Suspects stole Xbox and Acer devices from cargo trucks located in Tulare, Tehama, Kern, and Los Angeles counties
VISALIA — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, along with Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Highway Patrol, today announced charges against four individuals who allegedly stole more than $1 million worth of goods, including Xbox and Acer products, from cargo trucks that had departed from Microsoft shipping facilities. The alleged thefts occurred between February and June 2022 in locations throughout California including Tulare, Tehama, Kern, and Los Angeles counties.
“Retail theft – whether from a storefront or a warehouse – hurts retailers, businesses, and the public,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “My office and our partners statewide continue to make arrests and file charges against those conducting brazen theft and targeting businesses in California, sending a strong message that this criminal activity will not be tolerated in our state. I 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."
“I’m grateful for the persistent leadership of Attorney General Bonta, the California Highway Patrol, and our law enforcement partners in leveraging California’s record-level public safety investments to tackle organized crime and keep our communities safe,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “In the last year alone, we’ve invested more than $240 million to combat this type of illegal activity and other crimes, and with today’s charges, we’re yet again sending a critical message: those who engage in organized retail crime will face a powerful, organized response.”
CHP’s Golden Gate Division executed search warrants and arrested two of the suspects in Northridge on February 2, 2023. In addition, stolen electronics and cash were seized for evidence. California Department of Justice charged the suspects on February 21 with multiple counts of felony grand theft, conspiracy, and organized retail theft, along with a white collar enhancement. Two suspects remain at large.
Attorney General Bonta brings this prosecution forward as a result of a collaborative multiagency investigation that included the CHP’s Golden Gate Division Investigative Services Unit (ISU) Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP), Southern Division CTIP, and personnel from Southern Division ISU.
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 Bonta 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. Most recently, on February, 9, 2023, Attorney General Bonta and CHP announced arrests and charges against eight individuals involved in a statewide organized retail theft operation targeting primarily Apple Store locations. 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.