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Cheap DRAMs stolen at airport

Gunmen who stole memory chips from a South San Francisco warehouse could have gotten more bang for their buck.

Gunmen forced their way into a warehouse just outside of San Francisco International Airport and stole a large shipment of memory chips from South Korea earlier this week, but the thieves could have targeted better booty.

According to the South San Francisco Police Department, eight men forcefully entered the warehouse wielding firearms and proceeded to tie up eight employees at approximately 2 a.m. Monday, February 9. By 3:15 a.m., 47 boxes of 16- and 64-megabit DRAM (dynamic random access memory) memory chips were stolen.

Part of the shipment is valued at $900,000, according to a Hyundai Electronics Industries spokesman. Samsung Electronics, the other company victimized by the robbery, has not confirmed the value of its loss. A police officer described it as "an expensive loss."

The memory chips, originally manufactured in South Korea, were flown in via Asiana Airlines, also of South Korea. The destination of the cargo was the companies' U.S. subsidiary offices, according to an Asiana spokesman.

Police believe the crime, first reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, was gang-related because of its organization and seemingly careful execution, and that the perpetrators have ties to local Asian gangs. While Detective Joe Moran has seen the "grab and run" crimes performed on unsuspecting truck drivers stopping for a bite to eat, the complexity of this theft has not been common in the area.

Further investigation of the case is being conducted by the South San Francisco Police Department and the U.S. Customs agents.