Breaking News in the Industry: June 3, 2016

[Video] Police Arrest Pair in Macy’s Jewelry Counter Heist

We recently reported that police have arrested two people in connection to a theft at a Macy’s department store where suspects smashed a jewelry display with an ax and stole inventory valued at more than $150,000. David Weaver, 25, and Nicole Kight, 24, both of Indianapolis, were arrested in late May by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers after getting a pair of anonymous tips following the release of surveillance footage of the incident Weaver has been charged with felony theft and marijuana possession. Kight has been charged with marijuana possession. A Macy’s loss prevention investigator said the jewelry was worth more than $150,000, court documents said. [IndyStar]

Cargo Theft Now a Tougher Nut to Crack

The recent spate of nut thefts in California, along with a rise in cargo theft activity in and around the city of Dallas, TX, are but two indicators of new trends taking shape among freight thieves, according to industry experts. The first highlights the greater focus cargo thieves are placing on food and beverage freight shipments; a top target for theft since 2010, according to Scott Cornell, transportation business leader and crime/theft specialist for Travelers insurance. “Why target food and beverage? Because there are no serial numbers on pistachios, for example; there is no RFID tag attached to them or hidden in their packaging,” he explained to Fleet Owner. “There’s no tracing of almonds over the internet. There’s often not a high enough ‘trigger point’ in terms of value to meet some companies’ requirements for heightened security protocols,” Cornell added. “Also, the ‘evidence’ gets consumed and fairly quickly at that. You can find TVs and computers – they last for a long time. With food and beverage, though, there is a much shorter window for recovery.” [FleetOwner]

Best Buy LP Associate Breaks Up AmEx Fraud Ring

A West Hempstead, NY man and a Laurelton, NY woman were arrested for forgery in the third degree, illegal use of a credit card, unlawful completion or reproduction of credit card and criminal attempt to commit larceny in the fifth degree at the Best Buy in Trumbull,  CT, around 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 25. Police said Kareem Harris, 27, and Ty-Lyia Sims, 20, each tried to buy an iPhone inside the store using fake American Express credit cards. According to a report, a loss prevention employee at the store witnessed Sims enter the store and walk around aimlessly. He approached her and she said she was trying to locate the bathroom. When she returned to the store, she tried to buy a smartphone using an American Express card that didn’t go through. The report said that the employee, who was trained in credit card fraud, noticed that the four-digit pin wasn’t located in the right section on the card. The store’s loss prevention employee notified Trumbull police of the incident and watched her as she got into a car out in the parking lot that didn’t drive away. [Trumbull Times] 

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Woman “Addicted” to Shoplifting Gets 4 Years in Prison

A $600,000 jewelry theft in Colorado Springs led police to an unlikely culprit: a 67-year-old woman with an out-of-control shoplifting habit.  An El Paso County judge Wednesday sentenced Patricia Cruz Eck to four years in prison after a plea for leniency by her attorney, who said Eck’s longtime struggles with mental illness include a recent diagnosis of kleptomania.

“We’re used to people self-medicating with drinking and drugs, but not shoplifting,” attorney Patty Perello said. She successfully lobbied for the lightest prison sentence available for what she called the “confounding” case of a woman who is addicted to thieving. Prosecutors say Eck has five prior felony convictions – a criminal history so extensive she could have faced up to 48 years behind bars. [TheGazette]

How Walmart Is Fighting Retail Rivals in the “War for Talent”

Walmart is doing its best to defend itself against criticism that it produces low-skilled, low-wage jobs with little potential for advancement. In February, Walmart opened its first training academy to teach new employees critical retail skills such as putting out the right pricing displays and knowing which items are turning a profit and why. By the second quarter of 2017, Walmart says it will have 200 academies with dedicated teaching staffs and students commuting from nearby stores. The academies will occupy about 3,000 square feet outside of Walmart stores.

“There is a war for talent, we realize the retail environment is changing,” said a Walmart executive presenting to a group of reporters at an event for the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting on Wednesday. When asked by The Street if Walmart fears losing its newly-trained employees to competing retailers, the executive said the company believes such training investments can help it keep employees happy and stay because they gain confidence they’ll eventually be promoted.  [The Street] 

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