WESTLAKE

Police are investigating the theft of about $31,000 in Apple watches and Airpods from the Apple Store in Crocker Park in two separate thefts three days apart last month.

A suspect in the first theft, which occurred at 5 p.m. Jan. 22, was caught three hours later near an Apple store outside Pittsburgh after a similar robbery there, police said. But the Jan. 25 theft remains unsolved.

In the first theft, a man entered the Crocker Park store, walked around for a few minutes, grabbed 18 watches and seven AirPods from displays and ran out the door, Vogel said. The items were valued at $27,000.

The suspect, Bakary Magas, 20, of New York, is free on $10,000 bond after being arrested near Pittsburgh. Magas is accused of taking eight watches valued at $6,943 from an Apple Store in Ross Township, said Sgt. Brian Kohlhepp, public information officer for the Ross Township Police Department.

Workers noted the possible connection between the two thefts and told Westlake officers, Vogel said. Magas is also a suspect in similar thefts in the New York area, Kohlhepp said. Besides the watches, he was found with a small bag of marijuana in the Ross Park theft, Kohlhepp said.

Magas is scheduled to appear March 17 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in Pittsburgh in that case.

Westlake police have increased foot patrols at Crocker Park.

“Crocker Park is one of our busy spots, so we have regular patrols through the area,” Westlake Capt. Jerry Vogel said.

The thefts were the first of the year at the Crocker Park Apple store, Vogel said. There were five thefts at the store last year, he said.

Because the watches are on display and accessible to anyone, they are easy targets, he said.

“Businesses want customers to be able to see merchandise,” Vogel said. “They have to decide how much they want to have on display that is accessible. Regular customers can see them that way, but so can the thieves, who can just grab them and run.”

The watches stolen Jan. 22 in Westlake were recovered and returned to the store after Magas was arrested, Vogel said. Westlake officers are obtaining a warrant for theft against him.

In the other incident, police said a man walked into the Crocker Park store 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 and walked around a few minutes, then grabbed eight watches, valued at $4,000 and fled, Vogel said. The suspect was described as a black male, about 18 and 5-feet-7, wearing a dark coat.

Police don’t believe the second incident is connected to the first, Vogel said. The descriptions of the two suspects are different and police don’t have any information which would connect the men in the thefts, said Vogel.

A manager at the Apple store referred questions to the national office.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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