Breaking News in the Industry: August 7, 2017

Suspect in $230,000 rug store theft enters plea

A 55-year-old Oakland, California, man charged in connection with the theft of nearly a quarter million dollars worth of rugs from a Burlingame store has pleaded not guilty, according to prosecutors. John Reed is charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property, both felonies, and misdemeanor possession of a burglary tool. He entered his plea Thursday in San Mateo County Superior Court. Because of a previous strike conviction for residential burglary, Reed could be sentenced to 18 years in prison if found guilty, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. On Sunday, Heriz Rugs in Burlingame was burglarized and 16 rugs worth $230,184 were stolen, according to prosecutors.

The owner discovered the theft Monday. Prosecutors said Reed met with a former rug store owner in San Francisco on Tuesday and sold her two rugs out of his car for $850. The former rug store owner then received a call from the owner of Heriz Rugs telling her to watch out for the stolen rugs. Suspicious of Reed, they contacted Burlingame police. On Wednesday, police found Reed with eight rugs and a pry bar in his car, according to prosecutors. One of the rugs, an 11-foot-by-19-foot Iranian Sarouk, was worth $78,000, Wagstaffe said. Wagstaffe said Reed’s criminal history stretches back to 1981. At the time of his most recent arrest, he was on post-release community supervision for a 2012 commercial burglary conviction. Reed, who remains in custody in lieu of $85,000 bail, is scheduled to return to court Aug. 16 for a preliminary hearing.  [For more: The Mercury News]

Employee arrested on theft charge

A former Trussville, Alabama, Sam’s Club employee has been arrested on July 26 for allegedly taking more than $14,000 in cellphones between May 7 and June 20. Brittany Nicole Dailey, 27, of Irondale, has been charged with first-degree theft of property after an internal investigation by Sam’s Club, authorities said. Dailey is suspected of taking an Apple iPhone 7 and 14 Apple iPhone 7 Plus units worth approximately $14,726, according to the police report. Dailey has since bonded out of the Jefferson County Jail.  [For more: WVTM News]

Woman wanted after stealing hundreds of dollars in makeup

Authorities are on the hunt for a woman who stole hundreds of dollars in makeup from a metro store. Oklahoma City police report that on July 11 a pregnant woman in her mid to late 20s entered Nordstrom Rack, and began shopping in the makeup aisle. A loss prevention associate told police he observed the woman begin putting makeup into her purse. At one point, the woman steps behind a clothes rack to use pliers she brought to the store to pull the sensor off of a pair of shoes. An alarm was triggered when the woman cut the sensor and she then tried to leave the store. While outside, she was approached by the loss prevention officer. The officer didn’t want to struggle with the woman, because she was pregnant, and she was able to flee the store. Before fleeing, the woman dropped her purse, the pliers and the stolen items. The woman then jumped in a gray Honda Pilot that was waiting for her and fled the scene. Just 15 minutes after police posted the woman’s photo to social media she was identified. Anyone with information on the woman is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 405-235-7300.  [For more: Fox25 News]

Suspect sought in theft of lottery tickets

Authorities in Lincoln County, North Carolina, are looking for a man they said led deputies on a chase after stealing lottery tickets from two convenience stores last week. On Tuesday, around 5:30 a.m. deputies were called to Sam’s Mart in Denver after the clerk reported that a man came into the store and stole several lottery tickets. About three hours later, deputies were alerted to another incident, this time at the Denver Mart. A worker there told authorities that a man matching the description of the thief in the first incident came into the store and stole about 45 lottery tickets while the clerk was distracted.

After reviewing surveillance video at each store, detectives were able to identify the man as 32-year-old Marcus Holloway, of Statesville. The next day, Holloway came back to the Denver Mart. Deputies spotted him and tried to stop his car on Business Highway 16 but stop chasing him because the traffic was so heavy. Deputies later discovered the vehicle abandoned on Glen Crest Drive in Denver. Once arrested, Holloway will be charged with obtaining property by false pretenses in Lincoln County and also has a number of outstanding warrants in surrounding counties. Anyone with information about Holloway’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or the nearest law enforcement agency.  [For more: WSOCTV9 News]

