Smash-and-Grab Burglars Hit String of Cell-Phone Stores

There’s a new twist to the growing problem of smash-and-grab burglaries where thieves use bricks to break into storefronts, police say.

In recent weeks, cell phone shops have been one of the prime targets for burglars. These crimes have proven to be a difficult blow for the distributors who are forced to quickly rebuild their inventory during the height of the holiday shopping season.

"Being a salesperson, how can I make money for my family if I can't sell [items] and get commission out of it?" Boost Mobile's Andrew Saucedo said, who’s Elston Avenue storefront was robbed of nearly 60 cellular devices. 

In the store’s surveillance video, the thieves are shown prying their way in through the back door. When the building’s alarm goes off they are still not deterred, going straight for the goods and grabbing as much as they can.

The suspects made three more trips going in and out of the store in just 45 minutes, each time filling a pillowcase and laundry bag full of merchandise.

Days later the burglars were back, but this time they weren’t interested in leftover phones and instead went for the register.

Another business struck by the crime was the T-Mobile store on Kimball Avenue, which was hit with two smash-and-grab thefts in one week. Both times the thieves stole iPads and smartphones.

Despite their high demand, cell phones that are stolen have very little value. Once the phones are reported stolen they are put on a "black list" which keeps them from being activated.

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