Breaking News in the Industry: January 19, 2018

Two sought in $2M jewelry theft from Texas store [Viral Video]

Police are looking for two men who stole jewelry valued at $2 million from a Sugar Land, Texas, store after smashing display cases with a hammer. The men are seen on surveillance video Sugar Land police released on Thursday from the Jan. 10 heist at Hutton’s Jewelry & Gifts. The men entered the store at 2735 Town Center Blvd., just after 12:20 p.m. on Jan. 10. One man approached an employee and asked about an engagement ring. The second man soon joined them, then removed a hammer from inside his jacket and smashed two display cases, one in the rear of the store and another at the exit. The first man also removed jewelry from the cases and both ran out of the store. [Source: Chron]

New Jersey mother accused of using 11-year-old in shoplifting scheme

The state Division of Child Protection and Permanency has been contacted to visit a Perth Amboy woman’s home after she allegedly used her 11-year-old daughter to shoplift merchandise from a Woodbridge Center store. Around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Woodbridge police were dispatched to the JC Penney store for a report of a mother and young daughter shoplifting. Police were informed by a store loss prevention associate that Cruz Maria Garcia De Rodriguez, 45, and her 11-year-old daughter had been caught shoplifting $1,234.15 worth of merchandise, including sneakers, shirts and blankets. According to police, the mother and daughter used a system to shoplift items from the men’s, bedding and children’s departments. In each department, Garcia De Rodriguez would have her daughter hide under a table or bench while she handed the child merchandise from the store racks. The mother would then have the child place the items into JC Penney’s plastic shopping bags before the daughter emerged from under the displays and handed the bags to her mother.

The mother and daughter were spotted on surveillance video cameras repeating these actions in several store sections, police said. The mother and daughter headed for the store exit after their arms were filled with JC Penney shopping bags of unpaid merchandise, police said. They were stopped by store loss prevention personnel just before they exited the store and brought to the loss prevention office, where police were contacted. In the loss prevention office, police found the girl crying and upset from the incident. Police asked Garcia De Rodriguez to contact another relative to take custody of the girl, who went back home in a cab with the relative. Garcia De Rodriguez was arrested and received summonses for shoplifting, endangering the welfare of a child and using a juvenile to commit a criminal offense before being released, police said.  [Source: MyCentralJersey]

Shoplifting turns into foot pursuit

Police charged a local man with receiving stolen property and resisting arrest Monday afternoon after he allegedly stole a nail gun from Home Depot and led police on a short foot chase. Sean P. McInnis, 40, allegedly bypassed Home Depot’s registers and walked out of the store with a Dewalt nail gun he didn’t pay for, according to Rochester Police Capt. Jason Thomas. Police logs indicate the reporting party watched McInnis run out of Home Depot after the nail gun triggered the North Main Street store’s theft alarms. Thomas said an officer subsequently saw McInnis walking with the nail gun along North Main Street. After he saw the officer, McInnis allegedly dropped the nail gun and started running. “He was apprehended just moments later,” said Thomas. The charge of receiving stolen property is a Class B felony because McInnis has a prior conviction on his record. The resisting arrest charge is a Class A misdemeanor, police said. In addition to those charges, Thomas said McInnis was taken into custody on an outstanding Strafford County warrant as well as a Rochester theft-by-unauthorized-taking warrant related to a Nov. 27 theft at the Hannaford supermarket on North Main Street. McInnis refused bail and was arraigned on the charges in Strafford County Superior Court on Tuesday.  [Source: Fosters]

Florida woman sentenced for credit card fraud

A woman from Florida who police believe was part of a ring that defrauded Walmart stores around the country by using stolen credit cards has been sentenced to a year in jail for guilty pleas in two local counties. Yenisleidi Pino-Quintana, 25, of Miami, pleaded guilty in Warren County Court in November to second-degree forgery for her use of stolen cards to buy gift cards at the store on Route 9 in Queensbury last January. She also pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a forged instrument in Saratoga County Court for use of a stolen credit card at the Walmart store in Wilton and was sentenced to time served in jail. Police said she was also tagged with charges for a similar crime in Schenectady County. Pino-Quintana was arrested by State Police in Queensbury in April. Warren County Judge John Hall warned her during her guilty plea that she likely faced deportation to her native Cuba for the conviction after her release from jail. [Source: The Post Star]

