Breaking News in the Industry: August 18, 2016

11 in criminal ring may have stolen over 50 ATMs from retail stores

A criminal ring carefully planned and sometimes executed smash-and-grab thefts of ATMs that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said Wednesday. Eleven Cleveland men were indicted on racketeering and other charges related to thefts or attempted thefts of ATMs in five northeast Ohio counties since early 2015. The group could be responsible for more than 50 ATM thefts and that more arrests and charges are expected. Three men alleged to be the leaders of the ring were convicted in 2011 of breaking into a store and trying to steal an ATM, with two of the men serving prison time, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said.

The thefts became more sophisticated, with the ring targeting convenience and drug stores with ATMs near the front door, authorities said. They would use stolen cargo vans to smash through store entrances in reverse, detaching cash machines from their moorings. The ATMs would be loaded into the van and taken to locations in Cleveland where they were opened using pry bars, power tools and cutting torches, authorities said. Police found pieces of destroyed ATMs during a search Tuesday of an abandoned house on Cleveland’s east side.

The ring initially targeted closed businesses and then began hitting open stores in the early morning with workers and sometimes customers inside. “We were greatly worried that someone was going to get killed here,” McGinty said.

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Not all of the theft attempts succeeded. Authorities said members of the ring were scared off by police after smashing through the entrance of a Cleveland drug store in January. Another attempt was thwarted in July by an alert police officer in Mentor, about 20 miles east of Cleveland, who thought the presence of a cargo van in the area was suspicious and pulled it over. Occupants of the van were arrested. Police in Strongsville, about 20 miles south of Cleveland, arrested several members of the ring Aug. 8 after a 20-mile chase that began seconds after an ATM was stolen from a convenience store in that city. [Source: Associated Press]

 

LP Worldwide: Man accused of hijacking taxi to go shoplifting

Daryl Quigley allegedly stole a television set and then threatened to shoot the cab driver forced to wait for him while he went back to take the remote control. He was allegedly picked up at his home in Coleraine (Ireland) and taken to an Asda branch in the town. Prosecutors said Quigley emerged from the store carrying an unboxed TV and got back into the taxi. He then claimed to have a gun and threatened to shoot the driver if he didn’t return to the front of the supermarket and wait for him, it was alleged.

“The applicant got out of the taxi, went back into Asda and lifted the remote control for the television he had taken,” Mrs McKay claimed. On his return to the car, according to the prosecution, Quigley instructed the driver to take him to an address in the James Street area of the town. But with the driver’s controller alerted to the situation, police were said to be waiting at that location. Officers recovered the stolen television, along with two other sets believed to have been taken from Asda previously.

Quigley faces charges of hijacking, theft and threats to kill. Quigley was released from custody earlier this year, but was detained again following a separate alleged incident involving a threat to kill earlier this month. Madam Justice McBride decided he could be bailed again due to delay in the case and his wife’s current pregnant condition. She told the accused: “This gives you an opportunity hopefully to parent your child in the future.” However, the judge also directed: “You are not to enter any Asda store.

Madam Justice McBride also prohibited him from using the taxi firm involved. [Source: Belfast Telegraph]

 

Cyber security basics: 4 best practices for stopping the insider threat

The insider threat, simply meaning a threat that comes from within an organization, is a growing concern for cyber security practitioners. Unlike with external threats such as hackers or the latest malware, organizations can not simply buy a shiny new antivirus or firewall product and rest assured that they have it covered. This is because the insider threat can follow any number of patterns. There are both malicious and inadvertent insider threat actors in abundance.

1. Data protection. One solution is establishing controls over the organization’s confidential data, so that it cannot leave the organization without a good reason. Adaptive threat redaction automatically seeks out and blocks sensitive information at whichever point it is exiting the corporate network. Another effective way of building an approach around enterprise data is to encrypt data when it is travelling around the network, which will protect not just against cyber-attacks but also physical attacks on the network.

2. People. While the malicious insider threats are very determined to get what they want, non-malicious insiders endanger data by making a mistake. This can be due to working on personal devices or using consumer apps without having been provided with the correct tools to work safely, or simply due to not knowing that what they are doing is risky. Employers should also provide training in cyber security “hygiene”, including lessons in how to recognize phishing emails.

3. Device protection. Enterprise mobility is another factor in creating cyber risk. Having begun with employees bringing their consumer devices into their working lives for more convenient and satisfying ways of working, the fact that employees will use smartphones and tablets in the workplace is now almost universally accepted. If employers would rather employees brought in their own devices, then some sort of mobile device management solution is necessary. An organization might also choose to issue devices to the workforce, giving them greater control over the security policies in place, but also over the quality of security on the devices themselves.

