Word to the potential criminal: if you're going to attempt a ram-raid, DO NOT use your own luxury automobile as the battering ram. In the event you ignore that suggestion, be sure to remove your license plate from said vehicle. Last but not least, be prepared for, say, a flat tire or two -- something that tends to happen when you drive through broken glass.
Follow these tips and you won’t wind up behind bars like the alleged criminal mastermind behind a recent attempted burglary in California. The crime, as told to The Huffington Post, unfolded like this:
On Sept. 6, the midnight monotony at the Temecula Police Department was broken up when officers were notified that an alarm had been triggered at the Apple Store in the Promenade Mall in Temecula. Responding units discovered one hell of a mess, according to Sgt. Dean Spivacke. The security gate at the front of the store had been destroyed, and there was substantial damage to the business.
No suspects were found at the scene, so officers reviewed footage from the surveillance cameras.
In the video, a blue BMW X5 SUV can be seen crashing through the plate-glass window in the front of the store. Three suspects exited the vehicle and started to grab items from nearby display tables. For reasons still not entirely clear, the thieves appeared to target mobile devices, as opposed to the much pricier MacBooks.
It's also interesting to note, as Slate.com pointed out, that the burglars staged their heist a week before the release of the iPhone 5. Apple had already announced that the current model -- the one they stole -- would be reduced to $99.
While the hooded crooks grabbed the loot, the wheelman attempted to back out of the store, but quickly discovered a security gate had fallen down, blocking his path. Undeterred, the driver repeatedly smashed the back of the BMW into the gate until it finally gave way and the SUV was able to exit the business and drive away.
A clean getaway? No, far from it.
During one of the BMW's frenzied attempts to smash through the security gate, the vehicle's license plate was torn from the vehicle and was discovered among the broken glass and rubble.
The BMW was also left crippled with two flat tires. The burglars managed to use a spare to change one, but the other remained an encumbrance. The solution? Why, a second theft, of course.
According to the Riverside Press Enterprise, one of the men allegedly entered a nearby convenience store and stole a can of Fix-a-Flat. Unfortunately for the thieves, the damage to the tire proved to be too substantial for the liquid magic to do its thing. So, rather than limp the battered beast back to their hideout, the thieves abandoned it not far from the crime scene. The car, which once had a new dealer price of between $40,000 and $60,000, had "extensive damage," according to police.
And it gets worse, for at least one of the alleged crooks.
While police were busy following up on leads in the case, they spotted 22-year-old Equonne Howard walking near the mall.
As it turned out, Howard was the registered owner of the BMW. In fact, he had the keys to the vehicle in his pocket, the Press Enterprise reported. Perhaps Howard had realized his license plate was missing? Who knows. He’s not talking and has denied any involvement in the crime.
On Wednesday, Howard, who is on state parole for an unrelated crime, pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges. He is being held on a $600,000 bond at the Southwest Detention Center.
Howard's alleged accomplices have not been identified.