Stockton Police Investigating String of Laptop Robberies at Starbucks Stores

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STOCKTON -- A warning from Stockton police for those who like to spend time on their laptops at coffee shops. Officers are now on the lookout for a suspect believed to be taking computers right from the customers.

Starbucks is one of the most popular chains in America, but police now believe it's a place criminals are stealing laptops. The most recent case happened Saturday night at a location on Benjamin Holt Drive, near I-5.

"[The victim] was working on his computer when a black male approached him and tried to rob him of his laptop computer," said Officer Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department.

But the victim wasn't about to let that happen and tried to save the computer by grabbing it.

"The victim decided to struggle over his laptop, and in doing so, he did get struck in the face by the suspect. But at that point, that's when the laptop computer was dropped, and the suspect ran out of the restaurant to a car," Silva said.

Police believe the suspect picked this location because it's close to the I-5 on-ramp.

What's alarming police is that's not the only case of a stolen laptop inside a Starbucks they're investigating. Silva said there's at least a half-dozen other cases.

"So this week our investigators will be piecing together those other cases to see if we can release a better suspect description," Silva told FOX40.

Police are working with other Starbucks and coffee shops around town, making sure they're ready for such a bold criminal.

"We'll remind the managers and the employees if they do see suspicious people in their parking lot or walking into their store, to please contact the police immediately," Silva said.

Starbucks released the following statement about the robberies:

"The safety and security of our customers and partners are our top priority. We are aware of the situation and are working with local authorities on the investigation."

Police say the coffee shops were filled with customers and employees at the time of the robberies, a reason they said you should always be on your guard.

But more important, police said it's not worth fighting over whatever a robber is trying to take.

"We just ask that you turn over the property, because your property is replaceable," Silva said.

Silva said detectives are confident the suspect was captured on surveillance video, and they're hoping to release his image soon.