Massachusetts man sent to prison for armed robbery of robot vac

A Massachusetts man is heading to state prison for at least two years, after weaponizing a robotic vacuum cleaner he was trying to steal last January.  David Nardella, 43, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and multiple counts of felony larceny during a hearing Wednesday in Salem Superior Court.  Judge Thomas Drechsler sentenced Nardella, who has a nearly-continuous criminal record stretching back 25 years, to two to 2 1/2 years in state prison. That’s half the time sought by a prosecutor, who had asked for four to five years in prison for Nardella.  “It’s time to protect the community,” prosecutor Karen Hopwood told Drechsler.  But Nardella’s attorney, Cristina Ayo, argued for less time, saying her client was suffering from a serious heroin problem and had relapsed in the days before he went on a theft spree in three counties. Hopwood said Nardella’s spree began at a TJ Maxx in Salem, where he walked out with two North Face jackets and four other coats on Jan. 10, 2017.  A week later, on Jan. 17, he was at the Target in Salem, where he walked out with two Samsung robotic vacuums. A store loss prevention associate noticed the thefts on surveillance video and remembered the suspect.  Two days later, Nardella was back at the same store, said Hopwood.  This time, he cut the security cords attaching two Neato robotic vacuums to a shelf, and walked out. The loss prevention associate saw what was happening and caught up with Nardella in the parking lot.

Nardella might have faced only a shoplifting or larceny charge but for what happened next: he swung one of the vacuum cleaners by the security cord at the associate. That turned the incident into an armed robbery. While the officer managed to grab that vacuum, Nardella got away with the other one.  He left in a black SUV with a veterans license plate that, it turns out, had been stolen off an actual veteran’s car in Lynn, said the prosecutor.  Over the next several days, the spree continued with similar crimes at stores in Woburn and Revere, where he was arrested.  Nardella has already pleaded guilty and served his jail terms in the Middlesex and Suffolk county cases.  Ayo asked the judge to give Nardella credit for the time spent serving those jail terms, arguing that his conduct was part of a single, ongoing scheme. But for the fact that the crimes occurred in three different counties, she suggested, he would likely have been sentenced to concurrent terms on all of the incidents.  Hopwood opposed the request, accusing Nardella of “triple dipping” by seeking the additional credit toward the sentence.  Drechsler opted to allow Nardella to receive credit toward his sentence for the time he’s been in custody since his arraignment in June in the Salem case.  Some, but not all, of that time overlaps with the sentences he served in the Middlesex and Suffolk cases. After his release, Drechsler ordered that Nardella must spend three years on supervised probation, and must immediately enter a residential drug treatment program.  He’s also been ordered not to use any drugs, including marijuana and alcohol, while on probation.  [Source: The Salem News]

Aetna agrees to pay $17M to settle HIV data breach incident

Aetna reached a $17 million settlement Wednesday to resolve a federal class-action lawsuit filed in August after the insurer revealed thousands of customers’ HIV statuses in mailings, according to court documents.The Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna exposed members’ HIV statuses through a window on envelopes containing information about filling prescriptions for HIV medications and pre-exposure prophylaxis, a pill that helps prevent a person from contracting HIV. The letters were mailed July 28 to about 12,000 customers in multiple states. As part of the settlement agreement, which is now subject to court approval, Aetna agreed to pay $17,161,200 to rectify the privacy breach claims. The payer will use the money to send a base payment of at least $500 to those whose information was breached. Another automatic base payment of $75 will be issued to about 1,600 additional Aetna members whose health information was allegedly disclosed to the company’s legal counsel and mail vendor.  [Source: Becker’s Hospital Review]

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