Breaking News in the Industry: November 16, 2017

Agents seize $1 million in knockoff sound systems at Minnesota border

US Customs agents confiscated nearly $1 million of counterfeit home theater sound systems that were being imported into the country in a rail car in Rainier, Minnesota, just outside International Falls. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers inspected the railcar — arriving on the CN Rail line, likely on its way into the US from a port in western Canada — and found 355 of the illegal home theater speaker systems. Agents said the units violated U.S. intellectual property rights regulations, meaning they were made to look like a brand name but were in fact knockoffs. The counterfeit merchandise totaled a suggested retail price of $990,415. “Counterfeiting adversely affects lawful rights holders of their original ideas and the ability to make a profit from them,” Anthony Jackson, International Falls port director, said in a statement Tuesday announcing the bust. “Counterfeiting also harms consumers because manufacturers of forged products have little motivation to use safe, high-quality materials in their products.” Customs officials said stopping the flow of illicit goods is a priority trade issue for the agency, saying “unscrupulous companies have profited billions of dollars from the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods” often imported from Asia. In August agents at the Ranier border crossing seized more than $84,000 in knockoff Barbie dolls entering the US in a rail car.  [Source: Duluth News Tribune]

Police seeking suspect after $43K watch stolen from Calgary store

Calgary police have issued an arrest warrant after a man asked to try on a watch at a local Birks jewelry store and ran out with a Rolex worth $43,700. The theft happened Monday afternoon at the CORE Shopping Centre in downtown Calgary. Police say a man wearing a suit walked into the jewelry store at about 4:40 p.m. and browsed its selection of watches. While trying on the Rolex, he bolted from the shop. After appealing for information from the public, police identified the suspect on Tuesday as Mohammad Nasruddin, 21. He’s believed to be in Calgary, although he has connections to Toronto. An arrest warrant for theft over $5,000 was issued. Anyone who is aware of his whereabouts is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.  [Source: CBC News]

Shoplifting suspect caught after being run over by car he tried to carjack

A Missouri man is in jail after he was caught shoplifting, fled from officers who arrived to arrest him and was run over by a driver whose car he tried to force his way into, police here said. Marcus E. Stewart, 45, is charged with attempted unlawful vehicular invasion, felony escape from a peace officer, retail theft-subsequent offense and resisting a peace officer.  Police say they were called to the Kohl’s store for a report of a shoplifter who was being held by store loss prevention staff. When officers arrived, the man resisted being taken into custody, police said. The officers tried without success to use a Taser on him and he was able to flee from the store. With officers chasing him, the man attempted to force his way into a car. The driver pulled way as the man tried to open the door, dragging the man for a short distance. When the man fell to the ground, the rear tires of the car drove over his legs. Police said the man was not injured in the incident and was taken into custody. The charges against Stewart were issued Monday. He is in the St. Clair County Jail with bail set at $100,000.  [Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch]

Police report spike in apple store ID thefts

It’s probably a good thing that the Orland Park Police Department is located just a few blocks away from Orland Square Mall in Illinois. In addition to all the arrests and warrants for retail crime, the mall’s Apple store has been a magnet for identity theft. Orland Park police said that in the past 18 months, 30 of the village’s 34 identity-theft related arrests or investigations involved attempted fraudulent purchases of Apple’s famous line of smartphones at the Orland Square Mall. The cases have become so prevalent, that Cook County Judge Peter Felice, who presides over the Fifth Municipal District felony bond court in Bridgeview, has remarked on it. Close to 85 percent of the Apple store’s identity theft crimes involved attempts to fraudulently purchase iPhones using an AT&T account. Over 65 percent of all fraudulent activity originated from active AT&T accounts where suspects unlawfully placed themselves on victims’ accounts without their knowledge or permission, Orland Park police said. Last month, an identity theft crew was said to have hit the Chicago-area. A New Jersey man was arrested after he tried to upgrade three phones using a Virginia man’s AT&T account and social security number, police said. An Apple sales associate told police the man was able to recite the fraudulent social security by heart three times. Police said the New Jersey man was recognized by a loss prevention officer from another attempt to steal an unsuspecting person’s identity at Apple’s Northbrook Court store.

On Nov. 5, Orland Park police stopped an identity theft in progress at the Apple store in Orland Square Mall. According to police, Ernest Bryant Jr. and Ashjanae King, who are both 21 and from Detroit, Mich., were detained by police and loss prevention officers outside the Apple store. Bryant was found with two iPhone 8s in his possession; King had three iPhone 8s. Police said both had financed the phones at their full retail value of $949 by creating fictitious AT&T accounts using the stolen identities of people outside Illinois. King and Bryant appeared before Judge Felice on a charge of felony identity theft for a bond hearing on Nov. 6. Bryant was released on a $20,000 I-bond; King was given a $25,000 I-bond. Felice admonished both that they had to show up for all of their court appearances or warrants would be issued for their arrests. Both are due back in court Nov. 21 in Bridgeview. In addition, the judge ordered that King report weekly by phone to pretrial services. She was also given an evening curfew. “She needs a little discipline in her life,” Felice said. [Source: Orland Park Patch]

Two women charged with Dollar Store theft scheme

In Kentucky, a Henderson County Dollar Store clerk is accused of giving markdowns to her friend when she was checking out merchandise at the store. The total amount of the alleged theft is $8,000. Henderson Police said an officer responded to the Dollar General, when the store’s district manager reported shortly after noon Nov. 7 that an employee, Samantha J. Echols, 22 of Corydon, had admitted to making markdowns on purchases made by her friend, Samantha Shofner, 20 of Henderson. Echols is also accused of pushing shopping carts of unpaid for merchandise out the back to her friend. HPD said Echols admitted to the thefts and was charged with theft by deception less than $10,000. Police say Shofner denied any knowledge of the thefts. She was charged Nov. 9 with theft by deception less than $10,000. Both women are being held in the Henderson County Detention Center. Neither woman is listed as an inmate in HCDC as of this publication.  [Source: SurfKy News

Fast-fashion giant exploring data breach

Forever 21 is investigating whether it has become the newest victim of a cyber-attack. The fast-fashion retailer learned from a third party that hackers may have gotten unauthorized access to payment card data at certain Forever 21 stores. Upon hearing the update, the retailer immediately launched an investigation of its payment card systems and engaged a leading security and forensics firm to assist. Forever 21 implemented encryption and tokenization solutions in 2015, a move that left only certain point-of-sale devices in some Forever 21 stores vulnerable when encryption support went offline. The company’s investigation is focused on card transactions that occurred in stores between March and October 2017. Since the investigation is ongoing, the retailer said it is too early to reveal specific details. However, Forever 21 expects to provide additional updates once specific stores and time frames are revealed, according to the company. “We regret that this incident occurred and apologize for any inconvenience,” the company said. “We will continue to work to address this matter.” The fast-fashion retailer also urged customers to closely monitor their payment card statements. If customers notice an unauthorized charge, they are encouraged to immediately notify the bank that issued the card, there retailer said. Based on payment card network rules, cardholders are typically not responsible for such charges. [Source: Chain Store Age]

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