Breaking News in the Industry: September 5, 2017

Stun gun used to rob lingerie store

A different kind of panty raid unfolded Tuesday at the Victoria’s Secret at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo, California, one that involved a stun gun and ended in four arrests. Police received calls from people reporting that the premium lingerie store had just been robbed, said Sgt. Amanda Von Glahn of the San Mateo Police Department. One of the four suspects was armed with a stun gun and pointed it at a clerk, Von Glahn said. The suspects made off with $3,000 worth of merchandise, but officers quickly located their getaway vehicle thanks to descriptions provided by witnesses, Von Glahn said. The driver refused to pull over and sped away southbound on Highway 101, Von Glahn said. San Mateo officers gave chase and were joined by officers from the California Highway Patrol, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Redwood City Police Department. The pursuit ended in Redwood City when the suspects collided with another vehicle, causing minor damage, Von Glahn said. No injuries were reported.

Officers arrested 20-year-old Berkeley resident Garnel Mays, 18-year-old Oakland resident Diamond Dansby and 18-year-old Union City resident Antonique Watkins. A 15-year-old Oakland girl also was arrested, but police did not release her name because she is a minor. Mays was booked on charges of evading police, child abuse, conspiracy and driving without a license; Dansby on charges of child abuse, grand theft and conspiracy; and Watkins on charges of robbery, child abuse, brandishing and unlawful discharge of a stun gun. The 15-year-old was booked into juvenile hall on charges of robbery and grand theft. All of the allegedly stolen merchandise was recovered. Von Glahn said there has been an uptick in grab-and-run thefts from retail stores like Victoria’s Secret. However, Tuesday’s episode was unusual because it involved a stun gun. “It’s not a weapon we see very often,” she said.  [Source: The Mercury News]

Man allegedly steals $10K worth of baby formula to fuel heroin addiction [Video]

Chandler Arizona police are releasing video of the man caught in the act stealing baby formula.  Security cameras were watching as police say 39-year-old Robert Illa and an underage accomplice allegedly walk into the grocery store and head straight to the baby aisle, and nearly wipe the shelf clean. They conceal their stash in white trash cans, before making a run for the door.  Police say the heist is pulled 24 times at various Fry’s grocery stores from Chandler to Surprise, starting in July of 2016. In all, he got away with nearly $10,000 worth of merchandise. But now he’s facing the consequences. Illa was arrested earlier this month.

Organized retail crime investigator Darin Fredrickson says it was only matter of time before someone like him caught up to Illa. “90 percent of the boosters out there, most of them are addicted to some type of drug,” said Fredrickson. In this case, Illa admitted he was reselling the formula to fund his heroin addiction. According to Fredrickson, consumers wind up being the victims. “We all pay about $460 per person per year to cover theft such as this,” he said. He adds, parents who buy re-sold formula could also be putting their infants at risk.  “There’s no quality control and the heat affects these products, and once an unsuspecting buyer buys it, feeds it to their children, they don’t know how this product was stored, maintained, so there’s risks there, there’s health risks,” said Fredrickson.  Illa has been charged with 11 felony counts of organized retail theft and is being held on a $2,000 bond. [Source: AZfamily News]

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Tampa man sentenced to three years for role in stolen identity refund fraud scheme

US District Judge Mary S. Sciven yesterday sentenced Weldon Malveau to three years in federal prison for theft of government property. The Court also ordered him to forfeit a 2010 Porsche Panamera, which is traceable to proceeds of the offense. As part of his sentence, the Court entered a money judgment in the amount of $342,563, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Malveau pleaded guilty on February 7, 2017.

