The defendants are charged with entering Apple retail stores in large groups wearing hoodies and snatching products on display in a matter of seconds. The alleged crimes took place across 19 counties.
So far eight of the seventeen are in custody. Arrest warrants have been issued for the other nine. The arrests stem from an investigation conducted by the San Luis Obispo Police Department and the Oakland Police Department, with the assistance of the California Department of Justice eCrime Unit.
“Organized retail thefts cost California business owners millions and expose them to copycat criminals. Ultimately, consumers pay the cost of this merchandise hijacking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We will continue our work with local law enforcement authorities to extinguish this mob mentality and prosecute these criminals to hold them accountable.”
“The successful collaborative efforts of law enforcement has resulted in dismantling a large criminal ring," said Oakland Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick.
Click here to check out some footage of these grab and run robberies.