Breaking News in the Industry: September 13, 2017

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Vehicle strikes Good Samaritan during shoplift arrest

A getaway driver’s vehicle struck a 66-year-old Good Samaritan who was helping police take down a supermarket shoplifter, authorities said. Brooklawn, New Jersey, police described a chaotic scene that unfolded outside Brown’s ShopRite.Police said they responded to a shoplifting report and saw Anthony Marchione walk out of the store with stolen merchandise as a ShopRite loss prevention associate tried to detain him. Marchione pushed his way past the employee and ran toward a getaway vehicle in the parking lot, which prompted Brooklawn officers to chase him, police said. Police said Marchione was “brought to the ground” behind the vehicle. As an officer tried to detain him, a Good Samaritan ran over and offered his help. The driver of the getaway vehicle, Cornell Becton, disregarded repeated orders to stay at the scene, police said. Instead, he put the car in reverse, nearly collided with the officer, struck the good Samaritan and fled the scene, police said. The Good Samaritan fell to the ground but only suffered minor bruises and soreness, according to police, who did not disclose his name but said he is a Gloucester City resident. “Although he didn’t have to, he chose to assist an officer he felt was in need; and we cannot thank him enough for that,” the police department said in a Facebook post.

Becton was arrested later that evening when Cherry Hill police investigated a report of a disabled vehicle, which was the same one he used to flee police in Brooklawn, authorities said. The vehicle previously had been stolen from Camden, they said. Police charged Marchione with robbery, shoplifting, resisting arrest, possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a hypodermic needle. Becton was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, eluding, and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. Both men were held in Camden County Jail.  [Source: Courier-Post]

$32,000 worth of jewelry stolen from store at Connecticut mall

The theft occurred on Saturday, September 2 at around 4 p.m. An employee found an entire tray of gold bracelets, rings, charms and earrings was missing from a display case that was broken into, police said. Prior to finding the tray missing, two females and a male had entered the store and were captured on surveillance video. One of the females distracted a salesperson, while the other female and the male stayed near the display case. Surveillance video shows the male reaching around, breaking the locked door and reaching into the case to remove the tray, police said. The male then placed the tray into a large shopping bag that the second female was holding before the two left the store. The third female, who was distracting the salesperson, then left the store a few minutes later, police said. Anyone who recognizes the suspects or has any information about the incident is asked to contact the Trumbull Police Department directly at (203) 261-3665 or via the anonymous and confidential tip line located on the Trumbull Police Website.  [Source: Trumball-Monroe Daily Voice]

Retailers’ knife-point robberies result in guilty pleas

A Lower Allen Township, Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to two retail-store knife-point robberies. Eric A. Rivera, 23, entered guilty pleas in Cumberland County Court this morning to two counts of robbery. Senior Assistant District Attorney John Dailey told the court he would agree to a minimum sentence of 22 months in prison.  Dailey told Judge M.L. “Skip” Ebert that the first robbery occurred in April at the Dollar General in Lemonye. Rivera grabbed a few items from around the store, placed them on the counter, left for a moment and came back with a knife and grabbed the clerk. The clerk managed to get away and barricade herself in another room. Rivera tried to take money from the cash registered, but was unsuccessful, Dailey said, leading to him running away. The second robbery occurred on May 2 at the Boscov’s department store in Camp Hill. Dailey said when Rivera picked up some items from the store and approached the clerk. She opened the cash register and saw he had a knife. He tried to reach into the drawer before a struggle broke out and she called security. Rivera is scheduled for sentencing October 10.  [Source: SunSentinal]

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Second arrest in high-end counterfeiting case

A second suspect has been charged in the counterfeit merchandise case, Newport police said. Patricia A. Vecchione, 66, of Newport, Rhode Island, was charged Thursday with 21 counts of forgery / counterfeiting and altering trademarks in connection with merchandise sold at Heaven On Earth, Christie’s Landing. The crimes allegedly occurred on July 17, August 15, and August, 22 police said. She was booked Monday morning. Besides Louis Vuitton, the other alleged victims are Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Celene. Hermes, and Yves Saint Laurent. Among the merchandise confiscated, police seized a purple Michael Kors wristlet, and a blue Louis Vuitton wristlet/purse, priced at $950 each; purple and clear crystal earrings; blue and clear crystal earrings, and clear crystal earrings; and a Kate Spade wristlet/purse, priced at $1.050.[Source: Newport Patch]

Shoplifting rings targeting Northern California retailers

Groups of thieves targeting retailers drove a spike in shoplifting cases during the first six months of the year, crime statistics show. From January to June, there were 45 such incidents in Concord compared with just eight during the same period in 2016. The shoplifting rings have struck Pink, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s and JC Penney multiple times. “They’re organized, they come in as groups, they know what they’re looking for — it could either be perfume, cologne, high-end jackets,” police Chief Guy Swanger said during a recent presentation on crime data. “They make their theft, they get out; and they hit everywhere in the Bay Area.” Overall, grand theft cases, which involve taking property worth more than $950, increased from 59 to 133 this year compared with the first six months of 2016. Slightly more than a third of the cases were organized retail theft. While commercial and street robberies fell, the number of shoplifting incidents that escalated into robberies because the suspect tussled with loss prevention associates increased from six to 23, according to police.“It’s good to see that in many of the cases crime is going down,” said Councilman Ron Leone, who also passed along praise for the school resource officers. Returning to the issue of shoplifting, Mayor Laura Hoffmeister asked if Bay Area police chiefs have discussed grocery stores and other chain retailers’ approach to the crime. “The store says ‘don’t go after them, we’re not going to prosecute, we’re not going to do anything’ and it invites them back for a repeat performance,” she said. Swanger acknowledged that the situation is frustrating, but corporations, he said, are thinking about risk management rather than the effect on the community. Still, he said it’s worth reaching out to the companies since allowing the thefts to persist may discourage residents from shopping.  [Source: East Bay Times]

Credit card fraud repaid with stint behind bars

A Sharon Hill man pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of misdemeanor access device fraud for attempting to buy gift cards and other items with fraudulent credit cards at the Eddystone, Pennsylvania,  Walmart in June. Sankara Boureima, 42, of High Street, was sentenced to five to 23 months at the county prison with one year of consecutive probation, under the negotiated guilty plea worked out by Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Riley and defense counsel Ian Michener. Eddystone police responded to the store after receiving a call from loss prevention associate Raymond Trent on June 26. Trent informed the officers that he saw a man using a variety of credit cards to buy gift cards in the self-checkout line. The suspect had fled on foot with a $100 Walmart gift card by the time officers arrived, but left behind another $100 gift card he had purchased, three credit cards and a South Carolina driver’s license in the name of “Leonard Diaw,” and $45.94 in granola bars and soda.

Police reviewed video surveillance, which showed the suspect had arrived in a black Volkswagen sedan that was left in the parking lot when he made his escape. Trent called borough police a few hours later to report that the man had returned to his vehicle and left the store’s parking lot.
Salisbury soon saw a vehicle matching the description near Sellers Avenue and initiated a traffic stop. Trent was called to the scene and positively identified the driver as the same man who had made the fraudulent purchases at the Walmart. Salisbury also conducted a records check and discovered that Boureima’s driver’s license had been suspended. He was taken into custody and his vehicle was impounded. Police said Boureima had five fraudulent credit cards on him and another 14 were found in the car, along with multiple gift cards he purchased from other stores.
Boureima was initially charged with four counts of access device fraud, retail theft and driving with a suspended license. The remaining charges were withdrawn under the plea agreement.  [Source: Daily Times News]

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