In July, four thieves walked into an Apple Store in Fresno, California and, unarmed and in under 30 seconds, scooped up over $US27,000 ($36,713) in iPhones and MacBooks from the display tables and ran out.
On Sunday, five suspects were arrested after executing a similar heist from an Apple store in Thousand Oaks. According to ABC 7, investigators are trying to link these individuals with the group robbing Apple stores throughout California.
The latest incident happened at an Apple Store in Oaks Mall on Sunday afternoon local time. Three individuals wearing hooded sweatshirts reportedly walked into the Apple Store and grabbed $US18,000 ($24,475) worth of iPhones and MacBooks. But customers tackled two of the suspects before they were able to get off with the devices, holding them until local police arrived.
A car carrying three people was pulled over in a neighbouring city minutes after the Thousand Oaks robbery, ABC 7 reports.
Police say they found iPhones taken from the Oaks Mall Apple Store in the car as well as other Apple devices stolen from another Los Angeles Apple Store. That theft happened only two hours before the Thousand Oaks incident, and an Apple Store robbery in Costa Mesa occurred a few weeks after the Fresno incident.
“They’re actually targeting these apple stores because of what they have and there’s network in place to sell these on the secondary market,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Captain Garo Kuredjian told ABC 7.
Following the Fresno theft in July, Fresno Police Lieutenant Rob Beckwith told CBS affiliate KGPE that witnesses characterised the robbery as “a sort of takeover style theft”.
Surveillance footage shows other Apple store patrons simply staring on, stupefied, as the suspects hurry in, swoop up a bunch of products, and quickly leave. No one was injured and the whole thing happened in seconds.
“They were going through people and just grabbing stuff,” Beckwith told The Fresno Bee.
A seemingly easy crime, given the exorbitant cost of new Apple products and the deeply trustworthy design of their stores, which have a bunch of shiny new devices laid out for any passersby to come in and play around with. But to get away with it, you’ll have to get past Apple’s fans.