4. Network monitoring. Establishing controls and visibility over the corporate network is another effective way of stopping malicious threat actors. Detecting a threat requires security teams to proactively identify when a host behaves abnormally or in a way that could expose data or assets. There is a need to track the flow of data within a network to proactively identify the acquisition, staging, and stealing of data, regardless of whether it’s driven by an insider or an outsider. Using automated tools to analyze traffic and monitor for unusual behavior can help IT departments zone in on which employees constitute a risk to the organization.
[Source: Computer Business Review]

 

Wig company employee charged with stealing nearly $1 million

The longtime employee of a wig manufacturer is accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the company. James Rhee pleaded not guilty in Cook County court to charges that he diverted $962,000 from his former employer, Chade Fashions, into accounts he controlled.

Prosecutors said Rhee made a series of unauthorized transfers into five accounts while working as controller at Illinois-based Chade. Rhee was not charged until recently because it took time to gather the financial records needed to build a case against him, prosecutors said. He is charged with theft of more than $500,000 and controlling a financial crimes enterprise.

Prosecutors said the alleged thefts were discovered after another employee noticed accounting irregularities. Prosecutors also said Rhee wrote a letter in Korean to the company’s owner apologizing for the alleged thefts. Rhee has been ordered to surrender his passport and any firearms in his possession, and he must submit to electronic home monitoring if he is released from jail on bond.

Chade’s website says the company uses products made from synthetic and human hair that is imported from several Asian countries and “all over the world.” They are one of the national leaders in the distribution of woman’s hair apparel, wigs, hairpieces, hair extensions, and children’s barrettes. The company markets and promotes hair apparel among thousands of retail stores. [Source: Chicago Tribune]

 

Sex offender gets 70 years in federal prison for retail, child porn, drug scheme

Following up on a previous story, a convicted sex offender was sentenced to 70 years in federal prison for running a multi-state operation that dealt in retail theft, child pornography, giving drugs to children and witness tampering, the FBI said. Bradley Prucha was convicted in federal court in Iowa, where he had gone to pursue his ex-wife and fight for custody of his son.

According to the Florida sex offender registry, in 2002, Prucha was convicted for lewd or lascivious battery of a child younger than 16. He was also convicted of a retail theft scheme involving the use of counterfeit UPC bar code stickers, investigators said. He was released from Florida prison in 2013, the FBI said.

Within a week of relocating to Iowa, Prucha restarted his bar code switching scheme, recruiting his new landlord to help, investigators said. Prucha worked his scheme by printing out the counterfeit UPC stickers and putting them on merchandise so items would ring up at a lower price, the FBI said. He would then return the items for their full price or sell them online at “a significant profit.”

After recruiting a 15-year-old girl and several of her friends, he would hit stores along the way. “He provided the girls with the prescription drug Xanax and paid them to have sex with him,” an FBI release said. “On several occasions, he filmed sexually explicit videos of himself with the minors. “He also threatened them with violence when one girl learned about the videos – taken without her knowledge – and said she was going to call police.”

“For the most part, these were vulnerable teenage girls who didn’t have stable home lives. Prucha was able to recruit them by taking them on trips and buying them gifts and pretending to care about them when no one else in their lives did.”

In 2015, at a Barnes & Noble store in Chicago, Prucha’s adult accomplice was arrested trying to make a fraudulent purchase. By that time, the theft ring had stolen so much merchandise from the chain that store security officers were on the lookout. The FBI was contacted, and the accomplice agreed to cooperate with authorities. She secretly recorded dozens of conversations in which Prucha detailed his criminal activity, including the sexual exploitation of the teenagers. [Source: Fox News]

 

Wearable technology – hype or hope?

Wearable technology has a way to go before it becomes mainstream, but perhaps not as far as some observers think. According to a new study of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, retailers looking to open a wearable commerce channel need to change some widely held consumer perceptions. For example, 63% of respondents said they would be deterred from purchasing a wearable device because it is too expensive. And 61% of respondents who would buy a wearable for health and fitness reasons said they are too old for the technology. Slightly more than half (52%) of respondents said they don’t know enough about wearables or understand how they work. About one in three (32%) have concerns about fraud and/or privacy.

However, in terms of how wearable devices look and feel, consumers are fairly receptive to the emerging technology form. Only 8% of respondents said wearable devices are unattractive or they don’t like how they look. Thirty-five percent said people who use wearables are nerdy, but “cool nerdy,” which presumably is positive. Of particular interest to retailers, 27% of respondents said “I used to hate shopping, but now with my wearable I love it.” Fifteen percent said they look forward to expanding their use of the technology. [Source: Retailing Today]

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