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UPDATE: 2 cell phone robbers escape in Prius

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The recent rash of phone store thefts – five burglaries in less than two months – is fueled by demand for iPhone 8 cell phones, according to the sergeant in charge of trying to find the culprits.

Asked what he makes of the flurry of holdup robberies and smash-and-grab burglaries at cell phone outlets, Sgt. Chris Maurizi said without hesitation: “The iPhone 8 is out.”

“There’s only one target and that’s what they’re after,” he said.

Since Sept. 8, thieves have hit five phone stores in the SCV stealing phones and getting away.

Thieves hit two phones in a 12-hour period; the most recent being the Verizon store when two men entered the store shortly after 1 p.m. Won Wednesday, on Soledad  Canyon Road, at Sand Canyon Road, and stole at least four cell phones, a woman working at the store told The Signal.

No one was hurt in the robbery, she said.

“Two young individuals came in and took four iPhones,” the Verizon staffer said about 1:20 p.m.. “The cops are here now.”

Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the Verizon store on the 16500 block of Soledad, Lt. Chuck Becerra said.

The suspects ran from the store east along Soledad Canyon Road.

“They ran in, grabbed four phones and ran out,” Becerra said.

An off-duty deputy driving from Lancaster spotted men running and contacted local sheriff’s deputies, he said.

The wanted pair was seen getting into a green Prius taxi which traveled northbound on Highway 14 and is believed to have exited at Soledad Canyon Road.

Dispatchers relayed the license plate number to responding deputies.  It was later revealed, however, that the plate had been stolen.

“It turns out the Prius had cold-plated license plates,” Becerra said, adding the stolen plates were used “to throw us off.”

One suspect is described as a thin black male, 6-foot-2, wearing black pants and a black shirt, carrying a brown Gucci backpack.

The other suspect is a thin black man, 6-foot, wearing dark clothing.

Stolen items included four iPhone 8 series cell phones – one black, one gold-colored and two silver-colored.

On Tuesday night, thieves smashed the storefront window of a phone store on Newhall Avenue, stealing iPhone 8 phones.

Thefts at other SCV phone stores include those at:


– Sept. 8 – Shortly after 1:50 p.m. Friday two suspects described as two African-American men in their 20s entered the Verizon store at the Valencia Marketplace complex on The Old Road near McBean Parkway.


– Sept. 12 – The robbery happened about 9 p.m. when three men wearing ski masks entered the AT & T store on Bouquet Canyon Road at Newhall Ranch Road, demanding merchandise and money.


– Sept. 26 – About 9 p.m., two masked men entered the Verizon store on The Old Road and stole more than 100 pieces of technology, more $85,000 worth of cell phone technology.


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