(KTXL) — Eight individuals are being charged for their alleged involvement in a statewide organized retail theft operation that primarily targeted different Apple store locations.
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According to a press release from the Office of the California Attorney General, Apple stores in 11 California counties resulted in a total loss of approximately $1 million.
The alleged theft occurred between August 2022 and January 2023 in Yolo, Monterey, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside counties.
“Organized retail theft costs businesses, retailers, and consumers — and puts the public at risk,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “Brazen criminal activity, such as the organized retail theft operation we have taken down today, will not be tolerated in California.”
“I want to thank our law enforcement partners, including the California High Patrol, for their work in apprehending these suspects, and for our continued collaborative efforts to end organized retail theft,” Bonta continued. “With these charges, we’re moving forward to hold these defendants accountable.”
The alleged conduct involved an organized scheme in which suspects would enter stores and hold back employees and customers while stealing items, including thousands of dollars worth of phones and tablets from each Apple store location, officials said.
The individuals who were allegedly involved are facing multiple charges including conspiracy to commit retail theft, grand theft, theft in the amount of over $500,000, and an aggravated white-collar enhancement.
“Californians deserve to feel safe and businesses deserve to operate throughout the state without fear and theft,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Our retail theft task force continues to crack down on crime, recovering more than $28 million worth of stolen merchandise to date. I want to thank our CHP officers, Attorney General Bonta, and our federal and local partners for helping create a safer California.”
According to the Attorney General, the alleged theft crackdown was part of a collaborative multiagency investigation involving the California Highway Patrol, Oakland Police Department, Riverside Sheriff’s Office, the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, and the Northern Division of the U.S. Marshals.
“The California Highway Patrol’s partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies, along with our private industry, continue to result in arrests and recovery of millions of dollars in stolen products,” said a statement from Ezery Beauchamp, California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division Chief. “I would like to recognize the incredible work done by all those involved and acknowledge the Attorney General’s Office for their ongoing support and determination to prosecute these cases.”
According to the Attorney General, California and states across the country have seen a pattern of organized retail theft. Retailers in the U.S. have lost approximately $700,000 per every $1 billion to organized retail theft, according to a 2020 national survey.
Bonta is asking Californians to submit complaints and tips when it comes to organized retail theft.
You can report those tips here.
According to the Governor’s Office, the CHP’s Retail Crime Task Force has been involved in 1,469 investigations, resulting in 853 arrests, and the recovery of stolen merchandise valued at over $28 million. The CHP’s Retail Crime Task Force was incepted in 2019.