Breaking News in the Industry: July 8, 2016

Millions in High-End Watches, Jewelry Stolen from California Stores in ORC Ring

Authorities are investigating a series of high-end watch and jewelry store robberies that are part of a crime ring in which the suspects have struck nearly a dozen stores in the Southland. The robberies occurred twice in Canoga Park and once in Century City, Mission Viejo, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks, West Hollywood, Torrance, Malibu and Santa Monica. Authorities said millions of dollars worth of jewelry and watches were stolen from each location. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of one of nine suspects connected to the ring. Four of the nine suspects in the ring were arrested and charged June 16. Six of the suspects are believed to be the planners and organizers of the robberies, while three are suspected of participating in one or more of the robberies. Anyone with more information was asked to call the ATF tip line at (800) 283-4867 or 911. [ABC7]

Mom Recognizes Son as Drug Store Robber; He Turns Himself In

Authorities say a 27-year-old man turned himself in to Fort Lauderdale police after his mother recognized him in surveillance video circulated by detectives who were looking for a suspect in a string of drug store robberies. A police report says Keith Fitzgerald Knowles Jr. told investigators his mother showed him the video footage of the robberies and he admitted that it was indeed him.

Knowles was booked into jail on Sunday and remained in jail Thursday with bond set at $45,100. He’s charged with robbery, theft and battery on a person over 65. Investigators had released the videos showing a series of robberies at Walgreens stores across Broward County in June in hopes of tracking down the suspect. [WTXL]

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Group of Cubans Running Massive Credit Card Fraud Ring Had Base in NY

In January 2015, state and federal law enforcement raided a house at 3618 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road, Batavia, and by appearances, it looked like a bust on a marijuana growing operation. Agents at the scene that day declined to share information and a spokesperson for Homeland Security said that the fact that there were sealed indictments in the case prevented her from providing even a general overview of what investigators hoped to uncover.

It turns out, state and federal investigators weren’t looking for marijuana — though they had a pretty good idea they would find a pot-growing operation — they were looking for evidence in a massive credit card fraud ring involving a group of Cuban nationals from Tampa, Fla., who set up shop in Batavia and Lockport.   [The Batavian]

Local Man Loses $25K in Apple iTunes Card Fraud

An iTunes gift card scam that left one area man bilked of more than $25,000 prompted Asheville police to serve a search warrant on Apple in search of records about the case. According to a search warrant returned Wednesday, a man went to the Asheville Police Department saying that he responded to an email from a company calling itself Key Components Swiss Trade.

Under the agreement, the man bought iTunes gift cards for the company, and an official there told him after a two-week probationary period, he would be issued a company credit card. The man bought the gift cards, and told police he at first made small purchases, concerned about being reimbursed. The first few receipts were reimbursed by the company, according to the warrant. A company official told the victim he would be instructed to mail in the gift cards at a later date, but a Key Components official requested photocopies of the items, particularly the identification numbers as proof of purchase. The man complied.  Typically, gift cards can be used online with identification numbers, and the physical card is not required to complete a purchase. [Citizen-Times]

Wendy’s Reveals Source Behind Breach — And It Was a Familiar One

The Wendy’s Co. is offering an update on a cyberattack it first reported in February 2016, and it contains some decidedly unsurprising details. Wendy’s believes the breach resulted from third-party service providers’ remote access credentials being compromised. This allowed access, and the ability to deploy malware, to some franchisees’ point-of-sale systems. To date, Wendy’s said there has been no indication that any Company-operated restaurants were impacted.

Working with third-party forensic experts, federal law enforcement and payment card industry contacts as part of its ongoing investigation, the retailer has determined that specific payment card information was targeted by an additional malware variant reported in June. This information included cardholder name, credit or debit card number, expiration date, cardholder verification value, and service code. Media reports of unusual payment card activity related to Wendy’s customers first surfaced in January 2016, with the retailer officially confirming it in February 2016. Subsequently, on June 9, 2016, the company reported that an additional malware variant had been identified and disabled.

The company worked with investigators to disable the malware involved in the first attack earlier this year. Soon after detecting the malware variant involved in the latest attack, Wendy’s said it identified a method of disabling it and thereafter disabled it in all franchisee restaurants where it was discovered. The investigation has confirmed that criminals used malware believed to have been effectively deployed on some Wendy’s franchisee systems starting in late fall 2015. Wendy’s is now offering customers who may have been affected information on how to protect their credit, as well as one year of complimentary fraud consultation and identity restoration services. [Chain Store Age]


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