Breaking News in the Industry: June 16, 2017

Shoplifting arrest leads to major weapons bust

The Broome County, New York,  District Attorney and local police agencies have announced details of a major weapons bust. Ramadan Abdullah, 64, is facing multiple felony weapon charges, and numerous weapons have been seized as a result. Broome County DA Steve Cornwell says on May 31st, Abdullah was arrested for shoplifting ammunition from Gander Mountain by Johnson City Police.

A search warrant was executed on Abdullah’s storage unit in the Town of Union as a result. Police recovered 4 loaded handguns; 8 assault weapons; 64 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices; 1 loaded shotgun; 2 rifles
-thousands of rounds of ammunition for rifles, pistols, and assault weapons, including 50 caliber armor piercing incendiary rounds, numerous firearm parts, and flak jackets. Cornwell says subsequent search warrants executed at other properties tied to the suspect resulted in the seizure of numerous rounds of 38 caliber ammunition
; high-capacity ammunition feeding devices and ammunition; as well an additional loaded firearm. Abdullah is currently in the Broome County Jail awaiting arraignment. Police say none of the weapons were registered or licensed to Abdullah, making them illegal. Police say more charges are expected. Anyone with information can contact police or the Broome County District Attorney’s office.  [For more: Binghamton Homepage]

Atlanta man suspected in million-dollar debit card fraud scheme

A 26-year-old Atlanta man has been arrested in connection with a debit card fraud scheme that involved a Tallahassee, Florida, Walmart cashier and could be linked to more than $1 million in losses. Michael Battle is being held in the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Jail in Georgia, awaiting extradition to Tallahassee, according to a statement from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.

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In January, detectives with the LCSO Financial Crimes Unit began an investigation into a fraudulent Green Dot card scheme involving a cashier at the Walmart. A Green Dot card is a reloadable prepaid Visa debit card. The cashier provided 56 Green Dot cards valued at $28,000 to two men, according to LCSO. After the two men left Walmart, they purchased money orders at various Tallahassee grocery stores and stores in Georgia. Battle was identified as either the payer or payee at various locations where the money orders were cashed. The LCSO Financial Crimes Unit, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies around the country, and Walmart Global Investigations, is attempting “to link Battle to a much larger nationwide scheme with a loss exceeding a million dollars.”  Battle was first arrested in Atlanta by the Augusta Police Department for a similar case. According to LCSO, the case remains under investigation and “criminal charges against additional suspects are possible.” Battle is being held on racketeering, money laundering, organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, bank fraud, and fraudulent use of a credit card charges.  [For more: Tallahassee Democrat]

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How a stolen big-rig cab, minus its trailer, tipped task force to driver’s plans

An operation initiated Tuesday by StanCATT took a bite out of cargo theft, a crime in which California led the nation last year. Officers and deputies with the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force, assisted by other agencies, arrested three men Tuesday on charges related to the theft of a big-rig tractor. StanCATT was in the area of West Main Street in Turlock when officers saw a 2012 Kenworth big rig that had been reported stolen to Oakdale police. Surveillance of the rig was maintained as the driver began to take it through the county. While watching the truck, StanCATT identified the driver as James Sass, 36, of Turlock, who was known to be wanted on a felony no-bail warrant for a prior auto-theft case. Officers in unmarked vehicles followed the rig and the pickup, a U-Haul from which all the decals were stripped, Banuelos said, to an industrial area where a lot of cargo theft has occurred. The vehicles also cruised the backs of stores at shopping centers, where trailers often sit by loading docks, the sergeant said. At one point, the license plate on the rig was swapped with one taken from another. When the rig and the pickup started to leave Jamestown toward Sonora, authorities decided to make an enforcement stop, Banuelos said.

