Police: Brazen thieves target Apple customers

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by Jeff McShan / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 17, 2011 at 11:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 18 at 4:46 PM

HOUSTON –  People who shop at Apple stores may get more than they bargained, according to police. At least six Apple customers in Houston have been followed home and held up at gunpoint.

Detective Tony Guzman said a recent case involved a mother who was robbed in front of her children by a man who jumped out of a car.

“Followed her into her driveway and pulled a gun. He didn't demand her purse. He specifically asked for the Apple computer she recently purchased," said Guzman.

Guzman said Blewis Lawson has since confessed to that robbery.

Two other suspects, Kenneth Williams and Brandon Jackson, were also charged in the case after putting the stolen computer for sale on Craigslist, Guzman said.

But the crime spree didn’t stop there.

“Once the sale was being conducted and they would meet with the buyer, they would rob the buyer,” said Guzman.

Two Houston women who had their computers stolen are also warning Apple customers to be on alert.

“If they are going to spend money at Apple, they need to watch their backs,” said Gabrielle Alvarado.

Alvarado and Jacinda Boudreaux are starting a new business together and visited the Apple store in the Galleria to buy three Mac computers.

When they left the store, they said they were followed by people who were communicating using cell phones. The women did not notice them.

“That's the scariest part, I think is that we were followed [to] four or five different stores shopping and we were followed through the mall and never realized it,” said Alvarado.

When they left the mall, the women put the computers in the trunk of their car and headed to a restaurant a few miles away.  

Police said the women were followed there too because when they came back out to their car it had been broken into.

Alvarado said she was shocked.

“At first I thought ‘did I leave my purse in the car?’ and then I said ‘OMG, the computers, and sure enough, when we looked in the back window that had been smashed out the seat was pulled down,” Alvarado said.

Boudreaux said, despite losing her merchandise, she feels extremely lucky.

“They didn’t put a gun to our heads when we were in the garage, and two of the times we were alone in the mall, so I am thankful they didn’t catch us and do something worse,” she said.

When leaving any store, police suggest you watch closely to make sure you're not being followed. If you suspect someone is following you, drive to the nearest police station.

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