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Breaking News in the Industry: March 12, 2019

VIDEO: Burglar uses power tools to steal $10,000 in cash, causes $7,000 in damage

Police in Houston, TX, are looking for a masked burglar who is accused of breaking through multiple locks at a southwest convenience store and stealing thousands of dollars in cash. The manager of Stop N’ In convenience store, Taimur Khan, said surveillance video showed sparks flying through the air as the burglar used a handheld cutting device to get inside of the store.

“He cuts through everything … the metal shutters, the door, the locks,” Khan said. “The whole process literally took three minutes.” The surveillance video inside of the store showed the burglar split the locks off of four gaming machines. In all, the manager said the thief got away with $10,000 in cash and caused close to $7,000 in damage.

Houston police said the suspect got away in a black Toyota Camry. Khan said he believes the person had been in the store before and that he had cased the locks and entrances. He also thinks he wasn’t alone. “These two guys came in the store that night. They spent a good three or four hours in the store,” Khan said.

Houston police said there are no leads in the case, but encourage anyone with information to contact the Burglary and Theft division or Crime Stoppers. Khan said he wants whoever did this to be caught so it doesn’t happen again. “I don’t feel safe in my business at all,” he said. (The video is hosted on the source website.)   [Source: Click2Houston]

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Parking lot fight gets robbery charge for shoplifter

A Connecticut woman who fled the Southington TJ Maxx store with several purses and then fought with store loss prevention associates in the parking lot earlier this winter has been charged, a warrant states. Crystal Blake, 35, of Terryville, was arrested on March 9, for the Jan. 16 incident, police said. Blake is accused of entering the TJ Maxx store on Queen St. and stealing five hand bags and some jewelry items that carried a retail value of $183.95, police said. For that, she was charged with sixth-degree larceny.

She had left store without paying for the items and TJ Maxx LP associates confronted her outside, according to a warrant. As they attempted to retrieve the stolen items, a struggle broke out and Blake was able to get away in a minivan. The fight landed her with a third-degree robbery charge, according to the warrant. Blake was held over the weekend on a a $5,000 bond and was to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Monday, police said.   [Source: Southington Patch]

Could Barry Manilow be Canada’s next crime fighter?

In an effort to combat ongoing crime issues in the downtown core, city council is considering a number of options, including surveillance cameras, security guards and even Barry Manilow music. “I know one community that had problems with vandalism and spray painting, and they came up with a unique idea,” said Ward 4 Coun. Ron Bodner. “They put speakers all around and started playing Barry Manilow records, and all the kids left. The stores were happy, the customers liked the music. I don’t want to diminish the discussion, because we do have a serious problem here, but it’s a thought.”

Mayor Bill Steele of Port Colborne said the idea is not as strange as it sounds. “We used to have a local businessperson who would play classical music outside his strip mall,” said Steele. “It sounds funny, but there was no loitering over there either. And it’s a pretty inexpensive solution.” Expenses are at the heart of the city’s crime reduction strategy, as council grapples with the debate over how much money it should be throwing at the problem, how much of that onus should be on local businesses, and what role the police play in the whole puzzle.   [Source: Niagara This Week]

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Shoplifting $42.76 gets him  almost 2 months in jail… because of court’s boo-boo

A Minnesota man arrested for shoplifting $42.76 in merchandise from the Walmart in St. Paul wound up spending nearly two months in the Ramsey County jail after he was supposed to be released without posting bail. It was the result of a Ramsey County District Court clerk not updating a court record, according to an arbitrator’s decision filed last month.

Because of this “clerical error,” the man “lost his liberty for almost two months,” arbitrator Joseph Daly wrote in his decision for the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services. “This is egregious and serious.” Daly upheld the written reprimand that the Judicial Branch gave clerk Jami Stennett. But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 5, said they have “repeatedly pointed out the absence of a fail-safe system,” according to Daly’s summary of the union’s position.   [Source: Twin Cities Pioneer Press]

Shoplifter ODs after swallowing meth to hide it from cops

Sunday afternoon, Kennewick, Washington police responded to an alleged shoplifting at Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on 4th in Kennewick, only to find the suspect was apparently carrying drugs. 30-year-old Dennis Odom, in an obvious effort to ‘hide’ his meth, swallowed it to avoid detection by police.

However, it quickly began to cause him extreme distress, and he was given a shot of Narcan by police to counter the effects. He was then rushed to Trios Southridge ER, treated and then sent to the Benton County jail. Police did not say how much he swallowed, but he’s facing multiple charges besides the shoplifting-including a DOC (Department of Corrections) escape warrant, resisting arrest, false reporting, and another outstanding felony warrant.   [Source: NewsTalk 870]

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Homeland Security Global Trade Task Force seizes $1M in fake product

In an effort to mitigate vulnerabilities within the commerce stream that threaten the nation’s consumers and to protect national security, Homeland Security officials recently launched its Global Trade Task Force (GTTF), a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)-led multi-agency effort that leverages robust import and export controls and investigative authorities to combat illicit commercial activities. Authorities announced results from a recent task force effort Monday at Detroit’s Fort Street Cargo Facility.

HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis called the task force a vital next step in the battle against threats to the commerce stream and national security. He said the HSI Detroit task force could serve as a national model for related investigations across the agency and beyond.

The new task force combines the investigative, interdiction, regulatory, and licensing capabilities from a variety of agencies, including HSI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, and the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

To kick off the GTTF, HSI Detroit partnered with CBP and other agencies in a week-long enforcement effort at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Port Huron Blue Water Bridge Ports of Entry. The action targeted merchandise and shipments entering and exiting the United States from foreign countries at the FedEx, DHL, rail, and the centralized examination station. During the weeklong surge, HSI and CBP seized more than $1,000,0000 MSRP in counterfeit goods and counterfeit prescription drugs, which included, counterfeit Xanax pills and Botox, counterfeit Transceiver Network Modules, counterfeit e-cigarettes, and counterfeit Rolexes and iPhone, among other items.   [Source:]

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