17 now charged in Apple store thefts including father and son

Police are hopeful the rash of Apple store thefts across the state should be coming to an end. So far, 17 people have been charged in connection with "grab and go" thefts in 19 counties. 

Half of those accused were arrested in Oakland and includes two defendants who are father and son, both named Leo David Smith. 

Investigators say they've broken up a crime ring responsible for more than a million dollars in losses in the Apple store cases.

Many of the suspects were found at an East Oakland home right after the latest Emeryville theft. Police said the thieves fled in a gold Lexus.

"My teams actually executed a search warrant here in the city of Oakland," said Oakland police Lt. Clay Burch.

Oakland played a key role in the investigation of the 17 charged by the state attorney general in Alameda, Fresno and Santa Clara counties.

"We took into custody these seven adult suspects and one juvenile suspect," Burch said. 

The 10 defendants charged in Alameda County are the younger Leo David Smith, 23; Joshua Jamal Cole, Nahom Ephrem Yemane, Cody Stewart, Antoine Derell Johnson, Branson Golden, Yoshua Neshun Barker, Taye Duran Davis, Jeral Wimberly and Jeremi Hanks.

They were all charged with conspiracy to commit commercial burglary and burglary for allegedly taking part in the latest theft at the Bay Street Apple store in Emeryville on Tuesday. Authorities said the loss was $60,344. Davis was also charged with unlawful firearm activity.

The younger Smith has prior convictions for burglary and receiving stolen property, court records show. Cole has priors for carrying a concealed firearm and burglary. Stewart has priors for auto theft and robbery. Barker has a prior conviction for burglary, while Davis has a prior for receiving stolen property.

The father and son who are both named Leo David Smith, as well as Barker, Armon Darzell James and Kennith Martin Jr. have also been charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft and grand theft in connection with the "grab and go" at the Apple store at the Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno on July 7. 

The elder Smith, 41, has prior convictions in Alameda County for voluntary manslaughter and robbery.

Another suspect was arrested in Sonoma County. Arrest warrants have been issued for other charged suspects.

Police in San Luis Obispo began the multi-agency case after an Apple store there was hit in June. 

"We're going to see a pretty substantial, hopefully reduction in these crimes across the state," said Burch. 

The arrests came the same day that the Emeryville Apple store was hit for the fourth time in a month. The crimes follow the same pattern. A group invades a store, rips electronics from tables as customers and employees appear to look on in shock. 

"I'm concerned about this brazen attitude that you think that you can just go into any community and commit crimes like that," Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said.