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Breaking News in the Industry: April 1, 2019

LP associate stabbed during tussle with shoplifters

Police in Durham, North Carolina, are searching for two women in connection with a stabbing that took place at The Streets at Southpoint on Sunday afternoon.

Durham police said a loss prevention associate was stabbed during a confrontation with two women who had been accused of shoplifting at Macy’s about 4:30 p.m. Police said the women fled in a four-door sedan.

The LP associate was taken to an area hospital for treatment of serious, not life-threatening, injuries. Anyone with information is asked to call the Durham police, or Crime Stoppers at 919.683.1200.   [Source: WRAL News]

- Digital Partner -

Employee busted in sting operation

A San Antonio retail store employee was arrested Thursday after he bought several stolen cell phones from an undercover officer, police said. Falgun Patel, 33, was charged with organized retail theft, jail records showed.

Police received information that “a business known as Bags N More was purchasing stolen cell phones,” according to Patel’s arrest affidavit. In March, police sent an undercover detective to sell reportedly stolen phones. The detective would sell the phones to Patel for half of its retail value, according to the arrest affidavit.

“We conducted multiple transactions on different dates selling (Patel) and another male cell phones and tablets purported to them as stolen,” police wrote in the affidavit. Patel would even make requests for specific models that would make the undercover detective more money, according to the affidavit. He would then sell the stolen phones for a profit. The second man who is mentioned in the affidavit was not identified. Patel’s bail was set at $5,000.   [Source: mySA]

Discount retailer adding 145 new stores

Five Below will end 2019 with nearly 900 stores nationwide after the addition of the stores, according to a corporate statement. Net sales at Five Below increased 19.4 percent to $602.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, equivalent of 23.2 percent increase when excluding the 53rd week in 2017.

For the full year, net sales excluding the 53rd week of 2017 increased 23.5 percent in 2018, according to the statement. The company expects net sales to reach as high as $1.885 billion in 2019 because of the planned stores and an estimated 3 percent increase in comparable sales.   [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution]

LP Solutions

Fast food melee video

A fight broke out early Saturday morning at the Atlantic City, New Jersey, McDonald’s during which four or five employee were hit with pepper spray, the restaurant’s owner confirmed. Four teenage girls entered the restaurant about midnight, Anthony Mack said, and attacked one of his employees. “They came in and, simply put, they attacked her,” Mack said. “Just walked right behind the counter. How bold can you be? They walked right behind the counter and attacked her.”

A video posted to YouTube, which contains profane language, shows a woman in a white tank top climb the counter at the fast-food restaurant and pepper spray a security officer who enters through a side door to attempt to break up the crowd. People also are shown throwing straws and cupholders. Several people run when it’s announced the police are on their way. Mack is still in the process of trying to piece together what happened from speaking to police and his employees. “In all my years of business, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Mack said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”   [Source: Press of Atlantic City]

ORC scam costs stores $54K; 3 arrested

Police in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts say three Newton residents ran an organized retail crime (ORC) scam that cost TJX Cos. stores more than $54,000. Sudbury police have charged Dimitriy L. Marinov, 34; Marina Karbina, 48; and Vladamir Karabin, 49, with two counts of larceny of property worth less than $250 and participating in an ORC scheme. Karbina was additionally charged with a third count of larceny of property worth less than $250 and one count of larceny of more than $250. All three have been summoned to appear in Framingham District Court to be arraigned on May 17.

According to a Sudbury police report filed in Framingham District Court, TJX corporate loss prevention professionals met with Sudbury police detectives on December 7. “They told us they were currently investigating an organized retail fraud,” police wrote in the report. According to the report, a group of people, including Marinov, Karbina and Karabin, would buy high-end items at a T.J. Maxx in Newton and use the receipt to return similar-looking – but far less expensive – items to other affiliated stores. Loss prevention associates said the group cost the company more than $54,000, police wrote in the report.    [Source: MetroWest Daily News]

- Digital Partner -

Legislature wants to make it easier for retailers to fight theft

Bartell Drugs CEO Kathi Lentzsch earlier in the week it got people’s attention. “It’s startling how Seattle has changed,” Lentzsch said. Shoplifting cases are overwhelming, but more concerning to Lentzsch are the violent assaults against her employees in Seattle. It’s led her to make a dramatic decision not to open any more branches in the downtown core. “It’s very sad that a pillar in Seattle will have to make a statement like that,” Rep. Dan Griffey said.

Griffey says after hearing the story of Bartell Drugs on Q13 News, he is doubling down on his efforts to help retailers hold criminals accountable. “It identifies a larger problem in Washington state that we are ignoring property crime,” Griffey said. Griffey wants to amend the definition of theft to include concealment, so that police officers or loss prevention employees can stop a person inside a store rather than having to wait for them to exit the store with items hidden in their clothes or purse. The initiative has bipartisan support.

“Right now there is a sort of grey area of whether they can intervene or not we want to make it clear that they can,” Rep. Roger Goodman said. Goodman says those who intend to steal will conceal and brazenly know they can get away with it. Griffey believes HB 1159 would allow retailers in most cases to recoup their items and enable them to give perpetrators trespassing notices and a warning not to enter their store again. Griffey says retail theft amounts to nearly $400 million annually in Washington state.   [Source: Q13 Fox News]

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