Breaking News in the Industry: January 4, 2018

working in loss prevention

 KCSO links more than 430 theft arrests to opioid epidemic

In Tennessee, the Knox County Sheriff’s Officers (KCSO) Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit Task Force’s work during the holiday season resulted in the arrests of more than 430 adults. Deputies confiscated and returned loads of merchandise during the 2017 operation from Nov. 20 to Dec. 30. At a 2:30 p.m. news conference Tuesday, investigators announced that 433 people were arrested during the operation. 57 minors and four fugitives from justice were also taken into custody. Investigators connected the high number of shoplifting-related arrests to the widespread opioid epidemic in East Tennessee. “We got over 400 people off the streets, and I bet you the high 90 percent of those people are addicted to some form of opiate,” KCSO Chief Lee Trammel explained. Officers recovered $96,000 worth of stolen property, four stolen vehicles, and seized $9,600 in cash. Drugs like meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana were reportedly taken off the street along with two guns. When asked directly if the number of thefts were linked to opiates, Trammel said, “I don’t think there’s a question.”  [Source: Local8 Now]

Woman caught shoplifting attacks and maces employees

An altercation inside a Target store in north Houston, Texas, has left one woman arrested and facing multiple charges. Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman’s office responded to a robbery call Sunday at a Target Store on I-45N at Cypresswood Drive. According to deputies, Whitney Riggs was shoplifting and tried to exit the store when she was caught by Target asset protection associates. Riggs then pulled out a can of mace spraying both AP associates and physically assaulting one, who received minor injuries. Riggs was arrested and booked into the Harris County Jail and charged with robbery of a business and assault. Her bond is set at $20,000.  [Source: NewsFix]

Rookie officer busts driver with van full of counterfeit handbags, shoes

A rookie New York Port Authority police officer busted a man who allegedly had a car-full of counterfeit handbags, belts and shoes while investigating an accident on the George Washington Bridge this week. Around 9 p.m. Thursday, Officer Christopher Roncancio was sent to the scene of the crash on the bridge and began talking to the drivers, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police. One of the cars involved was a 2006 Toyota minivan, and the inside was completely filled with handbags, belts, shoes, and assorted designer labels, police said. An investigation determined that the items were counterfeit and the driver was arrested, police said. Bubacarr Drammeh, 49, of the Bronx, was charged with trademark counterfeiting, police said. He told Port Authority police he intended to sell the goods at a New Jersey flea market, police said. Roncancio graduated from the Port Authority Police Department Academy just one week ago Friday, police said.  [Source: CBS2 News]

Fifty-one percent of shoppers avoid retailers with strict return policies

As the holiday season concludes, retailers now must manage an influx of returns. This period is critical in setting the tone for the coming year: more than 63% of shoppers agree (and 35% of shoppers strongly agree) that if they have a negative return experience, they will not return to that retailer, according to research from Promocodes.com. Strict return policies can inhibit many consumers from shopping at a specific retailer in the first place: 51% said they avoid shopping at retailers with strict return policies, and 29% strongly agreed with this statement. Even if consumers choose a retailer with a tough return policy, they won’t spend much there. Respondents reporting that return policies affect their purchase amount spend, on average, no more than $43.12 at stores with unfavorable policies. Consumers have distinct preferences for different return policies, particularly depending on whether the item is bought in-store or online. Both in-store (37.9%) and online ( 33.6%) shoppers consider a full refund to be the most important return policy retailers can implement. In-store shoppers also prefer options that:

  • Do not require a receipt (20.9%);
  • Have no time limit for returns (16.1%); and
  • Do not require bringing original payment method (10.8%).
  • Online shoppers care about free returns (27.8%), as well as no time limits (12.1%) and an option to return the product in store (11%).

Promocodes.com, in partnership with Research Now, surveyed 1,000 U.S. shoppers to gather data for the report. [Source: RetailTouchPoints]

Green Bay women went to another city to steal to avoid being caught in hometown

Three Green Bay women, who a police report said went to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to steal because “they didn’t want to get caught in the city that they live in,” were arrested on suspicion of felony retail theft Friday evening. Yaelyn J. Ramirez-Toco, 26, Cintia G. Flores-Garcia, 22, and Cassandra T. Aguila-Venegas, 20, each were arrested on suspicion of felony retail theft after they tried to steal $767.99 in merchandise from a Manitowoc store, police said. According to a police report, Manitowoc police responded to the store, in the 4400 block of Dewey Street, around 5:47 p.m. Friday for the report of a “huge theft” in progress. When officers arrived, the store’s loss prevention department had one suspect in custody and gave officers the description of the other two suspects and the vehicle they fled the scene in. All suspects were located and taken into custody. Among the items taken in the alleged theft was a pair of Nike shoes. One of the suspects told officers “her intention was to resell the items and buy food with them so she can feed herself a nice meal on New Year’s,” the police report said.  [Source: Herald Times Reporter]

Could Amazon really acquire Target?

Gene Munster, managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures and a former Piper Jaffray analyst, and his team sparked a heated discussion this week after predicting, among other things, that Amazon could buy Target in 2018, according to a company blog post. Target is the ideal offline partner for Amazon for two major reasons, the firm said: shared demographics and a manageable but comprehensive store count (with roughly 1,830 stores). Target’s focus on moms in particular “is central to Amazon’s approach to win wallet share,” according to Loup’s note. Buying up more brick-and-mortar stores wouldn’t be unfathomable for the e-commerce giant. Amazon’s recent acquisition of 470 Whole Foods stores, along with testing of the Amazon Go retail concept, is evidence the company sees the future of retail as a combination of mostly online and some offline, Loup said.  [Source: RetailDIVE]

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