Three arrested in connection with Starbucks computer thefts

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Michael Newton uses his laptop computer to write history books, and there's no better place to write, he says, than inside Starbucks.

"It's a good place to, you know, relax and get a lot of work done,” he said.

But on Thursday, while inside the Starbucks at 16th Street and Bethany Home Road, Newton said two men ran into the store and stole his laptop.

"I think I was reading at the time. I wasn't actually typing and all of the sudden this guy comes through the door right behind me, grabs my laptop and runs out,” he said.

It's not the first time something like this has happened.

In fact, the day before Newton’s laptop was stolen, 3 On Your Side reported on similar thefts at several Starbucks coffee shops in north Phoenix.

One of those thefts involved a student, Krista Rosenthal. She said she had an almost identical scenario play out on April 30 when she was surfing the Web at the same Starbucks.

"I was physically on my computer when these guys took my computer from my hands," she said.

Rosenthal said two men snatched her $1,900 computer and ran off, eventually getting into a dark-colored getaway car. She filed a theft report with Phoenix police.

James Holmes, detective with the Phoenix Police Department, said Rosenthal and Newton are two of about 16 people who’ve had laptops stolen from them at Starbucks since late last year.

He said detectives got a description of the suspects and started following them.

"They followed the vehicle and they followed the people who were driving it and they watched what they did,” Holmes said.

What the suspects did, according to police, was case several Starbucks locations over five days, not knowing they were under surveillance by officers.

Then, Thursday night police say two of the suspects, Jordan Griggs and Shawn Thompson, rushed into the Starbucks where Newton was working and ripped his laptop out of his hands.

Wanting his laptop back, Newton said he chased the thieves for two blocks until the two jumped into a getaway car.

That car was eventually surrounded by officers who arrested Griggs, Thompson and a third suspect, Camden Jernigan. All the suspects are 19 years old. All three have been charged with theft and felony conspiracy.

Phoenix police are asking anyone who may have unknowingly purchased one of the stolen laptops to contact them.