Five people from Fresno, Sacramento and the East Bay city of Antioch are suspected of being an organized retail theft crew after a weekend heist at a Southern California Apple store led to an altercation with mall customers.
Thousand Oaks police say three people wearing hooded sweat shirts entered The Oaks Mall on Sunday, stole about $18,000 worth of iPhones and Apple laptops and ran, knocking down a girl customer.
Other customers tackled and held two suspects while the third fled to a waiting vehicle. A Ventura County sheriff’s deputy soon stopped a vehicle carrying three people as it traveled at high speed in Simi Valley.
In all, five people were arrested: Tynisha Noel, 26, of Fresno; Mona Benoit, 23, of Sacramento; Donte Sims, 24, Antioch; Edward Benton, 23, Antioch; and Timothy Terry, 19, Antioch.
The department says a search turned up Apple products stolen in Thousand Oaks and from an Apple store in Los Angeles County.
All five suspects are being held in Ventura County on suspicion of burglary. The driver of the vehicle was also suspected of driving under influence of a controlled substance.
Apple stores elsewhere in the state, including in Costa Mesa, Rancho Cucamonga, San Francisco, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, Walnut Creek, Carlsbad and Escondido, have reported similar thefts over the past two years.
Last week, four men walked into the Apple store at the Roseville Galleria and walked out with over $20,000 worth of Apple products, police said.
According to the Roseville Police Department, the suspects, four male adults wearing hoodies and sneakers, entered the Apple store at the Westfield Galleria around 8 p.m. Aug. 14 and began cutting the security cords attached to the products on display.
Although the suspects were in the store for only a short period of time, they left with 20 iPhones, two MacBook Pros and an iPad mini, police said.