Shoppers at the Walnut Creek Apple store, 1200 S. Main Street, said they scattered or stood by as a crew of thieves descended on the store to steal phones and computers from the business at 11:23 a.m. Saturday.
Customers, at least one of whom expressed surprise to find no mention of the commercial burglary in the local press, contacted this site to share eyewitness accounts.
“My wife and I witnessed a group of about four or five people steal essentially all the Apple iPhones that were on display,” one person said. “The thieves cleaned off several tables each of which contained over a dozen iPhones. Some iPads and or MacBooks may also have been taken but I was not close enough to see. There were many staff and customers in the shop at the time. No one tried to stop them or as far as I know even said anything…”
Customers said the thieves were young males wearing masks and hoodies. If there was any store security present, witnesses said, they didn’t see them.
“We were at the east entrance of the store while the thefts were occurring at the west entrance (along South Main),” a witness wrote. “Many of the customers ran away from the area where it was going on. I believe I saw some taking iPhone pictures as they left but I did not take any. My wife wanted us to leave as quickly as possible. We did so by exiting the back of the store.”
It was not known how much merchandise was stolen, though past robberies have netted thieves upwards of $20,000 in phones and computers.
“I understand that Apple wants to keep its customers and staff safe but it is curious that there has been no coverage of this event,” a witness wrote. “It makes me wonder if this kind of smash and grab theft so common that it is no longer news.”
“It makes me wonder if this kind of smash and grab theft so common that it is no longer news.”
I hope that the media is learning that publicity for crime begets imitation. Nah, who am I kidding, The media will never stop making mass murderers infamous.
Yes, dang media…
Just to be clear, your position is that the media (gulp… us) create more crime by reporting past crimes? Just want to be sure we have that right…
Yes, there is an amplification effect. Media accounts give potential criminals the idea that a particular crime will bring profit or infamy. In a dictatorship, the press would be told to suppress these stories, especially those which embarrass the government. With a free press, the best approach is to report the bare facts along with a cutting insult to the perpetrators, both denying them any mention of their names and branding them as cowardly losers or worse.
Even better would be an interview with a parent apologizing for bringing the perpetrator into this world. The media could take on the role once played by official public shaming and punishment. That could discourage copycats.
But again, who am I kidding. We, the customers of media, vote with our clicks for sensational coverage of evil acts and perpetrators. Media is giving us exactly what we want. That includes me. Human nature has some nasty interactions with mass media and social media.
You can deliver “cutting insults” and brand people cowards or losers on your social media, but that isn’t news journalism. Maybe you can get a job on the Op Ed page if you can up your game. But first you might need to learn what the role & parameters of the free press are.
I see. So you think mass murders are less serious than thefts like these? Interesting outlook.
The weak leaders of Walnut Creek, including Kevin Wilk, caused this. They want a social justice, restorative justice society and will not stand up to woke Becton. The police might as well walk around with the handcuffs on and trust me, I know, I was in a San Mateo County SO car two weeks ago.
Better get yourself a gun and permit from Sheriff Livingston, he has good common sense, exactly why the media has been after him.
And what happened to the Apple officer or the Nordy officer?
Always out there to protect you when I can……………………Firestone 11R
You are equating property theft as being the same as a dangerous crime in this situation. Personally, I’m glad we don’t have people waving their weapons around in a store trying to defend… *checks notes* the largest technology company in the world.
The thieves are people desperate enough (or high enough) to steal technology with tracking built-in. There are smarter ways to deal with this kind of crime than violence as the first option.
Shellen… thanks for the post.
Back in the “early” days of this type of theft, arrests were made as authorities used that tracking technology you mentioned.
Lately, we get the impression the Bad Guys have found a workaround to defeat that technology and a possible new market to sell their purloined goods. Any insight in that direction?
The media has every right to report crime, but it does give other criminals an idea. Especially the theft of a large dollar amount, with no arrest. The recent Rolex crimes are a perfect example.
… and we would counter that by saying that the Rolex crimes preceded our coverage, with the thieves knowing just what to do without our input.
