Breaking News in the Industry: September 12, 2017

Orlando police gas out looters who were loading guns

Orlando PD has announced that they have all suspects in custody from the incident where looters were loading stolen firearms at Academy Sports in Orlando. The police department has released a statement that said the Orlando PD received a call about the burglary in progress at Academy Sports. The suspects could be seen on video loading stolen firearms that they appeared to be trying to loot just before Hurricane Irma hit. One of the suspects surrendered and was taken into custody within 10 minutes, but the other suspect refused to surrender. After an almost 3-hour long SWAT standoff, with the second suspect refusing to give up, SWAT deployed gas and were able to take the second suspect into custody. All suspects are now in custody and there is no more danger to any life or property. No other looting incidents have been reported in the Orlando area. Orlando PD tweeted that they want people to know that reports of looting aren’t true.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Academy Sports incident wasn’t “looters” it was “burglars” who were simply burglarizing a place during what would be business hours, if the place wasn’t closed due to a hurricane. And there wasn’t a “standoff” with SWAT, police were just “on scene” for three hours before they had to deploy gas to arrest the last armed suspect. They blamed an “Orlando television reporter” for “incorrectly” suggesting that there was a “standoff.” Because apparently, an armed barricaded subject holding off police for three hours isn’t a “standoff.”
The reporter that they are blaming is apparently WFTV reporter Karla Ray, who reported: “#BREAKING- law enforcement source says SWAT standoff underway at Orange Co Academy Sports store as someone inside tries to loot GUNS. #wftv” Over one dozen looters have been arrested in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale after looting shoes at Foot Locker stores.  [Source: BlueLivesMatter]

Suspect arrested for crash & smash burglary during state of emergency

A Florida man rode out Hurricane Irma from behind bars after police say he broke into a clothing store in the middle of the night by driving a stolen truck through the front glass. Jonathan Smalls, 31, was arrested by Temple Terrace police who say he drove his vehicle into the DTLR Clothing Store in a stolen truck and stole a large quantity of clothing. Temple Terrace police found the vehicle described in the hit-and-run crash and attempted a traffic stop, however Smalls refused to stop. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed the truck into a street sign on 40th Street near Seward Street, then took off on foot from the accident scene before police arrested him. In addition to the clothing from DTLR, police also discovered in the back of the truck shoes they say were stolen from Shoe Mountain located in Tampa. Smalls has been charged with burglary of a business structure during a State of Emergency, grand theft during a State of Emergency, fleeing and attempting to elude police and resisting an officer without violence.  [Source: Temple Terrace Patch]

Floridians say online retailers let them down ahead of Hurricane Irma

Maya Kogul was in California when Hurricane Irma began twirling toward Florida. She knew stores would run out of key supplies before she got back to her downtown Miami home earlier this week, so she placed an order for three cases of water through a Nestle water delivery company. She waited and waited, but the order didn’t come. More than 50 Floridians told The Associated Press that they did not receive flashlights, battery-operated radios, boxed milk, water bottles and first-aid kits after placing orders on and Nestle’s ReadyRefresh. Amazon spokeswoman Amanda Ip said that deliveries were experiencing delays because of the weather conditions. ReadyRefresh posted an apology Friday on Twitter for service disruptions and delivery delays. “It was frustrating having to run around last minute,” said Kogul, a 31-year-old mother of a 2-year-old girl. “By delivery date it was already evacuation time. By the time I realized I wasn’t getting the delivery, it was almost Thursday evening. I didn’t know they were not going to come.” Several customers said that online retailers let them down at the worst possible moment and even before weather deteriorated. They said on Saturday that they received cancellation notifications only after evacuations had begun in their neighborhoods and markets’ shelves had emptied. Some had placed orders as early as Monday. Others said their packages had arrived in Miami but were either stuck at a sorting facility for a few days or delayed because of problems with couriers.

The office of Florida’s attorney general was not able to identify whether package delays were widespread. The office said it has received more than 8,000 complaints about alleged price gouging ahead of the storm. Loyal Amazon customers say they understand the large volume of orders placed this week may have made deliveries impossible, especially as millions were told to evacuate their neighborhood and likely abandon work commitments. But Christine Huyn, a 38-year-old fitness instructor, said the companies should have been upfront. She ordered a portable air conditioner from Amazon for a room where she will be hunkering with her two children. “I lost my chance because they guaranteed it would be here. They gave us a false sense of security,” she said. What she remembers the most from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 as a child is how hot it was, and the fact her family had no electricity for weeks. “I really was crying when they told me it wouldn’t be here, because I was thinking of my kids,” she said. “The heat is going to be horrendous.”  [Source: SunSentinal]

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Two charged in theft; police chase

