Breaking News in the Industry: November 17, 2017

Shoplifter pulls knife when confronted by LP

Warwick Rhode Island Police Chief Col. Stephen McCartney reports Donald Morgan, 35, with no permanent address, arrested Friday by the Rhode Island Violent Fugitive Task Force for stealing a RI State Police cruiser, is the prime suspect in the shoplifting case. Warwick Police are seeking the public’s help identifying a man caught on video trying to leave the Macy’s at Warwick Mall with two Women’s NorthFace jackets, who pulled a knife on a loss prevention associate who tried to stop him. While in the store, Warwick Police report, the man selected two Women’s NorthFace jackets, went to the men’s section and stuffed them into his backpack. The man then made his way out of the store without paying for the jackets. The man was approached by a loss prevention associate, and the man pulled out a knife and threatened the employee, according to police.  The man left in a  newer model gray Nissan Sentra. Warwick Police asked on their Facebook page for the public to report any tips by IM or calling Det. Sgt Eric Falcofski at 401-468-4254.  [Source: Warwick Post]

Employee believed teen making threats at retailer “was going to shoot”

A Walmart loss prevention associate witnessed Jody Romero point what the associate believed to be a .22 caliber rifle toward at least three people during a shooting scare Monday night, newly released arrest records show. Eric Douglas, who works loss prevention at the Walmart, “believed that Mr. Romero was going to shoot the customers he was pointing the firearm at,” the affadavit says. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun. Romero, 19, faces three charges related to the incident – felony menacing, misdemeanor disorderly conduct and theft. He was detained Monday and posted bail for $2,000 Tuesday.  The arrest affadavit says Douglas saw Romero walking through the store with a rifle he believed to be a “possible .22 caliber or BB gun.” In the wake of the Nov. 1 Thorton Walmart slayings, Walmart staff implemented active shooter response, pushing customers out of the area near Romero, arrest records say. The store was placed under lockdown at that time. As staff herded dozens of customers to the back of the building, Douglas said he followed Romero as he headed to the northwest entrance, where Romero pointed the weapon toward three to five people standing in the entryway. At that moment, Douglas believed Romero would shoot. After the incident, Douglas identified the pellet gun as one taken from the store’s sporting good section. The affidavit says Douglas later found its packaging in the store and confirmed that Romero had not paid for the gun. Police took Romero into custody after he left the Walmart, entered the Chapel Hills Mall and went into the movie theater there, carrying the pellet gun the entire time, officers reported. [Source: The Gazette]

McDonald’s drive-thru-window becomes squeeze-thru for thief [Viral Video]

A McDonald’s drive-thru window became a squeeze-thru window for a woman who apparently needed a fast food fix. A surveillance video shows her worming her way inside, helping herself to a soft drink and making off with a box of items. The video , posted on the Twitter feed of Howard County Police in Columbia, Maryland, shows the break-in early on Nov. 5, when the restaurant was closed. The woman reaches through the window for a soda cup and tries unsuccessfully to fill it from the dispenser. She then manages to squeeze herself into the restaurant through the small window and gets a soft drink. The camera zooms in on her uncovered face. The woman puts a box of unidentified items through the window and leaves. She remains at large. [Source: DunyaNews]

Pair attempts to steal nearly $20K in merchandise from mall

Two Mexican citizens are facing multiple charges after police say they tried, and failed, to steal nearly $20,000 in merchandise from an upscale department store in Troy, Michigan. Officers with the Troy Police Department responded to the Somerset Collection, in Troy, to assist security guards in apprehending two suspected shoplifters at Saks Fifth Avenue. Troy Sergeant Meghan Lehman said one of the suspects used a pair of wire cutters to remove a cable that secured some designer handbags to a display rack, while the other acted as a lookout. “They appeared to be professionals,” Lehman said. “They knew what they were doing; they knew what they were looking for.” The pair — a man and a woman — then concealed the merchandise, worth $19,990, and began to walk toward the exit doors. At one point, Lehman said, the would-be thieves realized they were being watched and they dropped the handbags.

The suspects exited the business and began to run, police said, jumping into a Chevy SUV with the male suspect behind the while. Although police told the driver to stop, he kept going, striking an officer’s leg. Lehman said he was not injured. At that point the driver — identified as a 47-year-old man from Guadalajara, Mexico — did stop, got out of the vehicle and was arrested. Police said the female suspect — identified as a 25-year-old resident of Caroliona, Mexico — refused to obey officers’ commands and was removed from the vehicle and arrested without further incident. Police searched the SUV and found a pair of scissors and some wire cutters in the woman’s purse. The male suspect was charged by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office with Organized Retail Fraud, Organized Retail Fraud – Removal of  Anti-Theft Device, Malicious Destruction of Property, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Hinder and Obstruction of a Police Officer.  The female suspect was charged with Organized Retail Fraud, Organized Retail Fraud – Removal of Anti-Theft Device, and Possession of Burglary Tools. It’s unclear at this time if the suspects are in the US legally, although immigration officials are involved in the case.Lehman said Thursday that ICE has placed an immigration detainer on both subjects — which requires the police agency to contact ICE before releasing them from custody. [Source: CBS Detroit]

Former fire department employee accused of setting store on fire, stealing

Authorities in Palm Beach, Florida, say a former fire department employee, along with his wife and other accomplices, started a fire inside of a Walmart and stole several items during the chaos. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says 34-year-old Kenneth Gray is charged with arson and retail theft after being seen on surveillance walking around the area where the fire was started then leaving the store without paying for items in his cart. According to the arrest report, Gray is a former employee of the West Palm Beach Fire Department. He was fired from the department in January. Months later, he was arrested and charged with stealing equipment from the department’s ambulance trucks and selling the equipment to a pawnshop. Deputies say Gray and three other accomplices were at a Walmart on Oct. 26. Gray was seen on surveillance putting several items in a shopping car and placing it near the store’s main entrance.

Deputies say he then stopped to talk to a man, a person deputies say is an accomplice, before walking back to the area where the fire started. He is seen walking around the area, leaving, then returning. Moments later, the fire becomes visible as Gray leaves the area for a second time, according to the report.
While employees tried to put the fire out, Gray took the cart full of items and walked out of the store without paying for them, according to deputies. He is seen on camera talking to the same man again and a woman, later identified as Angela Alvin. Once Gray was outside, deputies say he stopped to talk to another woman, who deputies identified as his wife, Amanda. Deputies say she was driving a gold 2001 Lexus SUV around the parking lot and met Gray in a different location, where he put the stolen items in her car. Several days later, deputies say they received several tips to Crime Stoppers identifying the suspect as Gray. According to the sheriff’s office, the fire caused damages totaling over $41,000. Deputies say shoppers were inside the Walmart at the time of the fire, but no one was hurt. [Source: CBS12 News]

UCLA suspends 3 players after admitting to shoplifting in China

The three UCLA men’s basketball players who were entangled in an international incident in China that compelled President Trump to get involved admitted on Wednesday that they had shoplifted in Hangzhou. They were suspended from the team indefinitely. “They will have to earn their way back,” Coach Steve Alford said of LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill. The players, who returned to the United States on Tuesday after President Trump interceded with President Xi Jinping of China, apologized for their actions at a news conference. Ball, the highest-profile player involved, said: “I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the stores in China. I’m a young man, but it’s not an excuse for making a really stupid decision.” The team said the players had stolen from three stores, not just one as originally reported. Earlier Wednesday, President Trump tweeted about his intervention, saying: “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump?  They were headed for 10 years in jail!” [Source: The New York Times]

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