Arrest warrants were issued for 17 people from an alleged robbery gang that uses snatch-and-grab tactics and targeted Apple stores across Northern California, said law enforcement authorities on Thursday.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the individuals had been responsible for robberies of Apple retail outlets across 19 counties that reached losses of more than $1 million.
The areas hit by the robbery gang stretch from Butte County in the north to San Diego in the south.
The defendants entered stores in big groups wearing hoodies and snatched products out on display within seconds.
Organized thefts at retail stores cost business owners in California millions of dollars and expose them to several copycats criminal groups, said AG Becerra. In the end, the consumer pays the cost of the merchandise being stolen and state law enforcement continues to work with local authorities to put the mob mentality out of business and prosecute the criminals for what they have done.
The state’s Department of Justice says that it dismantled the crime ring that targeted the Apple stores across the state and that some suspects appeared Thursday in a court in Oakland.
On Tuesday, police arrested seven adults and another is currently being held at a detention center in Sonoma County. At the same time, nine other arrests warrants were issued and the investigation continues.
While authorities said that they have dismantled the gang, brazen robberies have continued in several locations with thousands of dollars more being lost.
One security officer at one of the Apple locations said that he and other security officers were told by Apple not to stop thieves. A photo released from one theft at a store in the San Francisco Bay area shows a security guard standing nearby at the time of the snatch and grab.
Thefts have become commonplace at Apple outlets on the weekends as the stores are much busier and the gang members can enter and make off with products easier than if the stores were empty.
The state’s Justice Department has not yet released any of the names of the suspects being held in connection with the robberies of more than $1 million in Apple products.