The number of thefts reported vastly exceeds past concert events at Shoreline, including the Audiotistic concert from last year. Police spokeswoman Katie Nelson told the Voice that the cases are under investigation and that many details cannot be released, but the department is looking into whether one or multiple thieves targeted the event and were able to steal phones and wallets undetected.
Given the length of the concert and the number of attendees — roughly 22,000 people — there's a lot of potential for pickpockets while crowds are tightly packed, dancing and jumping around, Nelson said. The law enforcement presence at the concert was on par with previous years, she said, but keeping a vigilant watch at such a large event can be challenging.
"Working a show like this is busy, with our officers constantly doing several things at once," she said. "While we wish we could be everywhere at once, that just isn't possible."
Many of the suspected grand thefts were likely cases where an expensive cellphone was taken. In the days following the concert, police found 15 phones and have identified the owners of each one, and are in the process of contacting owners to retrieve them from the police department. It's unclear at this point whether the found phones are connected to lost property or theft cases.
The spate of thefts is unusual for Shoreline Amphitheatre, where fewer than 20 thefts had been reported during the entirety of 2018. Reports, citations and arrests for public intoxication and drug sales tend to significantly exceed property crimes at the venue. Over the course of this year's Audiotistic festival, four people were arrested for the sale of controlled substances and three were arrested for public drunkenness.
Although 40 of the cases are listed as grand theft, it's unclear how many thefts actually are for items exceeding $950, Nelson said. Many of the cases were filed online after the concert, meaning officers haven't independently verified the value of what was stolen.
Concert attendees are encouraged to store phones, wallets and other valuable belongings in a secure location, rather than in back pockets, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times, Nelson said.
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