Following a spate of Apple Store burglaries reported around various California counties, investigators on Thursday said in a press release that 17 individuals (including a father/son duo) have so far been arrested in association with their alleged roles in the thefts.
As investigators pieced together the details of the case, it was further revealed that all 17 individuals belong to a well-connected crime ring with roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, who were ultimately responsible for coordinating and carrying-out the brazen thefts.
They were carried-out in 19 counties throughout the State of California, investigators said, and have cumulatively resulted in over $1 million (MSRP) worth of Apple devices being stolen.
As many as half of those arrested — among whom were a father and son “team” with identical namesakes, Leo David Smith — hailed from Oakland, California. The Smith’s were reportedly arrested just last month amid their latest theft attempt of an Apple Store in Emeryville, California, local FOX News affiliate KTVU Channel 2 reports.
“I’m concerned about this brazen attitude that you think that you can just go into any community and commit crimes like that,” said Oakland Police Chief, Anne Kirkpatrick.
If you’ve been following us recently, you may have noticed the slight uptick in coverage of Apple Store burglaries throughout the state of California, and elsewhere — with the most recent having taken place not once, but twice, just this past weekend at Apple’s flagship Palo Alto, CA Store.
Also last weekend, which was the California tech-giant’s official iPhone XS, XS Max and Apple Watch Watch Series 4 launch weekend, its posh and upscale storefront at the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping center was likewise robbed, according to a report by The Sun. Although in that instance, at least one of the alleged thieves was nabbed and detained by mall security until authorities arrived on the scene, the paper notes.
All in all, we’ve witnessed a rather alarming uptick in the number of high-profile Apple Store robberies in recent months. And while the increasing nature of their occurrence is troubling in itself, there’s nothing particularly out-of-the-ordinary between these recent heists and all the other brazen Apple product thefts we’ve brought you coverage of.
They’ve all, for the most part, followed a similar pattern: a gang of thieves enter the store, either covertly or by using extreme and damaging force — they grab as many of the devices on display as they possibly can, and then run out the front or back of the store — most often to meet up with their getaway drivers who’re conveniently waiting for them.
Given the high-value of their contents and their otherwise inviting, see-through facades, Apple Stores have become a prime target in recent years for nefarious actors daring enough to carry-out these high-value heists.
That said, there’s no telling if, when or even how the hammer will fall to thwart further Apple Store robbers; but at least now we know the Police are out there doing a fine job of wrangling up the bad guys.