Both of my parents were journalists. I remember them having this conversation amongst themselves in the 60s. You’re defending your profession, and I’m defending logic. Out of sight, out of mind. In sight, in mind. It works both ways, and you know darn well how powerful the media is.
The thieves might know that Rolex watch crimes (and other crimes) exist, but they certainly don’t know that there were NO ARRESTS unless it’s reported. And no arrests are a motivating factor. Copycat crimes.
Crime is the fault of the criminal not the media. Crime will happen regardless. A contributing factor is my point, and an opinion shared by many. Reporting is a doubled edged sword, but the pros outweigh the cons.
Hey, Keith, we’re okay with “Crime is the fault of the criminal not the media” but, yes, have to stand our ground relative to the rest of your statement. The inference that we furthered the interest of the criminal and contributed to the rate of occurrence doesn’t work for us because we have run VIDEOS (search the site) of arrests and our interest lies with a public victory over the criminal element. We’re also for TRANSPARENCY, which we happen to think is necessary for that victory.
I’d always thought criminals’ best source of information is other criminals. How can you say that thieves don’t know there were no arrests until that fact is reported? Don’t you think thieves hear from other thieves bragging about getting away with crimes, or see it with their own eyes? Why do you think they could only learn from media reports? Most criminals have some intimacy with the justice pipeline through their own experiences and those of their peers. They don’t need to read about Diana Becton’s policies first in the media to know what’s going on.
For sure criminals talk and they know that CoCo County is soft on crime with Becton as top prosecutor.
It may give thieves ideas but it should also give the public ideas… like don’t tolerate the lack of arrests and lack of police action. Support law enforcement.
We need a stronger police presence and the DA’s need to actually prosecute these crimes. Stop voting for “ Soft on crime” politicians. It’s not rocket science, it’s really quite obvious.
Crime has reached the suburbs. Lived here since the late ’60’s. Glorious leaders of WC have got what they’ve wanted for years. Nobody paid attention to the Mardi Gras environment of Locust Street, with fights and shootings galore. Endless condos/apartments, ridiculous parking meters, urban congestion. Welcome to the new Oakland. Didn’t happen by accident. And of course, spill over to the rest of the Tri-Valley area. We have seen a huge uptick in home burglaries.
@Curly – Not sure I follow your logic. The perps were not “[e]ndless condos/apartments” or “parking meters.”
The article clearly states that the “the thieves were young males wearing masks and hoodies.”
As for “urban congestion,” it sounds like the crew escaped without getting stuck in a traffic jam.
What am I missing?
You’re missing perspective. WC used to be a nice, medium sized city- no parking meters, no congestion, little to no crime. Urbanization creates more targets for criminals, who now can mix in with the crowds. Masks don’t help, either. You don’t know how they exited the crime scene- nor do I. What I do know is that the city government has sanctioned wild growth, with developers making the profits and the locals saddled with additional costs to support the growth, including inadequate policing . That is obvious. I now avoid the city, choosing to head south to shop or do other necessary things. If your comfortable with the situation, go for it, but don’t be surprised if something untoward happens.
In defense of 680/24 I doubt any of these groups are looking at local news websites or even local broadcast news for details on how to commit their crimes. Worked almost 30 yrs in LE in the Bay Area, half of it as a Detective, these groups talk to each other to gain info on what crimes are working and what areas to avoid.
Whew! Agreed, Ripley, thanks (and thanks for your time on the beat).
It has been our finding that much of the information you mention is often shared while members of these crews are in jail.
Thanks for the post.
Seems that the “groups” are not avoiding Walnut Creek.
News 680/24-yup jail conversations and they use social media. Not uncommon to have friends,associates and even family to pass on what is an easy hit. If you follow crime trends you can almost watch crimes with similar MO’s start in one area and slowly move to new areas.
Jeff- I agree they aren’t avoiding the area because most of the 680/24 corridor is easy pickings.. It will continue until the public decides they’ve had enough and put pressure on state and local gov. to do something. Unfortunately we have a voter base that was blind to the consequences of passing a soft on crime agenda and the State has decided the answer is to empty our state prison system of NON (haha) violent crime inmates.
