You Can’t Make This Stuff Up – August 2017

A collection of odd and whacky news stories that caught the Loss Prevention Media staff's attention

Assault rifle-carrying NC woman allegedly robs phone store after not getting her cellphone [Video]

Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, are still searching for a woman who brazenly bore an assault rifle as she robbed a Sprint store reportedly in response to never having received her cellphone in the mail. The irate assailant did nothing to hide her identity, let alone a highly conspicuous tattoo on her right shoulder blade, when she strolled into the retail outlet on Monday at approximately 7:25 p.m. and allegedly demanded devices from a clerk, according to reports.  She then took off in a dark blue Mazda. The entire incident played out in less than two minutes. According to the Fayetteville Police Department, she had visited the store Sunday, when she angrily confronted workers about a cellphone that hadn’t been shipped to her. Authorities posted photos of the robbery on Twitter and Facebook Thursday morning in the hopes that someone will help identify the gun-toting gadget grabber.  [Source: Daily News]

Escort wasn’t the ‘brains’ behind spending of $5.8 million with exec’s credit card, her lawyer says

The former escort under investigation for allegedly using $5.8 million from a suburban company to fund a lavish lifestyle with the help of a client-turned-boyfriend is upset at his attempts to portray her as “the brains behind this operation,” the woman’s lawyer said Friday. The Tribune this week reported that the woman, Crystal Lundberg, and Scott Kennedy, a onetime executive who has been fired from the firm, are the focus of a federal probe into their use of his former employer’s funds. A court filing lays out the pair’s wild spending, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel and luxury goods, and about $24,000 for movers to haul Lundberg’s potted plants from Illinois to her new 6,500-square-foot mansion in San Diego, where she planned to open a spa with company cash. Kennedy, 43, worked as a top financial official at Nemera, a drug-delivery device company in Buffalo Grove, when he met Lundberg, 31, through Backpage.com, a site that advertises sexual services. Kennedy first gave Lundberg access to a company credit card in November 2015 after she asked for help buying Christmas gifts for her daughters, an FBI affidavit alleged. Kennedy this week told the Tribune he was “stupid” and shouldn’t have trusted Lundberg, but her California-based attorney, Marc Carlos, fired back Friday, telling the newspaper that Kennedy is responsible for the fraud. He knew what she was. He knew what her past was. Then he’s the one who wanted to get in her good graces by giving her gifts,” Carlos said. “He’s the one who has … the means, the method, the opportunity and the motive to commit a crime. She doesn’t.” Lundberg is not a “financial genius,” did not go to college and lacks the sophistication to commit a crime like this, Carlos said. “He needs to do something to lessen his liability, and by saying he’s a victim of the, whatever it is, psycho-sexual control this woman has over him is his only out,” Carlos said. “It’s the only way he’s going to be able to reduce his criminal liability, but it’s ridiculous.”

The allegations were detailed in an FBI warrant to seize $36,229 from the checking account of the spa business Lundberg was starting in San Diego. Among the credit charges allegedly run up mostly by Lundberg were plastic surgery during a stay in Miami; two Rolex watches at a cost of a combined $60,000; a personal driver for her daughters at a cost of $8,000 a month; a $2,500-a-month maid; two purebred dogs that cost as much as $6,000; and trips to Bali, France, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Santorini, Bora Bora and Fiji. Rent on the mansion was $12,000 a month, the court filing said. An analysis by Nemera found more than 8,800 improper charges to the company credit card between November 2015 and mid-March 2017. The company found the spending spree totals included $970,734 on travel; $606,887 on clothing and accessories; $552,662 on home decor and improvement; and $279,231 on jewelry, among other line items.  [Source: Chicago Tribune]

Teen was writing a fraud to-do list when the cops came. Now he’ll be doing time

When police executed a search warrant at Phyllistone Termine’s North Miami-Dade home in 2016, he was listening to tunes and doing a fraudster’s to-do list that included buying other people’s credit card numbers and security codes. Termine, 19, was sentenced last week to 4 1/2 years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and access device fraud The scam involved converting the modern tax return scam to unemployment benefits — amassing names and Social Security numbers and getting benefits in multiple fraudulent filings, Termine admitted in court documents. Using more than 1,000 names and numbers, the teenager falsely collected more than $1 million in benefits from March 2015 through May 2016

