Get Our Email Newsletter

Breaking News in the Industry: April 5, 2019

Authorities break up $500,000 pet store ORC ring

A Pennsylvania man busted three years ago in Suffolk with an SUV full of stolen pet supplies confessed Thursday to leading an organized shoplifting ring.

The items they stole netted about $500,000 on the black market, according to court documents. Joseph Heim Jr., of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is set to be sentenced August 1 in US District Court in Norfolk.

Assistant US Attorney Randy Stoker declined to comment on the case, as did Heim’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Wilfredo Bonilla Jr. According to court documents, Heim was arrested May 6, 2016, outside a PetSmart in North Suffolk after an extended shoplifting spree that started a few days earlier in Pennsylvania. Among other places, his eight-person crew hit stores in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richmond, Williamsburg, Newport News, and Hampton.

The documents indicate Heim and a co-defendant, Timothy Erb, were running a pet supply business that got its inventory through theft. The men often took orders from their buyers before they stole anything, which Heim then worked to fill. State prosecutors said Heim and his crew entered the stores with large empty bags that they then filled with dog shirts, dog collars, pet grooming products and medications.   [Source: The Virginian-Pilot]

- Digital Partner -

Woman charged with ORC in ID and retail theft scheme over $100,000

Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against a Philadelphia County woman for organizing and orchestrating an identity and retail theft scheme valued at more than $100,000 that stole from stores across Southeast Pennsylvania. Myra Reddy, 54, of Philadelphia, was charged yesterday with corrupt organizations, theft by unlawful taking, retail theft, identity theft and other related charges.

An investigation revealed the scheme worked like this: Reddy, and others under her direction, stole merchandise from stores utilizing the “box stuffing” method. They would find an item for sale in a store that came in a large box and would remove the large item from inside the box and fill it with smaller, more expensive items from the store. Then they would go to check out, paying for the cheaper large item that used to be in the box. The thieves would later return the items that they had stuffed in the box, often using stolen identities to do so, and receive store credit that they would then sell at a discount to other members of the organization.

Reddy illegally used over 30 individuals’ identities, which she obtained through stolen ID cards, licenses and Social Security cards, in this criminal enterprise. She also used tax-exempt numbers from charitable organizations to avoid paying tax on the items she was “box stuffing.” Investigators found the defendant’s operation was responsible for over $100,000 worth of loss to Home Depots in Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia counties from December 2016-present.

“This defendant stole innocent people’s identities and ran a criminal enterprise that caused significant loss to local businesses,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “She was ready to stuff her pockets at the expense of businesses and consumers, but thanks to strong law enforcement collaboration between the Tredyffrin Township Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, Home Depot Loss Prevention and my Organized Crime Section, we were able to shut this organization down by arresting its leader. Schemes like this cause costs to rise for Pennsylvania consumers, and we’re committed to taking them down.”   [Source: Fox43 News]

LP Solutions

In one week, device thefts total $20,000

Berkeley, California, police have released photographs of three people investigators say are connected to the theft of more than $20,000 in merchandise from the Fourth Street Apple Store in the past week.They are asking for the community’s help to identify the individuals who are pictured. The thefts, at 1823 Fourth St., began last week Thursday and continued through Tuesday, police said in a Nixle alert.

The biggest loss took place Monday and involved a $15,000 theft. Tuesday, there was a $5,000 theft, police said. The other two incidents took place last week Thursday, March 28, and involved a $1,200 theft in one case and the theft of three laptops in the other, according to police. “From video surveillance cameras in the area, we believe these three suspects to be connected with the thefts,” police said in Thursday afternoon’s statement. They did not release any additional information as to how the thefts were carried out. Police asked anyone with information about the crimes to call BPD’s Property Crimes Unit at 510.981.5737.  (The images are hosted on the source website.)    [Source: Berkeleyside]

NRF warns closing the border would cause ‘serious damage’ to the economy

The retail trade association that represents department stores, grocers and wholesalers warned that closing the southern border with Mexico would hurt US retailers, consumers and workers. The National Retail Federation (NRF) sent a letter to members of the Trump administration about how retailers rely on Mexico for fruits, vegetables, electronics, appliances, auto parts and apparel, among other things. “We share the administration’s goal of fixing the nation’s broken immigration system and enhancing border security. However, there is no way to close the U.S-Mexico border without inflicting serious damage to the American economy,” NRF’s president and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter.

The letter was addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.   [Source: The Hill]

- Digital Partner -

Shoplifting duo arrested

Simi Valley police arrested a 20-year-old woman suspected of being part of a commercial shoplifting ring that targeted a local business, authorities said Wednesday. The shoplifting incident occurred in January at Macy’s, in Simi Town Center. The store lost more than $1,000 in clothing as a result of the shoplifting crew, authorities said. Police said they launched an investigation into the case and found two suspects were connected with the commercial shoplifting ring. One suspect, identified as Danielle Graham, 23, of Los Angeles, was arrested February 28 on suspicion of grand theft, conspiracy and organized retail theft, according to police.

The investigation continued and police said they identified the other suspect as Kelsee Kailee Williams, 20, of Los Angeles. Investigators also learned that Williams and Graham had taken instructions from family and friends as to which sizes and items to steal, police said. On Tuesday, Williams was found by police at a hotel in Bellflower and taken into custody. She was found with more than $5,000 worth of baby clothes stolen from an Old Navy in Cerritos, police said.Williams was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, grand theft and organized retail theft, police said. She was booked into county jail and her bail was set at $20,000. Investigation into the case is ongoing. Anyone with information for investigators can call Detective Josh Lorencz at 805.583.6224. [Source: Ventura County Star]

Felony shoplifter lost his shirt

A Wisconsin man who stole from Target on Monday was arrested Wednesday afternoon after trying to steal more merchandise worth $700, according to a press release. Madison police were called to the Target on Lien Road after 28-year-old Chase W. Strunk tried pushing more than $700 worth of merchandise out the door of the store, police said.

Asset protection team members recognized Strunk as the same person who stole $1,300 worth of electronics from their store Monday, according to the release. Strunk struggled with employees before pulling out of his sweatshirt and sprinting shirtless to a getaway vehicle, officials said. AP members were able to provide police with a good description of the vehicle, and the SUV was later pulled over by police. Strunk and the driver, 28-year-old Emily A. Derra, of Madison, were arrested. Strunk faces tentative charges of felony retail theft and a parole violation. Derra faces a tentative charge of party to the crime of felony retail theft.Source: Channel 3000 News]

Loss Prevention Magazine updates delivered to your inbox

Get the free daily newsletter read by thousands of loss prevention professionals, security, and retail management from the store level to the c-suite.

What's New

Digital Partners

Become a Digital Partner

Violence in the Workplace

Download this 34-page special report from Loss Prevention Magazine about types and frequency of violent incidents, impacts on employees and customers, effectiveness of tools and training, and much more.


View All | Sponsor a Webinar


View All | Submit a Whitepaper

LP Solutions

View All | Submit Your Content

Loss Prevention Media Logo

Stay up-to-date with our free email newsletter

The trusted newsletter for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management. Get the latest news, best practices, technology updates, management tips, career opportunities and more.

No, thank you.

View our privacy policy.