I’m not sure of WCPD’s patrol coverage but I do know the majority of the 680/24 area is not over saturated with police. The county areas and contract cities are thin patrol wise IMO. Of course historically there wasn’t a huge need for more LE in 680/24 but times are and have changed
How could any of the stolen items NOT have GPS trackers? I’d stand by & let them hang them selves too. AND where the hell are the WCPD officers I see posted there quite often? What a dumpster fire shit show. Who raised these shit bags?
I want to hear about these robberies. They help me decide where no to go and thus has been going on for some time in WC. It’s clear they come from elsewhere.
I have a different reaction to mass shootings. I want hear about those too but not every interview of everyone, coverage of each funeral with ten testimonials. Why? Not to minimize the tragedy but because it tells the next shooter-in-waiting, often a loner, about how much attention he can get.
Others can disagree. I could be wrong. Just my take.
For the record, this site does not cover funerals, vigils, etc. – primarily because we believe loss is something that must be experienced privately and it is not our place to intrude on that trauma.
On the other hand, often in breaking news situations, we have covered real-time events which otherwise would have gone with little or no comment by public officials – with public safety being the overriding concern in those instances.
Concur with 24-680’s measured reply.
At a simple level, news can be defined as information about something that has happened recently. There has to be a balance of what is reported and how the reporting is conveyed, Scope and tenor of coverage can be interpreted in various ways, and in this polarized landscape it will run the gamut.
Real time events with public safety implications is a must in my book, and this outlet has provided timely and objective reporting.And on many occasions “traditional” electronic and print media are not equipped to provide the local granularity that i appreciate. Playing it straight without the hyperbole and vitriol works for me.
Pretty sure WC PD has uniformed and under cover peeps all over that area including Contra Costa Sheriff.
They may have even been watching and due to risk to customers and other legal shoppers stood back and basically took note of who to go after once the risk to others was lower.
Unfortunately it doesn’t give shoppers the warm fuzzy feeling that a full on guns out PD bust in full display would have.
Thanks to the witnessed for sharing this information and thanks to news24-680.com for posting it!.
The public deserves to hear all the criminal activity around here rather than ignoring it or sugar coat things in the news. It seems these descitions to keep certain things out of the news is usually around extra money in someones pocket… besides, if the public is informed about all the criminal activity around them then they may vote differently.
Thanks for the post, George, and we, too, are grateful for the people who contacted us about this (and many other incidents) taking place within our area of coverage.
This following statement will no doubt be met with derision but we offer these accounts of incidents in our area in the interest of public safety and leave any political decision which may result up to the reader.
I have a response to several of the points above and your offense about being associated with an increase in crime. This is not your fault, obviously. However, there is a big however. You are part of an increasingly dysfunctional and sick, and some would call slimeball industry. Welcome to the club. I worked in finance for decades, and they have just as bad of a reputation, and I worked for what some would call one of the worst of the slimeball companies. I knew it, and in my little corner of the company I did my best and never personally did anything wrong given my constraints. My introspection is that I worked for a slimeball company. I own it. And the media that you are a part of currently has a reputation among many of purposely making things worse. You should in my mind not attempt to defend the indefensible. The media is not what it was when I took a journalism class at UCLA in the aftermath of the Woodword-Berstein era. They wanted to get the truth out, who what where when why. Now the media wants to create narrations and political statements. Media coverage does impact the amount of crime, but much more importantly they have led the society into mass hysteria over race and insurrection, and very purposely manufactured division among the different groups such as political parties. The media in my opinion is currently doing much more harm than good.
Wow, that’s a big and ranging post, LV, so allow us to carve on it a little.
First, we are a media company, yes, albeit a small and local one. We pride ourselves on our focus and independence and we DO NOT care to align ourselves with any other firm. Lumping us in with all media is your prerogative, however unjust we may think it. It is pretty common knowledge that the press has been purposefully maligned by persons in high places for several years, blamed for many of the country’s ills, and has been judged guilty by an unthinking segment of the populace only too happy to echo their leader’s lies as long as they don’t have to do their own thinking. This is a standard tactic of autocrats and it appears to have worked to a large degree.
We long for a return to better days, but have braced for the worst over the interim – being realists at heart.
