Attorney General Bonta Announces Charges Against Three Suspects in a Bay Area Organized Retail Crime Ring
Suspects were allegedly part of an organized retail crime ring that committed 25¬†commercial burglaries and attempted burglaries throughout the greater Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO¬†‚Äď California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced charges against three people allegedly involved in burglaries and attempted burglaries carried out at smoke shops and liquor stores and¬†high-end retail stores in the greater Bay Area. From September 8, 2023,¬†until¬†November 14, 2023, there were approximately 25 commercial burglaries and attempted burglaries¬†that resulted¬†in more than $650,000 in losses to the stores.¬†Through the investigation, the Contra Costa FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Concord Police Department and Walnut Creek Police Department¬†determined the same group committed these burglaries, vandalism, and felony evading. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) filed multiple felony charges, including grand theft and second-degree burglary against the suspects.
"Organized retail theft harms businesses, retailers, and consumers ‚Äď and puts the public at risk,"¬†said Attorney General Rob Bonta. "I want to thank our local law enforcement partners for their work in apprehending the suspects in this case. The California Department of Justice and its partners will continue fighting to keep our communities, businesses, and consumers safe from retail theft and other crimes."
‚ÄúWalnut Creek detectives worked diligently and thoroughly on this investigation,‚ÄĚ¬†said¬†Walnut Creek Police Chief¬†Jamie Knox.¬†‚ÄúWe appreciated the partnership with the Concord Police Department, FBI Safe Streets, and the Attorney General‚Äôs Office among others to bring this complex case to a successful conclusion.‚ÄĚ
The suspects¬†burglarized the businesses by breaking through security doors and gates in the middle of the night while wearing dark clothing, masks, hoods, and gloves. They filled¬†garbage bags with cigarette cartons, alcohol, and cash. In two instances the suspects stole ATM machines, one from an open Chevron gas station and the other from a closed smoke shop. Police interrupted nearly all the burglaries, however, the suspects fled in waiting vehicles and successfully evaded law enforcement.¬†On two occasions,¬†the fleeing suspect vehicles hit patrol vehicles,¬†one of which¬†resulted¬†in¬†injury to an officer.¬†
The suspects in this case are alleged to have taken part in a coordinated series of crimes that involved breaking into stores across the Bay Area and beyond, destroying property and stealing merchandise. The alleged incidents included:
- On October 3, 2023, a suspect drove a stolen Land Rover through the front window of the Louis Vuitton store located in Walnut Creek at approximately 4:20 a.m. Approximately 10-15 suspects ran into the store and stole merchandise valued at $246,025.
- On October 18, 2023, the suspects burglarized a Discount Cigarette shop in Dublin.
- On November 8, 2023, 6-8 suspects entered a Nordstrom in San Diego during business hours and stole several Chanel purses with a total value of approximately $120,000.
- On November 14, 2023, the suspects burglarized a smoke shop in Vallejo.¬†¬†
The suspects were arraigned at the Contra Costa County Superior Court today and face charges of organized retail theft, second-degree burglary, grand theft, vandalism, and more. DOJ‚Äôs Special Prosecutions Section (SPS) is prosecuting the case. The arrests in this case were carried out by¬†the¬†Contra Costa FBI Safe Streets Task Force with help from¬†Concord Police Department, Walnut Creek Police Department, Oakland Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, Tracy Police Department, and the California Department of Corrections and¬†Rehabilitation.
It is important to note that criminal charges are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
California and states across the country have seen a pattern of organized retail crime. According to a 2020 national survey, U.S. retailers lose approximately $700,000 per every $1 billion in sales to organized retail crime. Attorney General has made this issue a top priority and asks the¬†public to submit complaints and tips at oag.ca.gov/retail-crime.
A copy of the criminal complaint in today's case will be made available¬†here.
Source: Office of the Attorney General of California