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Two More Arrests In String Of NorCal Apple Store Robberies

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Two more alleged members of a smash-and-grab robbery gang that have stolen at least $1 million in electronic equipment from Apple retail stores in 19 counties throughout California have been taken into custody and will be arraigned on charges Friday.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Thursday that charges and arrest warrants had been issued for 17 individuals in the robbery spree. Seven of the suspects were in custody in Oakland at the time of his announcement and one in Sonoma County.

On Friday, Alameda County released the names of 10 suspects in total in custody and scheduled to make a court appearance. They were:

  • Leo David Smith
  • Joshua Jamal Cole
  • Nahom Ephrem Yemane
  • Cody Stewart
  • Antoine Derell Johnson
  • Branson Golden
  • Yoshua Neshun Barker
  • Taye Duran Davis
  • Jerel Wimberly
  • Jeremi Hanks

All 10 were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and commercial burglary. Additionally, Davis has been charged with violating his parole for being a convicted felon found in possession of weapon.

Smith, Cole, Stewart, Barker and Davis also have prior convictions ranging from car theft, robbery and burglary counts.

Arrests warrants remain outstanding for seven other suspects.

Becerra said the defendants were charged with entering the stores in large groups wearing hoodies and snatching products on display in a matter of seconds.

"Organized retail thefts cost California business owners millions and expose them to copycat criminals," he said. "Ultimately, consumers pay the cost of this merchandise hijacking. We will continue our work with local law enforcement authorities to extinguish this mob mentality and prosecute these criminals to hold them accountable."

The state Department of Justice believes it has dismantled an organized crime ring that targets Apple stores up and down the state. They said some of the suspects appeared in an Oakland court Thursday afternoon.

"We're going to see a pretty substantial, hopefully, reduction in these crimes across the state," said Oakland Police Lt. Clay Burch.

Police across the Bay Area have been investigating the brazen daylight robberies targeting Apple stores and other cell phone shops that have been caught on camera.

The arrests of the suspects in Oakland happened on Tuesday at around the same time a group of people ran into an Emeryville Apple store and took off with a number of devices.

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