I formed my opinions over decades and do not rely on “leaders” to tell me what to think, any more than you do. Both of my parents were involved in journalism in one way or another. One unfortunate trend now is how the press has put itself on a pedestal and decries its critics as authoritarians.
Once again, we think you rather broadly lump us in with other press outlets.
We’ve always been taught that any entity that puts itself on a pedestal is in danger of breaking when it falls off.
We would never take that risk – our chosen landscape is already fraught with peril. But we are fairly regularly insulted/threatened by people of the type we mentioned and we have taken appropriate precautions. Luckily, their vehemence has diminished a little over the intervening years.
All those devices have IMEI numbers that Apple will automatically flag. This turns the stolen devices into essentially paper weights. Obviously, these thieves were too stupid to know that.
Greetings, Citizen (we’ve been waiting some time to say that so – thanks!)
Yes, we’re aware of the Lost Mode defensive mechanism of Apple products and we would assume the Bad Guys figured that out about 15 minutes after the first crew of thieves made off with the machines years ago. But something keeps them coming back for more as, evidently, the thefts are continuing.
Well, nobody ever said that people that commit acts like this were very intelligent. Stupid is as stupid does.
Where have we heard that before? Oh, yes…
Stolen for parts?
Comments is 3 X longer than the article it self…
Some of the usual wackadoodles but solid input by law enforcement and techies.
From Mussolini to Pooty and Trump, fascists always go after the free press.
People don’t want bad news to hurt their property values. Not reporting crime makes the thieves brazen and bold, and having an unaware public helps aids them as well.
Got to say I find the comments from the 2 people flat out ridiculous and IMO probably both know each other with an Agenda. Totally baseless. Laughable.
In response to Keith on the rolex robberies, you realize there have been 100’s of these in the state, and the people caught up here in the bay were linked in a criminal gang. This proves what you say about the rolex’s robberies and the idea they increased from gained attention is flat out wrong. I’m sorry you are playing right into their hands. Do you just make up ideas in your head? Odd that you really have no facts or logical ideas behind your opinions.
Probably developer / real estate mad about the dropping values.
If you 2 guys knocking 24 / 680 reporting truly are concerned about crime and it spreading then you might want to ask yourself how we got zero bail catch and release despite our state voting against it.
You have no idea what you’re talking about. There were over 30 Rolex robberies in the Bay Area around a certain period of time, and not all of them were related to a criminal gang. There’s more than 100s of these in CA. Rolex robberies have been going on a very long time, and the robberies INCREASE when they hit the news. And most of the suspects AREN’T related, just like any other crime. To say that all Rolex robberies are related to a criminal gang is like saying all burglaries are related to the same suspects. Get real. You’re flat out wrong that copycat crimes don’t happen. Society is well aware that copycat crime happens. It’s who is responsible (besides the criminal) that is up for debate.
I have no idea what I’m talking about? Where’s you evidence pal, again your opinion accompanied by nothing else. This is ridiculous, they hit the news here because they were not previously something that happened regularly. Also it was linked to a criminal gang for many of these cases, maybe news 24 680 can comment? I know they busted a bunch of different locations in Oakland at the time related to local rolex robberies.
So if you know there were over 30 what evidence do you have of that and what evidence do you have that they were not linked in a criminal gang? You say copycat crime but you have not presented one case of such, just conjecture. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so pal. Please present the evidence now or shhhhhh.
And you also say
” It’s who is responsible (besides the criminal) that is up for debate.”
Yah ok. More likely people obsessed with playing mental gymnastics based upon their own delusions.
So basically your opinion is there are MUCH MORE THAN 100’s of these in California and they have been happening for a very long time yet you blame the media for reporting after the fact and what? There still being lots of rolex crimes going back a long time? You are literally fighting your own logic path. You are flat out wrong.
Rolex theft is OG gang stuff that goes back decades. For the history, read https://www.amazon.com/Split-Decision-Life-Stories-Ice-T/dp/1982148772 . In that telling of the story, press coverage (or not) had nothing to do with it. As for stealing Apple gear, they know that each device has tracking built in, right?
