Apple Store surveillance of a robbery offers us a wonderful glimpse at massive getaway driver FAIL. The robbery took place last week at the Promenade Temecula Apple Store, when Equonne R. Howard (age 22), allegedly crashed his own 2003 BMW X-5 through the front of the store.
(You can see the full video below)
Let's start with what we should think would be the first rule of a smash-n-grab: don't use your own car. Which leads to a corollary rule: if you do use your own car, don't leave your license plate(s) attached when engaging in your smash-n-grab smashing.
According to the police report covered by Tech-SHIZZLE, Mr. Howard left his front plate on the car—you can see it in the video—and it got knocked off when he hit the high-dollar, very well-made drop-down gate designed to guard the store from such activities.
Which leads to what we think should perhaps be rule #2—we don't do smash-n-grabs and don't purport to be experts in this stuff, so if you have suggestions for either the contents of our proposed rules or the order in which they appear, let us know. Anyway, rule #2: if you do use your own car and choose to leave the license plate on and it falls off when you crash your way through the drop down gate, don't go back for it yourself.
A 2003 BMW X-5 with a License Plate
Sure, you're probably screwed since the license plate, being registered to you because, you know, it was your car, is going to be traced to you faster than you can say, "Pssst: wanna buy an iPad?" But if you go back to find it at the crime scene, the policemen who are no doubt now going to be crawling all over that crime scene are going to nab you and you won't even be able to say your car was stolen because you showed up looking for your license plate.
A 2003 BMW BMW X-5 without a License Plate
Not surprisingly, this is what happened. Mr. Howard was picked up when he went back to the crime scene, and sheriffs believe he was looking for the license plate that fell off during the opening seconds of this farce.
OK, we have another corollary rule: don't use your own car if the repairs to that car made necessary by the "smash" portion of your smash-n-grab are likely to cost more than the haul. To wit: Mr. Howard chose a 2003 BMW X-5.
It doesn't take much in the way of forethought to think to yourself, "Hey! If I drive my car through a plate glass wall, I'm likely to incur damage to that car. Being a BMW SUV, those repairs are going to cost thousands. Huh, maybe I should steal somebody else's car to perform my nefarious deed."
Not that we're advocating that you steal cars or engage in smash-n-grabs—we're just critiquing Mr. Howard alleged choices here.
As it is, in addition to the structural damage inflicted upon his car, the smash and botched getaway efforts resulted in not one, but two flat tires. Mr. Howard was able to change one of those tires on the side of the road, but a stolen can of Fix-a-Flat was not enough to get him back on his way.
Oh, did we not mention that he stopped at a 7-11 to steal a can of the miracle goo? Yep, he did. They probably have security cams at the 7-11, too, but we can't attest to that for sure. There's probably another opportunity for a rule there, somewhere.
Moving on, how about another rule. Where are we? Rule #3? We haven't decided if our corollary rules should be given their own designation or are merely sub-rules of rules #1 and #2, but let's stick with rule #3: case the joint and figure out if the place has something like a drop down gate that will constitute an impediment to either the smashing portion of your smash-n-grab or the getaway.
We're confident that had Mr. Howard performed this crucial step in the process he would have saved himself no end of trouble.
The Press-Enterprise reported that Mr. Howard is being held on US$600,000 bail, the value of the damage he allegedly caused at the Apple Store (tables, products, plate-glass walls, drop down gates, and alarm resets).
The video in full: