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Police investigating ‘smash-and-grab’ robbery at Santa Rosa Plaza Apple store

Santa Rosa police are investigating a “smash-and-grab” robbery at the Apple store in Santa Rosa Plaza Wednesday morning.

Around 11:30 a.m., four young men, possibly between the ages of 14 and 18, entered the store and grabbed over $20,000 worth of merchandise before fleeing, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Surveillance footage shows the group taking phones from a table near the store’s entrance.

They “were in and out very quickly” and unlikely got far into the store, Santa Rosa Police Lt. Jeneane Kucker told The Press Democrat.

She said police weren’t notified about the theft until 10 minutes after it occurred due to Apple’s in-house protocol.

She referred questions about the protocol to Apple, but company officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night. An employee of the store referred inquiries about the robbery to the company’s corporate office.

“As far as I know, they did not shut down,” Kucker said of the store.

A Sebastopol woman, who declined to give her name, told The Press Democrat she went to the store around 11 a.m. and was about to leave 30 minutes later when alarms went off and people began running toward the exit.

“I thought it was a fire or something,” she said.

About 30 customers and at least 10 or 15 employees were in the store during the theft, the woman said, and it didn’t appear any of them were injured.

However, she added, “I was a little nervous to go the parking garage because I didn’t know if they were still out there.”

Wednesday morning’s robbery at the Santa Rosa Plaza occurred on the heels of a series of brazen thefts that took place this past weekend at high-end stores in Northern and Southern California. Bay Area cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Hawthorne were some of the areas where bands of “flash mob” thieves struck.

In the East Bay community of Walnut Creek, a Nordstrom store was the site of an organized theft, which officials believe was committed by as many as 80 people.

At about 7 p.m. Wednesday, another Nordstrom store — this time in the Canoga Park area of Los Angeles — was robbed in a grab-and-flee incident by five people, one wearing an orange wig. Police said the thieves took as many as eight expensive purses and fled in a car.

There’s no word on whether Wednesday’s incident in Santa Rosa is connected to any of the other recent thefts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at colin.atagi@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi

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