Teen tries to buy 14 iPhones, 2 laptops with fake credit card at Apple store


Berkeley’s Apple store is located in the city’s busy Fourth Street shopping district. Photo: Patrick Nagel

A 19-year-old from Rohnert Park is facing three felony charges after authorities said he tried to use a fake Visa card for a shopping spree at the Apple store in Berkeley’s popular Fourth Street shopping district.

According to court papers, Mohannad Halaweh went into the Apple store, at 1823 Fourth St. in West Berkeley, earlier this month and tried to buy more than $10,000 worth of gear.

Police said Halaweh attempted to buy 14 iPhones and two MacBook Air laptop computers shortly before 4 p.m. March 8.

To make the purchases, authorities said Halaweh used a fake Bank of America Visa card.

In a document related to Halaweh’s arrest, Berkeley Police officer Brian Kishiyama said the teenager fought with him when Kishiyama tried to detain him.

According to police, the teen waived his Miranda right to remain silent, and “admitted to using a fake credit card with a fake New York driver’s license” to try to make the buys.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office has charged Halaweh with three felonies: forgery, possession of a forged driver’s license, and second-degree commercial burglary.

Halaweh is no longer in custody after posting an $85,000 bond, but is scheduled for an “attorney and plea” hearing March 25 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

Berkeleyside Police Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, March 6-12 (03.17.14)
Police arrest 2 after man brandishes gun in laundromat (03.16.14)
Robberies rise, but serious crime down overall in 2013 (03.14.14)
3 years after killing, Berkeley family still seeking justice (03.10.14)
Authorities link woman to $19,000 Berkeley make-up heist (12.11.13)

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  • bgal4

    14 years old is a teen, 19 is a young adult and this offender will face adult court so why describe him as a teen.

  • qboy

    cuz there is a teen after nine, that’s why.

  • Lin Brand

    Darwin award winner. FOURTEEN iphones? Either this kid is incredibly stupid or this is a cry for attention. A “real” criminal would have made several smaller purchases over time in different stores.

  • bgal4

    qboy, I purposely left off my comment “please don’t tell me how to spell the number 19” hoping no one would try that lame explanation. Legal status is what matters here, this is a criminal case, Halaweh was not released to his parents without posting bail.

  • Paul Barwick

    The Darwin award is for someone who does something really stupid that results in their death, which in turn helps refine the human gene pool. What he did was dumb, but not Darwin worthy. But he’s still young…

  • paaauuull

    but 14 and 19 year old people are both referred to as “teens”. Maybe you should use the terms “child” and “young adult” to get your point across. Regardless, everyone gets your point, except for the part where you say 14 years old is a teen and 19 years old is something else. They’re both the age of “a teen”.

  • Gus

    If “legal status” is what matters in the headline of a new story, then neither “teen” nor “young adult” would be accurate, since neither term indicates legal status.

    But, of course, accuracy, and not “legal status,” is what matters in the headline of a news story. And a 19-year-old is accurately described as a “teen.” When 16-year-old Richard Thomas was charged as an adult for lighting 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman on fire, should headline writers have described Thomas as an “adult,” despite the fact that he is obviously not one?

    I think you’d be better served by learning to write in complete sentences rather than attempting to nitpick the (accurate) word choices made by professional writers.

  • Guest

    qboy and the Berkeleyside editors are right, by definition. See

  • bgal4
  • bgal4
  • Lin Brand

    True, Paul. I guess I was jumping ahead….

  • Gus

    LOL. Second sentence in the linked article:

    “At 18, your teen can vote…”

  • Gus

    Notably, the title of the document is, “When You Turn 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers” and not, “When You Turn 18: A Survival Guide for Young Adults.”

    A quick skim of the document also reveals the phrase, “At the age of majority, teenagers acquire the right to:”

    It would appear that the legal experts upon whom you rely also disagree with you.

    What’s that thing where you’re unable to admit when you’re wrong…

  • Devin

    bgal, you posted a link to the Survival Guide for “Teenagers” so its not doing a whole lot to support your argument. I see what you’re saying, but qboy’s right, you’re a teen until 20, adult or not. I think berkeleyside may have been drawing attention to the fact that this was a young man, not a career criminal – if they said Rohnert Park man…it would be just as biased in the other direction.

  • bgal4

    You must have “skimmed” over the opening paragraph.

  • bgal4

    In California and in nearly every state at 18 is the age of legal adulthood.

    I am starting to believe NONE of you complaining AT me were on your own at 18. I was, I signed the apt lease and when arrested I was treated like an adult.

