Breaking News in the Industry: March 20, 2017

active shooter policy, violence prevention strategies, threat management unit

Aldi guard fatally shoots suspected shoplifter who allegedly pulled gun

Police in St. Louis are investigating a fatal shooting on Saturday night of an alleged shoplifter who pointed a gun at a security guard inside a local Aldi’s grocery store. The guard at the store shot and killed the man after he confronted the suspect at a street intersection close to the store.

When the suspect brandished a gun and pointed it at the guard, the guard retreated. The suspect then continued to walk toward the guard, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  At that point, the guard pulled out his gun and fired a number of shots, hitting him at least three times. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.   [For more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Fifth person charged in PA cellphone store robbery spree

A Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, man arrested Thursday in Georgia is the latest person charged in connection with a series of cellphone store robberies that began in October. Nadir Naim Chandler, 25, was arrested in Georgia on a warrant charging him with theft and receiving stolen property, Forks Township police said. The probable cause portion of the criminal complaint filed against Chandler is sealed, as are the criminal complaints against four other defendants in the case. The publicly available court records indicate Chandler obtained the 79 cellphones taken in the Oct. 29 robbery of the Verizon independent retail store in Forks Township.

Last week, Vaugh Darrius Felix and Gregory Lewis Jr., both 26, were charged with robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, possession of a weapon and theft in connection with a robbery, which on Feb. 9 targeted the Verizon dealer in Wind Gap. That morning, two masked gunmen robbed the store and forced an employee into the bathroom before fleeing with $36,000 worth of cellphones and a bag of cash. Three previous robberies, in South Whitehall, Bethlehem Township and Forks Township, unfolded in a similar manner, according to authorities.

Before he was charged in the Forks robbery, Lewis was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property from the cellphone store robberies and from an Easton jewelry store heist. Earlier this week, Northampton County District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen said the investigation of the robberies hasn’t stopped. Mulqueen is heading a task force looking into the cellphone store robberies. [For more: The Morning Call]

Credit card breach hits another restaurant chain

Another sizeable payment card data breach has been discovered at a US restaurant chain. In the latest example, several high-end eateries run by Select Restaurants in Cleveland were the victims of fraudulent cards used by customers at its restaurants, according to a report posted Thursday on KrebsOnSecurity, a reliable site written by reporter Brian Krebs. Krebs said he learned about the case from anti-fraud teams at multiple financial institutions investigating “a great deal of fraud on cards used at a handful of high-end restaurants around the country.”

A month ago, hundreds of Arby’s restaurants were affected by a breach in their payment systems, Krebs reported. In January, Popeyes restaurants acknowledged it was also hit last summer, in a similar breach. Wendy’s reported being hit last summer as well. Fraud from stolen credit and debit cards seems to be happening regularly at U.S. restaurants where older magnetic stripe cards are still sometimes in use instead of more secure chip cards. But even PIN and chip cards can’t be defended against the kind of internal POS breaches that occurred at Select Restaurants, said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan.

The extent of the fraud, in dollars or total victims, at Select Restaurants was not disclosed. Select Restaurants did not respond to a request for comment. The company owns eateries including Boston’s Top of the Hub, Parker’s Lighthouse in Long Beach, Calif. and Rusty Scupper in Baltimore, among others. The best defense for restaurants is providing point-to-point encryption of data, Litan said. She also said retailers and restaurants shouldn’t store sensitive data. [For more: Tech Wire]

Virginia is for felonies? Petty theft law from 1980s sticks

Stealing a $230 pair of eyeglasses would land you a misdemeanor conviction in most states. Shoplifting the same item in Virginia could make you a felon for life. To keep pace with inflation, at least 30 states have raised the dollar minimum for felony charges in the last two decades. Three dozen have a threshold of $1,000 or more, and Wisconsin and Texas won’t charge thefts of less than $2,500 as felonies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia, however, has kept its felony bar at $200 since 1980, when that money had the same buying power as nearly $600 does today. Virginia is tied with New Jersey for having the nation’s lowest felony threshold.

Damien Ferebee said he was so embarrassed after he was caught stealing those eyeglasses that he paid back the store in Norfolk. Ferebee, who had a prior robbery conviction from 2004, pleaded guilty to felony larceny and was sentenced to six months in jail. He also lost his job. Now working as a cook at 31, he fears the latest felony will haunt him for years. “You want to get back from your mistakes, but it just makes it harder,” Ferebee said. Ken Cuccinelli, a former Republican Virginia attorney general who supports raising the threshold, says Virginians and especially Republicans in the state have a long history “of only dealing with crime by making anything and everything tougher.”

It is unclear how many Virginians are being locked up for stealing low-priced items. A study by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission in 2016 found that in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, nearly 850 people were convicted of felony larceny who would have received a misdemeanor had the state’s threshold been $500. [For more: Houston Chronicle]

JCPenney lists the 138 stores it is planning to shutter

JCPenney listed for the first time the 138 locations it will shutter in the coming months as the retailer seeks to cut costs and improve its profitability. Like other department stores, JCPenney Co. is hurting as more people shop online instead of heading to the mall. The closures are part of the company’s previously announced plans to focus on its best-performing stores.

About 5,000 jobs will be cut due to the closures, JCPenney said. The company had about 105,000 full and part-time employees last year. Nine stores will close in Texas, the most of any state. Eight will close in Minnesota and seven will be shut in both Michigan and Pennsylvania. Liquidation sales at the 138 stores will start next month, and most of the stores will be shut by mid-June, the company said. The closings will leave JCPenney with a total of about 900 stores.  [For more: SF Gate]

Disney coughs up $3.8 million for violating minimum wage laws

Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $3.8 million in back wages, after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found the company in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Some 16,339 hotel and time-share management employees will receive a portion of the near $4 million pay out. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found Disney in violation of U.S. minimum wage standards, overtime compensation, and bookkeeping provisions, it reports.

Resort employees incurred a uniform, or “costume,” deduction from their paychecks, causing their hourly compensation to fall below the federal minimum wage. Disney resorts also reportedly did not pay employees for work-related activities performed before and after their designated shift. Management failed to keep any time or payroll records.

Defending the company’s practices, Disney leadership released a statement, saying: “the Department of Labor has identified a group of cast members who may have performed work outside of their scheduled shift, and we will be providing a one-time payment to resolve this. We are adjusting our procedures to avoid this in the future.”  [For more: The Daily Caller]

Secret Service laptop containing Trump Tower evacuation and floor plans stolen

A laptop with highly sensitive information was stolen from a Secret Service agent’s car Thursday morning in Brooklyn and has not been found, according to two senior New York law enforcement officials. The officials said the laptop, which was highly encrypted and contained floor plans and evacuation protocol for Trump Tower, cannot be traced or erased by officials remotely, leaving the information at risk of being discovered.

The agent described the incident as a compromise of national security, according to one of the officials. Also stolen were the agent’s lapel assignment pins that gave her access to security details that protected Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, the pope and the United Nations General Assembly. The laptop and pins were in a backpack that was taken from the car, which was parked in the agent’s driveway. The backpack has since been found, but not the laptop. Secret Service spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan confirmed that the laptop had been stolen and that an investigation is underway.  [For more: CNN]


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