Breaking News in the Industry: March 18, 2019

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Ten arrested in joint operation

Ten suspects were arrested in a recent series of operations along Aurora Avenue, the Seattle Police Department announced Friday. Police said they learned that shoplifters were committing misdemeanor and felony-level thefts at Home Depot and Lowe’s “on a nearly daily basis. Plain clothes officers, working with store loss prevention associates, on Thursday arrested 10 different suspects, including one man who attempted to flee and was later arrested for theft, eluding, obstruction, and DUI,” Seattle police said in a blotter post.

Police booked the 38-year-old man who attempted to flee into King County Jail and returned to the stores to continue the operation. “Police arrested nine more people on charges ranging from theft to outstanding warrants for drug charges,” Seattle police said. Detectives are expected to work with the Prosecutor’s Office as the cases move forward.   [Source: KIRO7 News]

Suspected ORC ring organizer arrested

East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s (EBRSO) Detectives have arrested a man they believe organized a retail crime ring. The man is suspected of paying multiple people to commit retail thefts at area businesses in Baton Rouge and possibly other areas. Paul Haynes Jr. is charged with Organized Retail Crime, Money Laundering, Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds and Computer Fraud. Haynes is believed to have been involved with numerous retail thefts from August 2018 until March 2019 in which he hired individuals to commit thefts from local retailers including Home Depot and Lowe’s and then sold the stolen items on Amazon.

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The group targeted items such as chainsaws and high-end vacuum cleaners. Detectives’ investigation revealed that Haynes deposited approximately $150,000 into his bank account from Amazon between July 2018 and January 2019. EBRSO Detectives, with the assistance of WBRSO, obtained and executed a search warrant  for Haynes’ storage shed in Baton Rouge and one of his residences in Brusly, Louisiana. Detectives are still in the process of inventorying the recovered items.   [Source: BR Proud]

Grocery delivery robots expanding

Kroger’s autonomous delivery pilot will enter its next phase this spring when the grocer transfers its collaboration with tech firm Nuro to Houston, according to a news release. The grocer will offer delivery from two stores, reaching customers across four zip codes in the metropolitan market. This compares to the single zip code served by Kroger and Nuro’s phase-one pilot in Scottsdale, Arizona, which launched last summer.

As with the Scottsdale pilot, Nuro’s self-driving Toyota Prius vehicles, which have a human operator in the passenger’s seat, will lead delivery at first. Nuro’s fully automated R1 vehicles will enter the pilot later this year. Deliveries will be available to shoppers for same-day and next-day orders seven days a week for a $5.95 fee.    [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]

ORC ring in 9 states targeting department store

Delaware State Police are looking for a Philadelphia woman wanted in connection with an alleged nine-state shoplifting ring targeting Nordstrom department stores. Kimberly Akisha Lingham-Bailey, 37, is one of three suspects involved in the theft ring that has hit Nordstrom stores in Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia, police said.

Warrants for Lingham-Bailey’s arrest on file in Delaware charge her with felony shoplifting and conspiracy stemming from $4,119 in thefts at Nordstrom in Newark, Del., in January and February, police said. Her last known address was not disclosed and no public record of it was immediately available Saturday. Anyone with information regarding Lingham-Bailey’s whereabouts should call Delaware State Police at 302.633.3821, or contact Delaware Crime Stoppers online or by calling 800.TIP.3333.   [Source: Philly.com]

Shoplifter bites LP associate’s arm, scratches his eye

A Macy’s store loss prevention associate was injured when a shoplifting suspect fought him outside Hilldale Mall in Madison, Wisconsin, police said. The LP associate saw 17-year-old Tiambra I. Walker, of Dodgeville, and two other women stuffing bags with more than $1,100 worth of merchandise and then leaving the store without paying, according to a release.

When the LP associate stopped Walker with the bags, she said, “You can’t touch me and if you touch me I’ll mace you,” officials said. When the LPA tried to detain Walker, she bit him on the arm and scratched him in the eye. The other women tried to interfere, which prompted other employees to come to the security officer’s aid, according to the release. Walker was arrested on a tentative charge of battery and felony retail theft. The other two women left before officers arrived.   [Source: Channel 3000]

Sporting goods retailer removes hunting rifles from 125 stores

Shares of DICK’S Sporting Goods beat Wall Street expectations on its top and bottom lines in its 2018 Q4 earnings report on Tuesday, but shares sank more than 10% on a decline in same-store-sales and disappointing guidance for 2019. And DICK’S is ditching two key categories in 2019: hunting and Reebok

Last year, DICK’S removed hunting items from 10 stores where it unde-rperformed. After the removal, those stores generated positive comp sales in Q4. Following this success,” DICK’S CEO Ed Stack said on the Q4 earnings call, “we will remove Hunt from approximately 125 additional DICK’S stores in 2019 where the category under-performs.” DICK’S defines the hunting category as rifles and ammunition, plus “accessories associated with firearms, hunting apparel, anything associated with hunting,”

DICK’S president Lauren Hobart clarified later on the call. “It would not include kayaks and other outdoor activities like that.” DICK’S entered the national political conversation one year ago when it stopped selling assault-style rifles in all 35 of its Field & Stream stores following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It also immediately raised the minimum age to 21 for anyone buying guns in its stores. DICK’S has seen same-store-sales declines since then, and some have blamed that on politics, but DICK’S stock is up 10% since that move, and up 12% in 2019 so far.   [Source: Yahoo! Finance]

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