BTW, not that I mentioned the media in my above post, but I would exclude 24/680 from any general statement. 24/680 has always seemed fair and balanced, unlike any of the local television news outlets or most of national media whether it be print or digital.
If Apple were concerned, it would do something. Since it’s not concerned, I’m not going to waste my time worrying.
Apple prides itself on the security of iCloud. So much so that a death certificate will not be accepted to gain access to the iCloud account, or to clear an activation lock on an Apple device. The stolen mobile devices are more than likely being reflashed and sold, or parted out. Reflashing takes special knowledge and tools that are more than likely attained by someone with ties to and Apple factory overseas.
Vandals and thieves at Apple stores can come and go without fear of arrest, it seems. Certainly, that is an interesting if puzzling “law enforcement” strategy. It seems to me to be a costly strategy in terms of products lost and public confidence lost.
Vandals and thieves wreaking havoc at the seat of government for HOURS and being asked to leave without arrest. Well, that is also an interesting “law enforcement” strategy and seemingly unexplained to this day. And, how to put a price on that?
If its true about the lost mode defensive mechanism of Apple products and that Apple will actually flag the stolen phones then why isn’t this information posted in front of the store? These robberies at Apple stores happen all time and since Apple is aware of it and they still don’t post this information … then, if I was an employee I would be pissed working in a unsafe work environment.
Eventually one of them is going to get shot.
Interesting thread. I learned some things. Enjoyed the input of some and had a good laugh at the input of others.
The image of these guys reading news24 struck me as really funny. Most of them are almost as illiterate as a certain past president
It’s too bad the discussion about Trump “disappeared.” People here regularly compare Trump to Hitler or Mussolini, yet a defense of him is eliminated. There was no disrespect or anger between the discussants, so I guess I was making too good of a case that we were better off under Trump. What’s the phrase? Cognitive dissonance.
Yep, we “disappeared it” as wildly off-topic. How we got onto him from an Apple store heist we don’t know.
But, lest you think we wish to “eliminate” political discussion here (our attempts to do so in the past have been met with typical “stay in your lane” and “not exactly local” comments) we invite you to pen a letter to the editor in which to make your case, as you put it.
That’s called Freedom of Speech (while remaining within the limits of our Terms of Service and not PO’ing other users).
Look forward to seeing your post,
Thank you for the invitation, but I will not ever write a letter to the editor on politics because a real name would be required. In the past several years, the Left has normalized violence against individuals it disagrees with, such as when Maxine Waters encouraged Democrats to confront Republicans in restaurants and gas stations, and they did. As I’ve said before, if one were to wear a hat with a Conservative symbol on a college campus right now, they should expect to be confronted. I think debates should be won on merit, and not violence. I will just patiently wait for my opportunities to chime in if my political comments are relevant to whatever political discussion.
Okey Dokey… just wanted to extend the invitation.
good thread. wow!! good points from some and nice to hear from law enforcement. agree that these groups share in prison and maybe social media but also the dark net, where a lot of the tools they need to defeat theft protection devices are available for a price. the bad thing is that many of the devices and much of the advice given comes from former employees of the store that was targeted (so be good toyour people!!!). also agree with commenter who said there is an aftermarket for these products and workarounds to make them functional or ready to be parted out and resold. it’s not a very good situation – we are losing right now. jail would help but then we’re back to the beginning with those got arrested telling the new guys how not to get caught. thanks.
Obviously NONE of those ‘bystanders’ care about local crime happening right in front of them. If law enforcement is not at the scene and none of these people get involved, this will continue to happen and escalate.
I’ve asked about intervention here a couple of times because there are both policemen and lawyers who frequent this site, but never got an answer. This is not the 1970s and I think if you intervene, you will get arrested especially if the criminal is injured. In the old days, I’m rather sure you could have punched out one of these slimeballs and been congratulated when the police show up, but now you might be facing criminal penalties and civil trials. Still would like a response from someone who knows. The culture has turned idiotic.
Thanks for your work, 24/680. Keep it up
Thank you, sir… we shall try.
Amazing that a company can keep writing off continued large scale thefts without blinking. The smaller guy isn’t as lucky.