The three men surrendered without incident, Banuelos said. “I think they were overwhelmed” when all the law enforcement tracking them became apparent, he said. “Once they reached State Route 108 and saw everybody waiting there for them, they made the right decision.” The Kenworth was returned to the owner at the scene. Cargo theft is a major problem in California, Banuelos said, and the CHP is in charge of the state’s Cargo Theft Interdiction Program, created in 1994 by Assembly Bill 813. The program’s primary team is based in Oakland because theft is common from ports and industrial areas, he said. For a time, the big target in the Northern San Joaquin Valley was loads of almonds, Banuelos said. These days, common thefts are of loads intended for stores like Walmart and Costco.  [For more: The Modesto Bee]

Video shows man injured in confrontation after shoplifting accusation

A 36-year-old Indiana man sustained head injuries on Monday and says he spent the night in an emergency room after he was accused of shoplifting and then restrained by security at the Martin’s Super Market. A video of part of the incident was recorded by a customer at the store and has been circulating on social media. It shows the man, Charles Elkins, bleeding from his head and shouting his mother’s phone number as he’s pinned to the ground by two men.
A private security contractor at the store told Mishawaka police that Elkins was spotted trying to shoplift two bottles of liquor and then ran when confronted. Elkins said in an interview that he spent Monday night in Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. “I was in there, and the people (at Martin’s) thought I stole a bottle of liquor,” he said. “I went to walk out and they jumped me; four or five jumped me, even though I didn’t do nothing.” Elkins said he remembers hitting his head on the concrete outside the store. The next thing he recalls is being in an ambulance. “I was knocked unconscious,” he said.

A 43-second video of the incident was taken by Hannah Bradley, a Martin’s customer who was going into the store at about 10 p.m. Monday and saw the group of men holding Elkins down. She went inside to complain to store officials about the treatment of Elkins. After that, she made a purchase, exited the store and saw Elkins was still being held on the ground. She then began recording the incident with her cell phone. “When I got out, he was still on the ground and bloody, and they would not let him get up,” she said. “That’s when I started recording, and they tried to block me.” According to the Mishawaka police report, a private contractor working security at Martin’s reportedly saw a man put two bottles of liquor into his pants and watched him walk past the last point of sale in the store. When approached, Elkins began yelling and ran from the store, where security and at least two others struggled with him before apprehending and handcuffing him. Private security officers are not granted any special authority under the law like police officers. “They are essentially treated as private citizens,” Wruble said. Indiana law does allow stores to detain shoplifters, but the detention must be reasonable. Stores can be liable for negligence if a security officer uses unreasonable force detaining someone, he said. “It’s definitively use of force,” Wruble said of what can be seen in the video, “but it’s whether it’s a reasonable use of force.”  If he was advising a company on its security, Wruble said, he would advise them not to get physical. [For more: South Bend Tribune]

FICO’s new fraud solution can detect compromised cards faster

FICO has announced the launch of FICO Card Compromise Manager, an anti-fraud solution that proactively detects and prioritizes compromised merchants and data breaches or theft involving card data. According to a press release publicizing the news, Card Compromise Manager detects card present, card not present and ATM fraud faster than the usual manual methods. For merchants, the new solution uses an organization’s FICO Falcon data and applies advanced analytics and graph analytics to detect compromises, allowing organizations to reduce credit card fraud losses, protect brand reputation, gain efficiencies and improve the customer experience. For consumers, Card Compromise Manager will instantly analyze an issuer’s entire card and credit score portfolio, using unsupervised analytics and adaptive behavioral analysis to assess all transactions for potential identity compromise. The quick analysis will enable consumers to take action faster in order to minimize losses from identity thieves.

“Payment card fraud continues to rise as criminals adopt new, more sophisticated technology,” said TJ Horan, vice president of product management for FICO’s fraud solutions. “Yet many card issuers are still using spreadsheets to determine the highest priorities for investigation. With Card Compromise Manager, issuers can apply analytics and automation to reduce the impact of fraud on their customers and their bottom line. The integration with Falcon creates the ideal platform for detecting any kind of fraud risk, faster.”  [For more: PYMNTS]

Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a deal valued at $13.7 billion


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