(A surveillance camera near Mad Macs in Pittsfield shows three suspects who allegedly attempted to break into the business early Tuesday morning. They were unsuccessful, but may have been the same thieves who later broke into Yes Computers in Northampton.)

PITTSFIELD -- An attempted break-in at a downtown computer store early Tuesday may be connected to a similar, but more successful, incident at a Northampton store, according to authorities.

In both incidents, less than two hours apart, thieves targeted stores that specialize in Apple computer products -- a growing national trend dubbed "iCrime."

Around 3:15 a.m., someone smashed the glass of the front door of Mad Macs at 317 North St., according to co-owner Scott Kirchner. He says the attempted break-in set off an alarm that apparently scared off the suspects; nothing was taken from the business.

Two minutes later, a surveillance video camera recorded three would-be thieves leaving the scene in a car parked in a rear alley of the Greylock building, where the store is located.

"We were obviously a target," said Kirchner. "They were on a mission to commit a crime."

A short time later -- about 5 a.m. -- three suspects broke into Yes Computers on Pleasant Street in Northampton, according to Northampton Police Detective Lt. Jody Kasper. She said the thieves made off with an undisclosed amount of merchandise. Yes Computers also sells and services Apple products.

Kasper confirmed that there were similarities with the Pittsfield case.

"We have been working all day with the Pittsfield Police to try and determine if they are connected," she said.

Pittsfield police officials were unavailable for further comment on the attempted break-in at Mad Macs.

The theft of iPhones, iPads, iPods and other Apple devices has been a national problem in recent years, according to numerous published reports.

The New York City Police Department said that in 2012, 40 percent of all electronic devices stolen in the Big Apple were made by Apple.

Kirchner isn't surprised Apple products are a hot commodity among the country's criminal element.

"They are high-ticket items and in demand as iPhones, iPads and laptops are easy to move on the street," he said.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
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