(KTXL) — Eight people have been charged for their alleged roles in a state-wide organized retail theft scheme that predominantly targeted Apple Stores.
The California Attorney General’s Office issued a news release stating that nearly $1 million was stolen from 11 Apple stores around the state.
The theft is said to have happened in the California counties of Yolo, Monterey, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside between August 2022 and January 2023.
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Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement saying, “Organized retail theft hurts businesses, retailers, and consumers – and puts the public at risk.” We will not stand for brazen criminal activity like the retail theft ring we shut down today in California.
“I want to applaud our law enforcement partners, notably the California High Patrol, for their work in apprehending these suspects and for our continued collaborative efforts to end organized retail theft,” Bonta stated.
To put it another way, “with these charges, we are moving forward to hold these offenders accountable.”
Officials claim that the alleged behavior was part of a coordinated plot in which suspects entered Apple stores, held back employees and customers, and stole thousands of dollars worth of goods, including phones and tablets.
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Those accused have been slammed with numerous accusations, including retail theft conspiracy, grand theft, theft exceeding $500,000, and aggravated white-collar theft.
In a statement, Governor Gavin Newsom stated, “Californians deserve to feel comfortable and businesses need to operate throughout the state without fear and thievery.” More than $28 million in stolen goods have been returned thanks to the efforts of our retail theft task team.
I appreciate the work of the CHP, Attorney General Bonta, and our federal, state, and local partners in making California safer.
The Attorney General has stated that the multi-agency investigation into the alleged theft crackdown included the California Highway Patrol, the Oakland Police Department, the Riverside Sheriff’s Office, the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, and the Northern Division of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Golden Gate Division Chief Ezery Beauchamp stated in a statement that because of collaboration with other government agencies and the commercial sector, millions of dollars worth of stolen goods have been recovered and numerous criminals have been apprehended.
“I would like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for their unwavering commitment to these prosecutions and the great work done by everyone involved.”
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An organized retail theft ring has been operating in California and other states, the Attorney General claims. According to a national survey conducted by the National Retail Federation in 2020, organized retail theft costs U.S. retailers about $700,00 for every $1 billion in sales.