Special to the Vanguard
Sacramento, CA – The California Organized Retail Crime Task Force announced on Thursday they have taken down an organized retail theft ring responsible for the theft of more than $1 million worth of goods from Apple stores throughout multiple counties in California and beyond.
The alleged conduct occurred between August 2022 and January 2023 and involves an organized criminal scheme in which suspects would enter stores and hold back employees and customers while stealing retail items, including thousands of dollars of phones and tablets from each location.
“Organized retail theft costs businesses, retailers, and consumers – and puts the public at risk,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “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 Highway Patrol, for their work in apprehending these suspects, and for our continued collaborative efforts to end organized retail theft. With these charges, we’re moving forward to hold these defendants accountable.”
“Californians deserve to feel safe and businesses deserve to operate throughout the state without fear of theft,” said Governor Newsom. “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.”
“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 California Highway Patrol, Golden Gate Division Chief Ezery Beauchamp. “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.”
The alleged crimes occurred in the counties of Yolo, Monterey, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside. The suspects face multiple counts of felony charges brought by the California Department of Justice, including conspiracy to commit retail theft, organized retail theft, grand theft, theft in the amount over $500,000, and an aggravated white collar enhancement.
Attorney General Bonta brings this prosecution forward as a result of a collaborative multiagency investigation that included the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Theft Crimes Task Force (ORCTF), Oakland Police Department, Riverside Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) San Francisco Field Office, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office (Northern Division).
California and states across the country have seen a pattern of organized retail crime. According to a 2020 national survey, U.S. retailers lose approximately $700,000 per every $1 billion in sales to organized retail crime.