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Bay Area Cell Phone Burglary Ring Busted

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Five members of a cell phone burglary ring that allegedly targeted at least two Bay Area mobile dealers, stealing more than $70 million worth of equipment have been arrested, the San Francisco police announced Thursday.

The San Francisco police said 33-year-old Layne Bishop, 36-year-old Duane Bishop, 36-year-old William Owens, 24-year-old Christian Bishop and 32-year-old Alvin Chambers were all being held on Burglary, Grand Theft, Conspiracy, and Possession of Burglary Tools charges.

A sixth unnamed suspect remained at large.

Investigators said that on Nov. 11 San Francisco officers executed search warrants related to the case in Oakland. Located and seized during the raid were approximately $105,500 in cash, all in $100 denominations, along with several stolen cell phones and various other electronics totaling over $25,000.

The investigation began in October when three unknown male suspects burglarized a cell phone store on the 200 block of West Portal Avenue in San Francisco and stole a large safe containing numerous cell phones and electronics valued at over $30,000.

Surveillance video recorded the suspects as they committed the burglary wearing masks, hooded sweatshirts and gloves to conceal their identities. The suspects placed the safe into a vehicle and fled the area.

San Francisco police immediately began an investigation, which led to the identity of one of the suspects and another vehicle used in the burglary.

A vehicle connected with West Portal burglary was spotted by San Francisco police. Officers followed the five suspects to a cell phone store located on the 1100 block of Pitt School Road in Dixon.

The officers then observed the suspects force open the back door of the cell phone store and steal a safe containing numerous cell phones totaling over $40,000. Surveillance video captured footage of the burglary, which showed the suspects wearing masks and gloves to conceal their identities. As in the Weast Portal burglary, the suspects placed the safe into their vehicle and fled.

The vehicle was followed and with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol, a traffic stop was conducted.

The two Bishops and Owens were taken into custody.

Other members of Patrol Bureau Task Force followed the second suspect vehicle and subsequently arrested Christian Bishop and Chambers.

While arrests have been made, the investigation was still active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Anonymous Tip at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.

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