OAKLAND, Calif. - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday announced arrests and charges against 17 suspects for a robbery scheme targeting Apple stores across California that resulted in the loss of more than $1 million in merchandise.
The suspects are charged with entering Apple 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 Tuesday in Oakland and booked in the Alameda County Jail. Another is currently in custody in Sonoma County. Arrest warrants have been issued for nine other suspects.
“Organized retail thefts cost California business owners millions and expose them to copycat criminals. Ultimately, consumers pay the cost of this merchandise hijacking,” Becerra said in a statement Thursday. “We will continue our work with local law enforcement authorities to extinguish this mob mentality and prosecute these criminals to hold them accountable.”
Stores in Palo Alto, Burlingame, Walnut Creek, Corte Madera and Emeryville have been hit in recent weeks while customers, employees and even security guards stood by and watched. Authorities said the Apple store in Emeryville was robbed Tuesday afternoon for the fourth time in a month.
Last month, five people from Fresno, Sacramento and Antioch were arrested and charged with burglary and criminal conspiracy after heist at a Southern California Apple store where customers tackled some of the suspects and held them until police arrived.