A 22-year-old Chicago woman and her companion became the object of a police chase after a retail theft call at Kmart. Edgar Perez, 19, of Chicago, the passenger, was charged with retail theft. He is due in court Oct. 2. The driver, Mariah Malave, 22, of Chicago was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude police, and operating a motor vehicle without valid insurance. She is due in court Sept. 21. Police were dispatched at 5:37 p.m. for a retail theft at Kmart. The officer was told by dispatch that the offenders were attempting to flee, traveling east, in a black Nissan Cube. The vehicle was refusing to stop and continued to perform evasive maneuvers by quickly turning into alleys before coming to a stop facing south in an alley police said. Thirty items were recovered, with a value of $282.95. They included two packages of diapers and three baseball hats. Malave told police that after getting her eyebrows done at Harlem Irving Plaza, she and the man had gone to Kmart. She said when she picked him up in her vehicle by the north end, she did not see him with any merchandise and then left the area, police said. She knew she was being pursued by police when she saw the emergency lights, police said, and she thought she had gone only a couple of blocks before pulling over. [Source: Chicago Tribune]

Thief pulled gun on Dollar General employee, flees

A man allegedly stole merchandise from the Dollar General in Redding, Montana,  and pulled a handgun on the employee who gave chase. “I said, ‘Just give the phone back, give it back,” said Aspen Schjoth, 21, who said she was not hurt when the robber allegedly pulled a gun on her. “I ran back into the store.”  Redding police converged on the store at about 12:40 p.m. after staff reported a man had robbed it armed with a black semi-automatic handgun, Redding police Sgt. Chris Smyrnos said. He declined to identify the store clerk because the investigation is ongoing.  The robber, described as a blond, white man, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, in his 30s, was last seen northbound from the store at Lake Boulevard and Keswick Dam Road, he said. He was wearing a blue jacket and plaid pants.  Staff told police the man was acting suspiciously and trying to steal merchandise when he was confronted by staff, Smyrnos said.  The robber did not fire the gun and no suspects are in custody, he said. No employees were injured, he said. He didn’t have specifics on what type of handgun was used.  [Source: Record Searchlight]

Russian lawmaker’s son accused of stealing personal information in $50 million online scam

The son of a Russian lawmaker accused of stealing credit card data and other personal information has pleaded guilty in two criminal cases stemming from a probe into a $50 million online identity theft scheme, the US Justice Department said. Roman Seleznev, 33, the son of Russian parliament member Valery Seleznev, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering scheme, and another count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The charges were filed in federal courts in Nevada and Georgia, and the plea deal for both cases was finalized on Thursday. In April, Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison by a federal court in Washington for his role in a cyber assault involving hacking into point of sale computers to steal credit card numbers. He was arrested in the Maldives and brought to the United States to face charges. The Russian government has previously criticized the arrest, calling it an unlawful kidnapping.

Seleznev’s attorney, Igor Litvak, said his client accepts responsibility for his role in the two cyber cases settled on Thursday, but that he intends to appeal his conviction stemming from the third separate Washington case. “We still feel the way he was brought to the US was illegal,” Litvak told Reuters. “He was basically kidnapped.” The Nevada and Georgia cases involved a credit card fraud ring known as “,” an Internet-based network used by criminals who trafficked stolen credit card data. In pleading guilty, Seleznev admitted he got involved with the ring in January 2009 and sold compromised credit card data to others on the network. He also admitted to serving as a “casher” by working with other hackers to defraud an Atlanta company that helped process credit and debit card transactions. That scheme ultimately let the hackers steal 45.5 million debit card numbers and withdraw $9.4 million from ATMs in 280 cities.  [Source: FirstPost]

Amazon grows its Transparency program to fight counterfeits

Amazon is extending its anti-counterfeiting Transparency program to third-party retailers on its platform, according to three sources that sell as third-party sellers on the site. The program was launched in March as a test for Amazon’s own products and labels. It’s now open to everyone that sells products through Marketplace, Amazon’s third-party sales platform, and some speculate that it may end up being mandatory for retailers to sign on. Transparency provides customers with details about where a product comes from, including manufacturing date, location and other details like materials and ingredients. Every item that has a Transparency label, a stylized blue T, has a unique code that can be scanned with the Amazon app to reveal the product information. The way it works is roughly like a serialization or UPC code. The brand buys the codes from Amazon and puts a unique code on every unit it creates for sale on Marketplace. All the codes are serialized; Amazon will not accept items without codes. Amazon is telling sellers that don’t have codes on products right now that they have to add the codes soon or risk their products being eliminated from Amazon.

One of the brands signing on to Transparency is Corkcicle, a maker of high-end water bottles. Eric Miller, partner at the company, which sells as a third-party seller to Amazon, said that his company has had people making knock-offs of his product, so he likes the idea of the program.
“Amazon wants to get out of the concept that they’re just a mass retailer,” said Michael Levine, VP of marketing at retail agency Photon. “The problem they’ve had in the past is legitimacy. Essentially, coming out with their own UPC code means guaranteeing authenticity.” That, said Levine, can open the door to the coveted luxury segment — a segment Amazon has been struggling to woo as luxury brands worry not just about the low-end “storefronts” Amazon could provide but also about counterfeit sellers diluting brands’ value. Even for a company like Corkcicle that isn’t on the level of a Louis Vuitton, Transparency is nice to have, even if it’s not game changing, Miller said. “It’s a nice comfort level.”  [Source: DigiDay]



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