Unemployment benefits are distributed by the state, but it’s federal government money, which put the Department of Labor on the case. Termine made those filings from two internet addresses linked to his home. When cops burst into Termine’s home with a search warrant on May 20, 2016, they found him in his bedroom, listening to music and writing what appeared to be a summer to-do list on a legal pad. The list included the tasks “Buy Online, Merrick BNK & CCVs” and “Buy 3 phones, 1 clean 2 dirty’s.” The first phrase means buying Merrick Bank credit card numbers and the security code on the back from sites on the “dark web. Next to Termine on his bed: three cellphones and laptop. Hidden between the mattress and box spring: debit and credit cards that didn’t belong to Termine or anybody who lived with Termine. Also, there were blank white plastic cards with magnetic strips. Termine also had equipment to encode the magnetic strip on a credit or debit card. [Source: Bradenton Herald]

Tattoo leads to charges in Martin County credit card case [Video]

The tattoo of a sun on a man’s shoulder shed the light needed for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office to close the case on a stolen credit card. Tammy Davila, 54, of Jensen Beach, was accused of stealing the credit card from a man who hired her as a house cleaner. She was charged July 21 with burglary, fraud and petty theft.  Investigators said she also let someone else use the credit card, but they couldn’t initially identify him. They circulated surveillance photos at the Sheriff’s Office of the man wearing a tank top with a large tattoo on his shoulder who was buying beer and pet food. A deputy who saw the photo recognized him as Todd Anthony Glover, 47, of Jensen Beach.  In his interview with the Sheriff’s Office, Glover said he didn’t know the card was stolen. He was charged Monday with fraudulent use of a credit card. He posted $2,500 bail at the Martin County Jail. Davila remained at the jail Saturday in lieu of $22,750 bail. .  [Source: TCpalm]

Gold lunar module stolen from Neil Armstrong museum in Ohio

Ohio police say a rare gold replica of the lunar space module has been stolen from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. Police in Wapakoneta,  responded to a museum alarm late Friday night and discovered the 5-inch (12.7-centimeter) high, solid-gold replica had been stolen. Replicas of the lunar excursion module produced by Cartier were presented to Neil Armstrong and his two fellow astronauts, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, in Paris shortly after their historic space mission. Armstrong, a Wapakoneta native, became the first person to step onto the moon’s surface in 1969. Police say the value of the replica cannot be determined.  The FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation are assisting Wapakoneta police in investigating the theft. [Source: Yakima Herald]

Woman calls 911 with boa constrictor wrapped around her neck

A woman shocked 911 operators in Ohio when she called in to report she had a a 5-foot-long snake wrapped around her neck. “I have a boa constrictor stuck to my face,” the Sheffield Lake woman said on the call, according to reports. She added the snake had latched onto her nose and she was unable to pry the mouth open. On the call, the dispatcher can be heard saying, “I’ve never heard of this before.” The woman, whose name has not been released, was keeping the boa constrictor as a pet. She told the 911 operator she had “rescued” the snake the day before and that she also had nine ball pythons. When responders arrived, she was lying in her driveway with blood around her. She was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to reports. Firefighters said they had to cut off the snake’s head to detach the reptile from her face.  “Because of how close it was wrapped around her, there were no other options, from what I understand,” Sheffield Lake Fire Lieutenant Wes Mariner told reporters.  [Source: Huffington Post]

Security company’s employee stole $100K on first day at work, police say

How not to make a good impression on the first day at a new job? Steal from your new employer. Fairfield Police said a business named Garda reported one of its employees was captured on surveillance video stealing $100,000 in cash. The employee was identified as Larry Brooks, 19, of Elizabeth, who had just been hired. Before police were called, Garda staff found nearly $86,000 in Brooks’ car parked in Elizabeth. Brooks was charged with a second-degree theft. He was released on his own recognizance and the matter will be forwarded to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution. According to its website, Garda is a security company that offers armored truck transport, cash vault services, and ATM services..  [Source: NJ1015 News]
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