According to court documents, between January 2011 and March 2012, Malveau was involved in a scheme to file false and fraudulent income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in order to generate large refunds that were deposited onto debit cards. When law enforcement officers arrested Malveau in March 2012, he had 26 debit cards in his possession, in the names of different individuals, along with ledgers containing names and social security numbers. The investigation revealed that the IRS had received fraudulent tax returns and had issued refunds in the names of many of those individuals, totaling $342,563, which was traced back to Malveau. This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam M. Saltzman.  [Source: Department of Justice]

Kentucky man bit loss prevention officer during shoplifting attempt

A man is facing a robbery charge following a shoplifting incident in Lexington, Kentucky. Police arrested Shawntay Mills Sunday. It happened at the Kroger on Euclid Avenue, according to police. When loss prevention officers were investigating another complaint, they noticed meat in Mills’ waistband and the bottom of his pant leg, according to his arrest warrant. When loss prevention officers told Mills to stop, Mills said he had a gun, the warrant read. He then took a piece of meat from his pants and punched a loss prevention officer, according to the warrant. The warrant also indicates Mills bit a loss prevention officer on the leg.   [Source: WKYT News]

Four men arrested for using fake credit cards

An alleged ploy by four Illinois men to buy cigarettes with fake credit cards went up in smoke Thursday in Kearney. Renard Carter, 29, Antonio Hill, 26, and Chad Jennings, 19, all of Chicago, and Willie Brown Jr., 24, of Forest Park, Ill., are each charged in Buffalo County Court with felony possession of a financial transaction device on Aug. 31. They’re accused of purchasing 65 cartons of cigarettes and alcohol with fake credit cards. The men were arrested after a report of suspicious activity at a north Kearney convenience store. Court records say three men had tried to purchase cigarettes and alcohol with several different credit cards, several which were denied. One credit card was accepted, and the purchase was completed.

Kearney Police Department officers contacted the men inside a vehicle in a north Kearney parking lot and searched their vehicle where they located the cigarettes. Several cartons were packed in a black duffel bag, but the majority of the cigarettes were inside a gas station bag. Alcohol, drug paraphernalia and a credit card receipt from a gas station in Lincoln also were found in the vehicle. Records say three credit cards had Jennings’ name on them and were from various banks. All of the cards had the same customer service number on the back, and when police called the company listed on the card, they were told none of the 52 cards were from the bank. Police obtained a search warrant for a Kearney hotel room where several more cartons of cigarettes and fraudulent credit cards were found. In all, 146 cartons of cigarettes were recovered from the vehicle and hotel room. The items were valued at an estimated $8,760. Judge John Rademacher set bond for each man at 10 percent of $25,000, which means they must post $2,500 to be freed. They are scheduled to appear in court in September.  [Source: Kearney Hub]

Alleged serial shoplifter nabbed

Authorities arrested a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, woman five times over roughly a month-long span for allegedly shoplifting more than $4,500 from the same grocery store chain. Lisa R. Watson faces eight counts of retail theft and four counts of receiving stolen property in connection to a mini crime spree in Northampton and Lehigh Counties. District Judge Jacob Hammond arraigned the 47-year-old over the weekend on two sets of shoplifting charges stemming from alleged thefts at Wegmans in Allentown. She was arraigned Wednesday on three sets of charges stemming from thefts from the Wegmans in Hanover Township, Northampton County. Watson is being held in Lehigh County Jail after failing to post a collective $55,000 bail. Allentown police issued an arrest warrant for Watson on July 23 after she was spotted on video surveillance hiding merchandise in a purple bag and leaving the store, according to court records. She hopped into a car and drove away without paying, police said. Wegmans estimated she stole about $328 worth of merchandise.

Allentown police returned to Wegmans Sunday afternoon after store security allegedly caught Watson trying to steal nearly $1,200 worth of merchandise. She allegedly admitted to loss prevention associates that she steals the merchandise and pawns it. Loss prevention told Allentown police that Watson had multiple arrest warrants for shoplifting from other Wegmans locations. LP at the Hanover Township Wegmans reported to Colonial Regional police that Watson on July 30 allegedly stole four thermometers worth nearly $195. She allegedly returned on Aug. 6 and stole another $1,742 worth of merchandise, according to court records. Investigators allege Watson re-appeared at the Hanover Township Wegmans on Aug. 10 and was caught on video surveillance stealing several boxes of Rogaine and more electronic thermometers. She allegedly walked out with nearly $471 worth of merchandise. Authorities said Watson wasn’t finished at the Hanover Township location, returning on Aug. 13 with an unidentified accomplice. Together, they allegedly swiped skincare products, 10 packages of Rogaine and nine packages of replacement razors. Wegmans reports that the haul totaled $846.  [Source: WFMZ69 News]

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