  • NAParish

    Regardless of whether you were treated as a child or an adult at 18, you were by definition a teenager. ER’s article simply refers to the arrested individual using a commonly accepted and understood term that matches his age, and says absolutely nothing about whether he will be facing charges as an adult or as a juvenile. Which, by the way, is the appropriate distinction for the issue you seem to care about – juvenile/adult, not child/teen/adult, and which is exactly what Gus pointed out in his earlier comment.

  • SueT

    You were still technically a “teen” and an adult. Did your arrest make the newspaper? I think your criticism of headline is petty. But I am not surprised.

  • serkes

    “teen (plural teens)

    A teenager, a person between 13 and 19 years old.”

    Anyone else think this definition means:

    13 ≤ teenager < 19, (or 13 through 18) rather than 13 through 19.

  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    The only thing this kid is guilty of is being a good capitalist mule.

  • Truth Sayer

    Why not stay with the legal as well as the age definition. A child from birth to 12 years old; and teen from 13 to 19 years old. Regardless, a teen can be charged as an adult in most states based upon the crime and/or if the teen has been emancipated (e.g. in the military, self supporting).

  • Doug F

    How could he imagine a fake card would pass the validation check at the register? Our children urgently need better computer education at the K-12 level.

  • Chris J

    How interesting, this run-on debate…not. Teenagers aren’t as smart as they think they are is one truism. Psychologists will say that their capacity for thought and analysis isn’t fully mature.

  • sidneyspit

    When he physically resisted it should be theft by force: robbery. I think the point here is the article using minimizing language “teen” in the headline – it may be technically accurate, but it indicates in a subtle way that the suspect isn’t as responsible. Had the suspect been named Lionel Jefferson or Enrique Gonzales I doubt the minimizing language would have been used. They have to tippy toe when it’s a middle-eastern name. We call this the soft bigotry of low expectations. Even the DA filing charges less than the actual offenses indicated the soft bigotry in action,

  • bgal4

    wrong on three points, there is nothing petty about my observation
    1. I identified as a young adult, independent of parents and out of high school
    2. teen was used multiple times not just headline
    3. I was busted for marijuana, not a felony, so nowhere near the life destroying consequences facing this young adult.

  • bgal4


    you are neither glad or correct about my opportunities.
    As for guilt about being born Caucasian, no thanks, I have none. I do not come from privilege and experienced adversity as a young person.

    I was tried and found innocent because there was no evidence, the arrest was harassment. I had a court appointed attorney, I spent a day in jail which cost me my job and two days in court.

  • serkes

    Pretty much my take on it too.

    Teen would refer to an age range, Adult would refer to a legal status. I’ve always thought that a teenager was someone who’s age ended in ‘teen, though I’m beginning to think that it’s 13 through 18 based on some definitions.

    This is analogous to people referring to Townhome and Condo.

    Townhome is a type of construction (often a condo, but not necessarily – could be a duplex or multi-units). Condo is a form of ownership, and the legal term. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing.


  • leilah

    I absolutely agree that a 19-yr-old can be called–and IS–a teenager, notwithstanding their legal status as an adult. And I was on my own at 17–entered college, married and signed an apt lease (they didn’t ask my age in ’72). What’s absurd here is that everyone is spending so much time arguing against a position with which they, essentially, agree. While it’s pretty much futile for bgal (with whom I often disagree, most often as to “tone” or conclusions) to argue legal status vs. common terminology and semantics, it’s ridiculous to attack her position at length, when your conclusions are the same.

    Interesting enough, 19-yr-old Halaweh is apparently still a high school student, playing as a Senior on Sebastopol’s Analy High School basketball team (see below). (with photo)

    To me, the use of the term “teenager” doesn’t elicit the slightest degree of sympathy when used in the context of criminal activity. Halaweh may be a teenager in every sense of the word, but he’s about to learn about adulthood very quickly. In trying to purchase 14 iPhones and 2 laptops, I’m much more concerned that he’s being used as a pawn by some much scarier adults …

  • bgal4

    I guess when the 19 year old is shot dead they become a man or young man.

  • UnReconstructed_Rebel

    He’s back, big time. Stolen MaClaren super car, stolen credit cards, mansion rental. Send him to a labour-reeducation camp.

  • skylucy

    Well, he’ll certainl
    y have some interesting years for awhile, three hots and a cot, as much sex as he wants, free health care and best of all, no responsibilities, Aaaa, what a life.

  • emraguso