Breaking News in the Industry: May 17, 2017

Tulsa woman’s attempts to flee injure officers after alleged shoplifting [Video]

Owasso, Oklahoma, police released body camera video of a woman attempting to flee officers, injuring them in the process, after she allegedly shoplifted from a Dollar General store. Bailey Michelle Cargile, 26, of Independence, Kansas, allegedly struck an officer Thursday evening with a Mercedes SUV and injured another while attempting to flee a strip mall.

The two officers were transported to a Tulsa hospital in serious condition and were released Friday morning. “They’re back home, to their respective homes, resting,” Lt. Nick Boatman said. “They’re doing pretty good.” Cargile was also taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries stemming from her altercation with the officers. Cargile allegedly stole a single item from a Dollar General store in the 500 block of East Second Avenue. Owasso police attempted to arrest her in front of a neighboring business, where her vehicle was parked. She allegedly reversed the SUV and struck a patrol vehicle. Boatman said one officer jumped away from the vehicle before being struck. Boatman said the woman realized she couldn’t go backward, so she put the SUV into drive as another officer tried to remove her from the driver’s seat. The woman accelerated the SUV and crashed into the business’ exterior, causing bricks to fall on that officer and her vehicle, Boatman said.  [For more: Tulsa World]

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CA Kohl’s LP Associate stabbed in shoplifting confrontation

A man pepper-sprayed Kohl’s department store loss prevention associates and stabbed one of them in the torso after the associates detained two women who had left the store without paying for items, according to a Fontana, California, Police Department news release. The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The trio got away after the Thursday incident at the Kohl’s in Fontana. But later that day, police arrested the suspects at their residence in Ontario, police said. Police say Tina Lorraine Morin, 55, who was on probation in a federal drug-trafficking case, and Cherokee Marie Hicks, 39, who had several outstanding warrants, left the store while concealing numerous items. After they were detained, police say Larry James Meyer, 34, a registered sex offender who was on parole for possession of brass knuckles, attacked the LP associates in an attempt to free the women. Meyer has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and robbery and is being held without bail, court and jail records show. Morin and Hicks were arrested on suspicion of robbery and have not been charged.  [For more: The Sun]

Philadelphia man who stole credit cards receives term in state prison

A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 31/2 to 10 years in state prison for making fraudulent purchases with credit cards he and a woman stole from a moviegoer’s purse in a theater. A jury convicted Gregory C. Shamberger, 52, of three counts of access device fraud, three counts of conspiracy and one count of false identification after deliberating for less than 30 minutes during an April trial.

Prosecutors said Shamberger and Kendra Scott stole a woman’s wallet from her purse while she was watching a movie at the Fox Berkshire Theater. The duo then went on a shopping spree, racking up $8,000 worth of purchases before the movie ended. They were caught when they returned to the same theater two days later and tried to commit a similar crime. Authorities said that when Shamberger was arrested, officers found a 2-foot metallic grabber tool stuffed in his pant leg. He was also sentenced to pay more than $8,000 in restitution with Scott.  [For more: Reading Eagle]

Brooks Brothers site hit with year-long data breach

Men’s fashion retailer Brooks Brothers is alerting customers who made purchases at some of its locations of a potential breach. In a release on May 12, the men’s clothing retailer, which has more than 400 stores worldwide, announced that although such sensitive information as Social Security numbers or personally identifying information was not impacted, it is issuing the alert as a precaution and to provide information on what customers can do to protect themselves from identity theft. The number of those affected was not included. “Certain” Brooks Brothers and Brooks Brothers Outlet retail locations in the US and Puerto Rico were involved in the “potential security incident.”

The retailer stated that “it appears that an unauthorized individual was able to gain access to and install malicious software designed to capture payment card information on some of our payment processing systems at our retail and outlet locations.” Based on its own forensic investigation, the retailer believed malicious software might have impacted payment card data including name, payment card account number, card expiration date, and card verification code “of some customers who used a payment card at affected Brooks Brothers or Brooks Brothers Outlet locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico only… between April 4, 2016 and March 1, 2017.”
Upon learning of the incursion, Brook Brothers took “immediate action,” launching an internal investigation, hiring independent forensic analysts and notifying law enforcement. The investigation continues as the retailer said it is enhancing its security measures. This incident has been resolved, the company stated.  [For more: SC Media]

Teen mom caught shoplifting brought to tears by police officer’s kind act

Sheena Davenport walked out of an Alabama courtroom last week with her head down. The 19-year-old mother pleaded guilty to shoplifting and had to pay $700 in fines and restitution. She stole food from a Walmart nearly a year ago, when she and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Logan McPherson, had fallen on tough times. “I only had $5 to last until who knows when,” Davenport, the mother of an 18-month-old named Skylar said. “I had been looking for jobs. We applied for food stamps.”

