Breaking News in the Industry: December 14, 2017

Shoplifting investigation turns up $54,000 in eyeglass frames; duo arrested

A man and woman from Tarzana, California, have been accused of stealing eyeglass lenses from a Rancho Cucamonga store — and linked to similar burglaries of LensCrafters in California and four other states, according to a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department news release. The Rancho Cucamonga burglary was reported in the Victoria Gardens outdoor mall, according to the news release. Employees provided deputies with photos of two burglars. Deputies located Victor Martinez, 38, and Isis Munoz, 41, nearby and arrested them on suspicion of shoplifting, according to the release and jail records. Deputies found that Martinez had a no-bail warrant for burglary and other charges out of Orange County. Investigators discovered that the suspects were linked to other burglaries in California, Oregon, Texas, New Jersey and Washington.

On Sunday, deputies searched a Tarzana home and storage unit linked to the suspects and found 350 pairs of LensCrafters frames worth about $54,000, along with stolen electronics, jewelry and $3,200 in cash. San Bernardino County deputies are working with other law enforcement agencies to seek additional criminal charges against the suspects. Munoz was cited and released from jail Saturday. Despite the Orange County warrant, San Bernardino County jail records show Martinez also was cited and released Monday. Sheriff’s officials are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the Rancho Cucamonga station at 909-477-2800. Anonymous tips can be made to the WeTip hotline at 800-782-7463 or their website by clicking here[Source: Daily Bulletin]

Shoplifting suspect rams police chief’s vehicle [Viral Video]

It started in Englewood, Ohio, Tuesday afternoon and ended in Huber Heights, Ohio, after a high speed chase along I-70. The suspect, 40-year-old Michael Paul Williams of Springfield, is being held in the Montgomery County Jail and could face felony assault charges. Englewood Police credit their system of city-wide cameras, to be able to track the suspect without his knowledge. “In Englewood we’ve got about 30 cameras around the city so immediately our dispatchers were able to pull up that truck and follow it’s movement,” said Englewood Police Sergeant Mike Lang. He also said the incident started when Williams allegedly shoplifted a television from Walmart and drove away in what’s believed to be a stolen truck with stolen plates. Dispatchers watching on the cameras were able to track him to a Meijer gas station. “As crews were headed to Walmart the closest officer was actually chief of police,” Lang said. Chief Mark Brownfield responded to to the Meijer in his black unmarked SUV.

The video shows the suspect escape the parking lot in the white pickup truck, but when he stops at a light to exit the station, throws his truck into reverse and rams the chief’s cruiser. “He’s obviously shaken up on it,” Sgt. Lang said, “But his duty like all of ours, is to respond, it’s not every day we get rammed by somebody.” Police said Williams took off and led officers on a chase along I-70 up to speeds of 100 miles per hour. Englewood police said they lost sight of Williams, but Huber Heights police confirmed he crashed into three cars at the intersection of Brandt Pike and Longford, another at Brandt and Chambersburg, before he was stopped and arrested at Brandt Pike and Fishburg Road. “Unfortunately for reasons I can’t explain this year we have had a number of pursuits from either misdemeanors or low level felonies, that in the end you’re gunna be caught,” Sgt. Lang said, “It’s easier to stop at that point but instead to risk the lives of other innocent motorists and people on the roadway is inexcusable.” Lang said thankfully no one was injured, and the chief’s cruiser suffered minor damage. “We’re proud he was there to respond, not so proud this guy decided to ram his car and then put others in danger simply for stealing a television.”  [Source: Fox45 Now]

Bar owner tapped stolen credit cards for $87,000

A Fairmount bar owner in Pennsylvania was sentenced Tuesday to 3½ years in federal prison for racking up more than $87,000 in fraudulent credit card charges at his pub. Michael Hoffner Sr. of  Voorhees pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud, admitting that between September and December 2012 he used stolen credit card numbers 40 times to make charges at his bar, the Brown Street Pub. U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg also imposed a three-year term of supervised release and ordered Hoffner, 52, to pay $87,060 in restitution and forfeit $82,643 in proceeds. The charges were made to credit and debit cards issued by American Express, Navy Federal Credit Union, USAA, ACNB and the State Employees Credit Union of Maryland.  The average charge was more than $2,000, authorities said, and cardholders were not aware of the charges. The proceeds went into a bank account controlled by Hoffner, prosecutors said In July, prosecutors told the judge that Hoffner had been warned by at least two credit card companies of the high number of disputed charges at his bar, but he maintained that the tabs had been legally incurred by the cardholders for parties hosted there.The bar, at 795 N. 24th St., was renamed Fairmount & Co. last year, but is listed online as the North 24th Street Restaurant and Bar. Before it changed names, it maintained a three-star rating on Yelp, with customers praising its beer selection and dive bar atmosphere. [Source: The Inquirer]

Shoplifting suspect punches LP associate

Police arrested a Wooster, Ohio,  couple accused of walking into a department store fitting room, concealing the store’s clothing on themselves and trying to leave without paying. Stark County Jail records show that Katie L. Munday, 39, also is accused of punching a store employee seven times in the arm when he tried to stop them. The 40-year-old man she lives with also had an undisclosed amount of marijuana in their vehicle, the jail records indicate. The couple was arrested at 7:06 p.m. Monday at the store on Dressler Road NW. The man had $164 in store merchandise and the woman had $209 worth, jail records show. Munday was jailed on a robbery charge. The man was jailed on misdemeanor charges of theft, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Canton Repository does not typically name misdemeanor crime suspects. Both remained in jail early Tuesday. The man was held in lieu of $2,000 bond and Munday in lieu of $50,000 bond, both pending Massillon Municipal Court hearings. [Source: CantonRep]

San Francisco law limits delivery robots

Legislation just passed in San Francisco, California, now limits robotics delivery companies to just three street-active robots each, for a citywide total of nine robots, Tech Crunch reported last week. The robots can be active only in low population, mostly industrial areas. Active robots now also require constant human monitoring, plus a top speed of only three miles per hour. Those behind the new laws mention potential danger to pedestrians such as children and the elderly, who could be forced off the sidewalk and into the street due to robotic crowding. The San Francisco limitations are at odds with those recently passed in both Idaho and Virginia, which now allow delivery robots to operate statewide.  [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]

Shoplifter uses pepper spray on AP associates

Shoplifters seldom go willingly with authorities once their crime is discovered, but not many fight back like one man did in an incident police list as an armed robbery. It occurred just before 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at Target, 3100 Fairlane Drive. Allen Park Police in Michigan were sent to the store on the report of a retail fraud incident in progress. Police officers s were told one of the store’s AP associates was pepper-sprayed by the shoplifter. Police requested that the Fire Department send paramedics to the scene. Upon arrival, officers met with the asset protection associate, who was being treated for her injuries. The associate told police she and another AP associate observed a man select three Texas Instruments calculators, worth a combined value of almost $400. She said the man ripped them from the security locking devices, concealed the items in his jacket pocket, and then passed all points of sale without offering payment.

She and two other AP associates confronted the man at the front doors, so he attempted to move to another set of doors. He dropped the concealed items, pulled out a can of pepper spray and sprayed the employee in her eyes. The shoplifter was followed to the parking lot, but his vehicle was unable to be identified. Police said it was unknown what type of spray the man used. Paramedics treated the woman, but did not take her to a hospital. All merchandise was recovered. The man is described as black, 6 feet 4 inches tall, and weighs about 250 pounds. At the time of the incident he was wearing a blue jacket, blue tie, white dress shirt and khaki pants.  [Source: Herald-News]

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