, 2018 and booked in the Alameda County Jail. Another is currently in custody in Sonoma County. Arrest warrants have been issued for nine other suspects. The investigation is ongoing.
“Organized retail thefts cost California business owners millions and expose them to copycat criminals. Ultimately, consumers pay the cost of this merchandise hijacking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We will continue our work with local law enforcement authorities to extinguish this mob mentality and prosecute these criminals to hold them accountable.”
“The successful collaborative efforts of law enforcement has resulted in dismantling a large criminal ring,” said Oakland Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick.
The arrests are the product of an investigation conducted by the San Luis Obispo Police Department and the Oakland Police Department, with the assistance of the California Department of Justice eCrime Unit. The San Luis Obispo Police Department initiated the investigation following a series of thefts from Apple stores.
Local law enforcement agencies from the following counties have assisted in the investigation: Alameda County, Butte County, Contra Costa County, Fresno County, Kern County, Los Angeles County, Marin County, Monterey County, Orange County, Placer County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Sonoma County and Ventura County.
Attorney General Becerra has filed charges for conspiracy to commit grand theft against the individuals in Fresno, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.