Irvine cops thought they were closing in on thieves who made off with 17 iPads from the Target store at Irvine Spectrum, but now the four people in custody are believed to have pulled similar thefts at 20 California stores and more than a dozen in Oregon and Washington, the department announced Thursday afternoon.
Isaiah Woods, 21, of Sun Valley; Vernon Hill, 20, of Ephrata, Washington; Victory Rogers, 25, of Southwestern Burien, Washington; and a male juvenile were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of commercial burglary, grand theft, conspiracy to commit a crime and, for the adults, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Farrah Emami, the Irvine Police public information officer.
The three males are accused of walking into the Irvine Target around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday and asking a sales representative about iPads. One supposed customer asked to see an iPad from a locked case, and after the employee opened the door the trio reached inside, grabbed 17 iPads and ran out an emergency exit to a waiting vehicle driven by Rogers, Emami said.
Irvine Police detectives obtained surveillance footage that provided a detailed description of the Hyundai Sonata that was used as the get-away vehicle, Emami said. When the same Sonata turned up outside a Best Buy in Moreno Valley Wednesday afternoon, police swooped in and nabbed the four suspects without incident, Emami said. They are being held without bail.
Further investigation linked the foursome to 20 similar crimes across California, from Lathrop to San Diego, as well as more than a dozen more in Oregon and Washington, according to Emami, who added the thefts of iPads and other electronics occurred in Target, Walmart and Best Buy stores.
Irvine Police worked "in close partnership" with the Ventura and Los Angeles police departments and gave "special thanks" to Target special investigators and Walmart loss prevention for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation, Emami said.