The criminal plan supposedly works like this: You buy some new toys at the Apple Store, and walk joyously (if slightly poorer) back to your car. The thieves secretly follow you as you drive elsewhere or park near your home. If you leave the goods in the car when you walk away, that’s when they pounce.
Some arrests have been made, but law enforcement officials think they’ve only caught some members of a larger criminal ring. The initial arrests last month—of three L.A. residents now charged with 28 of these burglaries—came from an honest-to-goodness undercover sting, where a plainclothes officer bought a computer at an Apple Store and left it in his car.
But detectives from the Manhattan Beach police department are still investigating 15 similar thefts from cars belonging to shoppers at the Apple Store at the Village Mall. Meanwhile, Orange County police—the ones who made the only arrests thus far—suspect that all of these thefts are connected to more than 100 reported post-Apple Store burglaries in the L.A. area.
Police do consider this a “highly preventable crime,” though. Their suggestion, not too surprisingly, is don’t leave expensive stuff you just bought in your car.