Kariem McFarlin of Alameda apologized for stealing iPads, iPods, a soda maker, a blender, a Prada bag and more than $50,000. NBC Bay Area speaks to DA Tom Flattery and defense attorney James Kellenberger. (Kellenberger is incorrectly identified as the DA)
The man charged with stealing iPads, iPods, a soda maker, a blender, a Prada bag and more than $50,000 of jewelry from the Palo Alto home of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs entered a no contest plea on Wednesday.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery said that Kariem McFarlin, 35, of Alameda now stands convicted of eight counts of residential burglary and one count of possessing stolen property. He could face up to seven years and eight months in prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17.
"The Steve Jobs part got the attention of the media," Flattery said. "But from our standpoint, we treated it like any other burglary."
Prosecutors said that from at least March 2011 to July, McFarlin targeted homes in affluent Bay Area neighborhoods that appeared empty while under construction or being remodeled.
McFarlin was arrested shortly after Jobs' home on Waverly Street was burglarized on July 17. Investigators tracked him down through the stolen devices. He had confessed upon his arrest, telling police that he was sorry and wanted to write a letter of apology to the Jobs family. He told authorities that he stole because he was desperate for money.
"He wrote a letter to Mrs. Jobs telling her he was sorry," McFarlin's defense attorney James Kellenberger of San Jose told NBC Bay Area. "He wished her her well and didn't mean to cause her difficulties. He took responsibility for his actions."
Kellenberger said that before McFarlin went into the Jobs home, he had no idea who he was robbing. But McFarlin quickly discovered where he was.
"When he left, he had Steve Jobs drivers license and his wallet," Kellenberger said.
While the Jobs home was by far the most high-profile, prosecutors said McFarlin admitted breaking into two homes in Marin County, four homes in San Francisco County and one home in Alameda County. He also admitted keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property from those burglaries at his home and storage locker in Alameda. Detectives from the regional REACT force pieced all the burglaries together, and Flattery said prosecutors from four counties worked together on the plea.
McFarlin’s stolen haul included computers, jewelry, furniture and a solid silver bar.
Jobs was known for a modest personal life and had lived in the residential neighborhood. Authorities suspect his seven-bedroom house was targeted because it was undergoing renovation and may have appeared less secure. They believe the house was unoccupied at the time of the burglary.
McFarlin has been in custody for lack of $500,000 bail. He is a former San Jose State University student who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology in 2004.
CORRECTION: The video above mistakenly identifies James Kellenberger. He is McFarlin's defense attorney.