Shoplifting suspect struck vehicle in car crash

An armed shoplifting suspect driving away from an East Anchorage, Alaska, grocery store Saturday hit another vehicle according to Anchorage police, while being pursued by officers near Merrill Field. No injuries were reported in the collision, police spokesman MJ Thim said. The chain of events leading to the crash began at about 3 p.m. at the Carrs Safeway store in the Northway Mall,  Thim said, where a suspect who had a gun but didn’t fire it had taken goods from the store. Responding officers followed the suspect’s vehicle south and west as it left the mall, then got onto 15th. “The suspect ended up hitting a civilian vehicle at Sitka and 15th,” Thim said. “That’s where we took the person into custody, as well as another person within the vehicle.”  The names of those taken into custody at the crash site weren’t immediately available Saturday afternoon.  [For more: KTVA11 News]

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Thefts of cognac, other hard liquor has troubled retailer

It’s summer time, party time and liquor store thieves are out in full force. In recent weeks, the Meijer supermarket in Homer Glen, Illinois, has been the victim of repeated thievery. The large retail store was sacked by liquor thieves around July 16, July 17, July 21 and July 22, Will County Sheriff’s reports reflect.In all of the cases, by the time Meijer’s loss prevention associates discovered the crimes, the thieves had made off with a stash of stolen alcohol. Will County is now investigating the retail thefts.

On July 20, a loss prevention associate reviewing video surveillance realized that a man and a woman had entered the Meijer’s store in Homer Glen with a tote bag on July 16 and July 17, stealing several bottles of alcohol from the liquor department. On July 16, the couple stole 14 bottles of Cognac. The next day, they stole four bottles of Tequila and one bottle of vodka, police reports state. On July 21, a loss prevention associate reviewing store surveillance noticed a man loading his shopping cart at Meijer’s with four boxes of Remy Martin XO Cognac and two boxes of Hennessy XO Cognac. Moments later, as the man walked away from his cart, a woman retrieved it and left the store with the stolen liquor. On July 22, Meijer’s loss prevention associates discovered two men and a woman had walked into the liquor department putting several bottles of liquor into their shopping cart and a tote bag. The three then left the Meijer’s without paying for liquor. In sum, the thieves stole four bottles of Tequila and six bottles of Cognac, police reports show. It remains to be seen if the recent wave of liquor bandits will be caught. In June, Meijer loss prevention associates nabbed three Chicago men who were stealing about $1,600 in groceries from the Homer Glen store.  [For more: Joliet Patch]

The retail apocalypse is heading straight for grocery stores

Department stores and many mall-based retailers are closing thousands of stores after years of over-expansion. Now the grocery industry appears to be heading toward a similar fate. Like mall-based retailers did in the 1990s, supermarkets have been expanding rapidly across the US in recent years. “Over the past 10 years, we saw high growth from some of the more traditional players, which has resulted in saturation in the US, and forced mainstream supermarkets to slow openings,” Danielle Dolinsky, an analyst at retail consulting firm Planet Retail RNG, told Business Insider. For some companies, however, the pace of growth is only accelerating. Discount grocers including Aldi, Lidl, and Dollar General are collectively planning to open thousands of new stores over the next couple years. At the same time, tech companies like Amazon, with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods, are also entering the food wars. Competition is ramping up at a time when the amount of retail space devoted to food sales in the US has already hit a record high. The US has 4.15 square feet of retail food space per person, which is nearly 30 times higher than in 1950, according to CoStar Group data cited by the Wall Street Journal.

But demand hasn’t kept up with unit growth.  Total US grocery sales fell nearly 2% in the 12-week period ending July 15, compared to last year, according to Nielsen data. Grocery stores have been slashing prices to drive sales and better compete, which is driving profits lower in a business that’s already pressured by razor-thin margins. The Dollar General store in Roebuck, South Carolina dropped prices by 10% to 30% in response to Lidl entering the market, analysts said. Food Lion has also cut prices in markets where it competes directly with Lidl. The company sent executives to Lidl’s stores in other countries ahead of its US launch to better understand the concept. The supermarkets that survive and thrive over the next decade will have to find ways to shave operating costs, primarily through the use of smart technology that strengthens inventory management and robots that improve the customer experience, and funnel those savings into ongoing price cuts. Companies like Kroger and Walmart are already investing in these technologies. But many others are “unwilling, or unable, to engage,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a research note published Wednesday. It’s not yet clear who the winners will be as the grocery wars shake out, but there’s little doubt that consumers will benefit as chains are forced to continue dropping prices and offer more convenient shopping services to compete.  [For more: Business Insider]

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