Suspects stole from stores in Yolo, Monterey, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside counties
SAN FRANCISCO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, along with the California Highway Patrol and other partnering agencies, announced arrests and charges against eight individuals involved in a statewide organized retail theft operation targeting primarily Apple Store locations and resulting in a total loss of approximately $1 million to date. 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."
“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. Attorney General has made this issue a top priority and asks the public to submit complaints and tips at oag.ca.gov/retail-theft.
Attorney General Bonta and law enforcement partners throughout the state proactively collaborate to end organized retail crime. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta brought together retailers and law enforcement to address the challenge of organized retail theft and develop strategies for combating this criminal activity head-on. Also in 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the sentencing of a group involved in organized retail theft in the Bay Area. In March 2022, Attorney General Bonta announced felony charges against members of a statewide organized retail theft ring and international shipping operation, and in April, announced the guilty pleas of two members of an organized retail theft ring operating throughout California targeting JCPenney and Sam's club stores.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.