Lodi witnesses who saw three men breaking into the AT&T store early Friday may have unknowingly helped police solve a series of iPhone thefts totaling $100,000.
Three men were arrested in connection with the crime, and police suspect they may be connected to a string of burglaries, most in the Bay Area.
Because the men could be connected to burglaries in at least seven cities, Lodi Police Detective Leo Ramirez went to a judge later Friday, who increased the bail for each man to $250,000.
Police were called at 1:11 a.m. to the store at 2439 W. Kettleman Lane, where two men had broken into the building. Witnesses told dispatchers that the men fled east in a light gray Plymouth Voyager.
Earlier that evening, Vallejo police had sent a message to a number of law enforcement agencies about AT&T store burglaries, with a vehicle and suspects matching that description.
Officer Josh Redding saw the van near Highway 99 and stopped it on the highway near Eight Mile Road. Three men inside were arrested at gunpoint.
No phones were found in the van, but officers did find boxes and bags matching those used to pack up goods in other burglaries, according to police.
Arrested were Kevin Moore, 24; William Owens, 25; and Layne Bishop, also 25. All three live in the Bay Area, Ramirez said.
They were being held in the Lodi jail on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools - the last charge relating to a crowbar that was allegedly tossed out the van window as police followed it.
Further information on the other burglaries was not available Friday, and Vallejo police did not return a phone message.
By Friday afternoon, Ramirez was still talking to a number of investigators from other law enforcement agencies, ranging from San Leandro to Lafayette to Elk Grove.
Nothing was stolen from the Lodi store before the burglars fled. In the other cases, burglars targeted Apple iPhones, police said. The least expensive iPhones retail for $199 each.