A year later, the family is in a better place, but Davenport said she will forever feel the shame of her actions that day. As the teen mom left court last Monday, a police officer tapped her on the shoulder and told her to wait outside. Confused, Davenport did as the officer asked. Dothan Police Officer Katrina Culbreath then told Davenport to follow her police cruiser. Again, Davenport followed her instruction.  After a short drive, the pair pulled into a Winn-Dixie grocery store parking lot in Dothan, Alabama. “Grab a buggy — let’s go shopping,” Culbreath said with a grin after they exited their vehicles. Davenport said she couldn’t accept the officer’s generous offer, but Culbreath insisted, and they headed into the store. “We talked about her past struggles and how to make it through them,” Davenport said. Davenport recalls spotting Culbreath in court before, but the pair had never actually met until that day. “As we were walking through the store I wanted to cry the whole time that someone would actually do something like this for me in my struggling times,” Davenport said.

When Davenport was finished picking out her groceries for the week, Culbreath took the cart and footed the $139 bill. Davenport was so overwhelmed and grateful she asked the officer to snap a quick picture, which she shared on Facebook to show her friends “there are still people out there to make a difference.” The post went viral with more than 10,000 likes and thousands of shares.  [For more: CBS News]

Rise in organized retail crime is costing you

They’re fast, they’re sneaky – and their crimes are impacting your wallet. Organized retail crime is costing retailers billions of dollars each year, which inevitably ends up costing you. But it’s more than just shoplifting. Organized retail crime includes receiving goods that are believed to be stolen, even if they’re not shoplifting goods ($200+ value) through an emergency exit door. Theft of infant formula more than $100. Credit card/gift card fraud. Removing or deactivating anti-shoplifting device. Switching or crating fake barcodes. Conspiring with another to commit theft of retail property from retail establishments with a value exceeding $1,500 with the intent to sell that retail property for monetary or other gain and who takes, or causes, that retail property to be placed in the control of a retail property fence, or other person in exchange for consideration (Class H felony). Durham police detective Debra Smith’s job is to stop retail theft.

“Once I identify you, you’re on my watch list, and it’s downhill for you from there,” Smith said. She said it’s a crime that happens every single day. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get a phone call or a text message or an email from a loss prevention personnel that tells me ‘Hey, we just got hit by this person, do you know these people?’” Smith explained. Some stores sell legitimate merchandise alongside stolen goods. An example is Central Fashion Mart in Durham, one of Smith’s largest busts.Police raided the shop and ended up finding stolen and counterfeit clothing. “We ended up doing a search warrant on that business and ended up seizing $50,000 – $60,000 worth of counterfeit product,” Smith said. They caught a shoplifter who police said sold stolen clothes to 39-year-old Robby Harris Ertimi, the store owner who police then charged with organized retail theft and possession of stolen goods. He was released on probation and his neighbors told reporters he moved out of the country. His store was shut down and now sits empty.

“It’s a threat to every operator in the grocery store business,” explained Mack McLamb, president of Carlie C’s stores. “Sometimes they’ll work in teams so someone is distracting your staff and so forth, sometimes it’s just a hit and run let’s get as much as we can as fast as we can.” Razor blades, baby formula, laundry detergent, you name it… criminals are stealing it. “Twenty years ago, you couldn’t have stolen a box of tide and found a market to sell it, whereas today with the internet and things like that it’s a little easier,” McLamb said. But here’s why this really matters to you. “Ultimately the pricing has to change at some point in time to accommodate that which means in the end your customers end up paying for that illegal behavior,” McLamb explained.“If you have to pay triple what you paid for something three years ago, that’s not because they’re just  upping the price because the want to make more money, they’re trying to make up for their loss,” Smith said. It’s a crime that’s growing and growing fast.  [For more: WNCN News]

Rue21 takes road to bankruptcy

The Pittsburgh-based fashion and accessories retailer had already begun closing nearly 400 of its 1,179 stores before it filed a Chapter 11 petition Tuesday aimed at reducing its debt burden. In a statement, Rue21 said it had struck a deal with lenders for $125 million in debtor-in-possession financing, along with a term loan of as much as $50 million. “These actions are being undertaken with the goal of strengthening the company’s balance sheet, achieving a more efficient cost structure and concentrating resources on a tighter retail footprint in order to pave the best path forward for Rue21,” chief executive Melanie Cox said.

“The retail industry in general has experienced significant headwinds, requiring traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to adapt to an increasingly digital-focused consumer,” the company said in a court filing. “While the company’s online presence is expanding and improving, the company’s historic online platform was not as robust as that of certain of its competitors.” It also said “an evolution of customer tastes” had undermined its girls fashion products, which represented 50 percent of revenue in 2016, down from 54 percent a year earlier.USA Today noted that Rue21 is not bleeding cash and had secured support for its debt-cutting plan from multiple key creditors, suggesting it “may avoid liquidation, a fate that has recently befallen mall clothing store chains Bebe, The Limited and Wet Seal.” “The retailer was pushed into bankruptcy because of supply chain challenges and the tightening of trade credit terms months ahead of the filing,” Reorg First Day analyst Jessica Steinhagen said. [For more: CFO]

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