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Citizens Hold Apple Theft Suspects

NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA) — Good Samaritans made a citizen's arrest at the latest California Apple store targeted by suspected thieves and investigators believe they could be tied to a snatch-and-grab crew hitting Apple stores across the state.

Captain Garo Kuredjian from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department is said he's happy the shoppers got involved after three men walked into an Apple store at the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks and started snatching goods.

"These items are relatively small and very expensive so if they get away with a few things in their hands these are very easy to transfer into cash," said Kuredjian.

It's a scene we have seen up and down the state: in Fresno last month four men took more than $30,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in less than a minute. In Costa Mesa a couple weeks later the same thing. And a customer snapped a photo in Valencia of four people running out with computers as well.

"They're actually targeting these Apple stores because of what they have there and there's a network in place to sell these on the secondary market," said Kuredjian.

Detectives believe at least two stores were targeted Sunday. First, an Apple store in Northridge was hit at 1 p.m. -- $10,000 worth of products were taken. Two hours later detectives believe the same men came to Thousand Oaks but this time customers tackled two of them.

Deputies pulled over the third in a get-away car leaving the mall. Detectives arrested three men and two women believed to be in the getaway car. Four are from Northern California. The fifth suspect is from Fresno.

Investigators believe this wasn't their first day. They say this group has been doing this for weeks, which makes the good Samaritans holding down would-be thieves Apple's newest heroes.

All five suspects are being held in Ventura County for burglary as well as conspiracy to commit burglary.

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