3 arrested after series of laptop thefts at Phoenix coffee shops


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Stella Inger

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Updated Friday, May 11 at 1:25 PM

Map: Laptop thefts at coffee shops

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PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested three 19-year-olds following a laptop theft at a Starbucks Thursday night and police are investigating whether the suspects are responsible for other similar crimes.

Jordan Griggs, Shawn Thompson and Camden Jernigan were taken into custody following a theft at a Starbucks at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road. They were booked into jail for felony theft and felony conspiracy.

Police had been investigating a series of laptop thefts that involved at least 15 incidents primarily at Starbucks locations since November. On May 1, police began surveillance of Starbucks throughout the Valley.

Police developed information on a suspicious vehicle in the neighborhood near the Starbucks at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road and a partial license plate led police to a vehicle that matched the suspect vehicle in several of these crimes.

That vehicle was located at an apartment complex in the area of Northern and 19th avenues. Detectives set up surveillance of that vehicle and found suspects who matched the descriptions of those involved in several of the thefts.

Over the past several days, detectives watched the three suspects drive to various Starbucks locations and apparently "case" the shops from the parking lots, according to Officer James Holmes. At most locations they did not exit the vehicle.

The three suspects arrived at the Starbucks at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday and drove through the parking lot several times before driving into the nearby neighborhood. Thompson and Griggs then walked to the coffee shop while Jernigan waited in the car on the side street.

Holmes said Thompson walked into the store then unplugged and snatched a man's computer as he was typing on the keyboard. Thompson and Griggs then ran to the getaway vehicle and the three men fled the neighborhood.

Police stopped the suspects' vehicle near Camelback Road and 12th Street and took them into custody without incident.

Police returned the victim's computer.

Detectives are now reviewing all reports of similar thefts to determine if these suspects were involved.

Police are asking anyone who recognizes the suspects or bought a laptop from them to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS to help with the investigation.