Two men were arraigned today in Placer County Superior Court, accused of burglarizing high-end electronics retailers in five Bay Area counties, then selling the merchandise on an online auction website.
Justin Mahlet, 37, of Sacramento and Jason Tate, 41, of Rocklin were arraigned on 17 felony counts of burglary that resulted in losses of $400,000 in stolen goods and property damage, according to a news release from the California Attorney General's Office. Both men pleaded not guilty.
Mahlet and Tate turned themselves in in July and were released on bail set at $105,000 and $50,00 respectively.
The Attorney General's Crime Unit will prosecute the case because the defendants allegedly committed the commercial burglaries in multiple jurisdictions and used eBay to fence the stolen goods, according to the news release. The investigation was conducted by the Palo Alto and Sunnyvale police departments.
Between December 2010 and September 2011, Mahlet and Tate allegedly burglarized more than a dozen electronics retailers in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties, authorities said. Among the stolen items were a $40,000 GPS device for land surveying, amplifiers valued at $10,000, cameras valued at $4,000 each and other expensive goods.
In September 2011, Sunnyvale police officers responded to a commercial alarm and saw the defendants leaving the building with items. Authorities said the two attempted to flee but were arrested.
Detectives later obtained search warrants for the men's residences and a rental storage unit in Rocklin, where they found numerous electronic items from the businesses that had been burglarized.
Detectives also uncovered eBay accounts associated with the defendants and found high-end electronic items listed for sale that matched items reported missing in the burglaries, authorities said.