January 14, 2013 - 4:41 PM
Police have charged three people in a string of organized and well-executed commercial break-ins over the past month used to target primarily Apple iPads and MacBooks.
After arresting five people and charging three of them, Kelowna RCMP have a better idea of how the group was operating. RCMP spokesperson Const. Kris Clark said police believe the group was responsible for 14 different break ins recently. They hit four or five stores in and around the Kelowna area known to carry the Apple gear. It began with an attempted break in at Simply Computing, an Apple reseller, in Kelowna. A week later, the chain's West Kelowna store had well over $100,000 in losses after thieves smashed a window and tampered with a roll-door to access the store. Amateur video of the events showed a large white Ford pickup truck, later discovered to be stolen, was parked out front as the thieves tossed the goods into the box. They were gone within minutes.
The same method was used over and again as they hit Best Buy, Sears and Lordco. In some cases, they used a stolen pickup truck to drive into the storefronts and cause structural damage.
The same method was used Dec. 23 at Simply Computing in Kelowna again. They used another stolen pickup truck, this time taken from Orchard Ford the night before, to pull a security gate off the store window, then targeted iPads and MacBook Pro laptop computers in the store. But this time, plenty of witnesses saw them and called police. They fled in the truck which was later found abandoned near the rail tracks on Dilworth Drive. Police arrested a man in the area, who led them back to McIver Road in West Kelowna where they made more arrests, including David James Bourque, 35, his wife Lisa Marie Bourque, 27, and Timothy John Carrod, 40. They are charged with possession of stolen property. Police found items from 14 different robberies including a stolen 1969 Chev truck and parts for an $80,000 Dodge RAM 3500 used in one of the break ins. Clark says a total of five stolen trucks were used in their spree.
The Apple devices they targeted were hot and valuable items going into the Christmas season. MacBook Pros and iPads polled as two of the top 5 wish list items for young people, among the most searched for items on Google and known universally for holding their value on the black and trade markets. A scan of Kijiji, craigslist, castanet and ebay show the devices fetching 80 per cent to 90 per cent of retail value. The Okanagan isn't the only place they are targetted either. Thefts of iPhones, iPads and other Apple gear was blamed on a bump in the crime rate for New York City, according to its mayor. The Paris Apple store was robbed on New Years Eve of an estimated $1.3 million in merchandise. Another $1.9 million worth of iPad Minis was stolen by an organized heist operating out of JFK Airport in New York.
Kelowna RCMP spokesperson Const. Kris Clark didn't know how the group had planned to sell the goods, though they don't appear to have put them for sale on line.
"The total value of all stolen property and damage to businesses easily exceeds $300,000," Clark said. "But the total loss of revenue during the busy Christmas shopping season is certainly much higher."
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013