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Breaking News in the Industry: March 14, 2019

Video: Pickup truck used to commit drive-thru ATM theft

Prince George’s County police in Maryland have released surveillance video that shows alleged thieves using a pickup truck to smash into a Lanham 7-Eleven storefront in order to steal an ATM machine. Police , who responded to the scene around 1:45 a.m.,  say two suspects entered the store ahead of time and ordered people to “get down on the ground.”

The suspects then reportedly lay on top of the employees to protect them from the debris. A third suspect plowed into the storefront, and then all three pushed the ATM into the bed of the stolen vehicle. Around 9 a.m., police were called to a vacant lot in Landover where they found three stolen ATMs on fire.They say at least one ATM was stolen from the Lanham 7-Eleven. Police found the stolen pickup truck near the fire.   [Source: Fox5 News]

Shoplifter gets 6½ years for theft and credit card fraud

A Williamson County judge in Illinois sentenced a Creal Springs woman for retail theft. According to the Williamson County State’s Attorney, Dusty M. Bozarth, of Creal Springs  was sentenced to three and a half years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for retail theft and three years for unlawful use for a credit card.

The retail theft occurred on April 10, 2017, when Bozarth knowingly took merchandise from the Target store in Marion without paying for said items. The unlawful use of a credit card conviction stemmed from January 8, 2018, where Bozarth used a credit card that did not belong to her in attempt to purchase merchandise at the Dillard’s store in Marion.

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Bozarth has prior theft convictions in other counties, including a felony theft conviction out of Saline County where she served over two years in DOC. “I want to thank the Marion Police Department for another excellent job in their efforts to stop theft and fraudulent activity against our retail stores in Williamson County,” said Williamson County State’s Attorney Brandon Zanotti.   [Source: KVFS12]

A new approach to returns… accepting them at the front door

Walmart is taking a new approach to ease one of shoppers’ biggest pain points: the returns and refunds process. In the near future, employees called “customer hosts” will personally process shopper returns at the front door of brick-and-mortar stores. Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart US, briefly announced this new service during comments he made at the UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference on March 6. “You’re soon going to be able to do a refund right at the front door of the Walmart store,” said Foran. “We’re not going to ask you to go to the service desk.”

Foran said that the customer hosts will be equipped with technology to manage refunds, including providing customers with cash, at the front door. The cash will not come out of Walmart’s self-checkout terminals. Foran did not provide a specific timeline of when the retailer will begin processing refunds in this manner, or exactly how the technology will work. However, his commentary does provide more insight into what type of services Walmart wants its customer hosts to provide.

Walmart has been piloting the customer host position since 2016, as an evolution of its people greeter role. In addition to greeting shoppers and bidding them farewell, as people greeters have primarily done, customer hosts must also perform activities such as scanning receipts and checking shopping carts. The retailer also has previously indicated that handling customer refunds would be part of the customer host duties. Foran’s comments mark the first detailed public explanation of how customer hosts will manage refunds.   [Source: Chain Store Age]

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ORC ring busted by police

Police busted four people whom they say are part of a shoplifting ring that targets high-priced handbags at T.J. Maxx stores throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Police arrested Christopher Donnelly, 34, of Cumberland, Rhode Island; Maurice DeJean, 50, of The Bronx, New York; John Lee Perry, 35, of Orlando, Florida, and Tatiana Jones, 50, of Providence, Rhode Island, as they left the T.J. Maxx at Shoppers World Mall, prosecutor Amelia Singh said Wednesday during the group’s Framingham District Court arraignment.

T.J. Maxx loss prevention professionals recently contacted Framingham police for help, saying they were being targeted by what they believed to be an organized retail crime (ORC) ring. They said the group had gone to several T.J. Maxx stores and stole expensive purses and fled. In February, shoplifters took four $1,000 purses from the Framingham store.

Police ultimately arrested the four suspects and charged all of them with larceny by an ORC ring. Police additionally charged Donnelly and Perry with possession of a theft detection device remover. Police charged Jones with driving without a license. Donnelly and Jones also had several warrants for their arrest.

Singh asked Judge David Cunis to hold Jones, Perry and Donnelly on $10,000 bail each. She said all of them have long criminal records, and cited Jones’ and Donnelly’s warrants. Singh also asked Cunis to hold DeJean on $5,000 bail. Cunis adopted the prosecutor’s recommendation on bail, and also ordered all four to stay away from all T.J. Maxx stores, as well as its affiliates, HomeGoods and Marshalls. All four are due back in court on April 10 for a probable cause hearing.   [Source: Metro West Daily News]

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Shoplifters nabbed using magnets to defeat EAS tags

Shoplifters in an Illinois store thought they found a clever way to steal clothing from a Northwoods Mall department store. But security personnel were attracted to the two alleged thieves like a magnet.  A JCPenney loss prevention associate (LPA) called Peoria police to inform them she had detained two men in her office. She said the men had grabbed various articles of clothing and gone into the store’s fitting room. Later, the LPA observed the men exiting the fitting room without the clothes. When another JCP employee checked the fitting room, he found one shirt with multiple magnetic security tags attached to it, a police report stated. Missing were two shirts, two pairs of trousers and one pair of shorts.

The LP associate suspected the men removed the security tags from the clothes and donned them before they left the fitting room. She stopped one of the men in the parking lot, and a Northwoods security officer stopped the other. When police were summoned, the detained men still were wearing the purloined pieces.

Once the police officer arrived, the men told him they were stupid and had done something really stupid, the report stated. They doffed the stolen clothing, and the officer recovered a large magnet on the floor next to them. Apparently, the suspects used the magnet to remove the security tags. The shirt to which the tags were affixed was damaged beyond repair. The suspects were transported to the Peoria County Jail on charges of retail theft of $300 or less.   [Source: Journal Star]

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