California authorities have issued arrest warrants for 17 individuals that are said to be involved in an Apple Store theft ring across the state. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the warrants on Thursday.
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.
The robbers would wear hoodies and enter Apple Stores in large groups, grabbing display devices such as iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks and leaving the stores”in a matter of seconds.”
Although law enforcement agencies in Oakland and San Luis Obispo conducted the investigation, multiple law enforcement agencies across the state were involved in apprehending the suspects.
“The successful collaborative efforts of law enforcement has resulted in dismantling a large criminal ring,” said Oakland Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick.
“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.”
Charges against the suspects include plotting to commit grand theft against individuals.