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Criminals using keys to steal store electronics

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POSTED January 11, 2018 1:24 a.m.

The fact that the electronics he’s accused of stealing from a pair of San Joaquin County Target stores were locked down didn’t deter Steven Blevins in the least.
He had a key.
On Sunday, Jan. 7, Lathrop Police Services took Blevins, 31, into custody outside of the Lathrop Target store after he had been observed on surveillance cameras unlocking valuable electronics items and clothing and attempting to leave the store.
The agency was contacted by loss prevention staff from the store. Blevins was apprehended without incident outside of the store shortly after 7 p.m.
In investigating the matter further, deputies discovered that Blevins is also a suspect of the exact same crime at the Tracy Target location. Tracy Police are investigating where Blevins may have come into possession of the keys necessary to unlock the items he’s accused of trying to steal.
According to Lathrop Police Services Community Resource Officer Jefferson Dominguez, Blevins was in possession of multiple sets of the keys that are typically reserved for store employees, which allowed him to remove the security devices from items like tablets without setting of the alarm that notifies staff that they have been tampered with.
He is being charged with possession of burglary tools and petty theft – also known as shoplifting – and was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail, from which he has subsequently been released.
The unique nature of his alleged crime – being in possession of the keys that allowed him to remove alarmed items without the immediate staff knowing what he was doing – has generated some attention and got the story mentioned on local radio programs.
While it’s not unique that suspected criminals come into possession of tools, or keys, that allow them to operate more efficiently – mailboxes throughout the Central Valley were targeted relentlessly by thieves who figured out how to manufacture the key necessary to open them by reverse engineering the lockbox that they stole – the fact that it allowed him to access items that are only supposed to be accessible to certain staff members with the closely-held keys does make it unique.
A search of “Steven Blevins” in the San Joaquin County Superior Court database of past and pending cases returned a whole host of cases for a number of people associated with that name, some of which are still pending.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.

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