8 arrested in California Apple theft ring that netted $1M in goods

A retail theft ring that netted $1 million in stolen Apple products in California has been disassembled, authorities said.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta, at a joint press conference with the California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division, announced the arrest of eight people tied to an Apple theft ring up and down the state.

Authorities didn't identify the suspects but said they all face felony charges.

"This goes far beyond petty theft or shoplifting. This is organized criminal activity," said Bonta.

An investigation into the theft ring started in 2022 after several Apple stores were targeted across the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

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"The suspects are alleged to have committed brazen thefts, entering stores with shoppers and employees inside and present, grabbing goods off the shelves, and stealing iPhones, iPads, and other electronics," Bonta said.

The type of theft is similar to a smash-and-grab takeover, authorities said.

Once the alleged thieves snatch the products from the shelves and tables, they flee into awaiting vehicles, authorities said. 

After that, the stolen goods are resold.

The CHP officers behind the bust are part of the CHP's Organized Retail Crime Task Force, a unit the California Retailers Association says it heavily lobbied for. 

"Thrilled. This is what we hoped for. We pushed really hard to get these task forces to become a reality," said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. "I think it actually helps us keep businesses and retailers open because they know that they have partners like the CHP task force that are going to protect them." 

Since 2019, the CHP said it's task force has recovered more than 28 million dollars worth of stolen merchandise for all retail statewide.