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Breaking News in the Industry: March 22, 2019

Trio arrested for theft of $21,000 worth of alcohol

Three California women have been arrested, accused of stealing as much as $21,000 worth of alcohol from Arizona grocery stores. Scottsdale police report that on March 13, Sheryl Darlene Adkins, age 25, Loryn Adkins, 34 and Ronesha Marie Brown, 32, were arrested outside the Safeway store near Pima Road. Police say Brown was seen on surveillance video concealing six bottles of alcohol worth over $800.

When she was confronted outside the store by loss prevention associates, she reportedly dropped her purse containing the alcohol. Brown was recognized as the suspect in “multiple previous high dollar alcohol thefts” occurring in Maricopa County, police say.

According to court records, Safeway has reported seven incidents with a loss of over $21,000. Safeway added 30 extra loss prevention officers due to the loss. In the parking lot, police allegedly saw an SUV that had been linked to many of the thefts. When the SUV was searched, police reportedly found $10,000 worth of stolen alcohol.

Court records show that Loryn Adkins also participated in the thefts, while Sheryl Adkins served as a lookout. The three women are all from the San Diego area and have been charged with organized retail theft. Scottsdale police say they are working with Safeway and other grocery stores in other cities to compile more possible charges.       [Source: ABC15 Arizona]

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Coffee shop goes greener with compostible coffee cups

Starbucks is set to trial new, greener cup technology over the next year. Customers in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London will help test a few different cups that will be both recyclable and compostable. The coffee giant will choose the tech from NextGen Cup Challenge winners announced earlier this month, working with the NextGen Consortium. “It is with great intention that we move forward with highly collaborative and innovative work to bring both recyclable and compostable cups to scale around the world,” says Kevin Johnson, President and CEO, Starbucks. “We are re-imagining the future for Starbucks, and for the more than 30,000 communities we serve each day, with a great sense of responsibility for a more sustainable planet.   [Source: Retail Tech Innovation Hub]

Police nab shoplifter on a spree

A New Mexico man arrested in February after allegedly trying to steal a shopping cart of meat from a supermarket has been accused in a Santa Fe shoplifting spree involving eight previous thefts. Edgar Contreras-Lopez, 27, also is accused of shoplifting again after his release from custody following the February arrest. A criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court on Tuesday accuses Contreras-Lopez of eight counts of shoplifting, two of them felonies because the value of the merchandise exceeded $500. He also faces two counts of resisting an officer.

On Jan. 5, Contreras-Lopez allegedly grabbed several shirts valued at nearly $300 from Dillard’s at Santa Fe Place and fled in a car, according to the complaint. The license plate was tracked to him. In a Jan. 19 incident at the Fashion Outlets of Santa Fe mall, Contreras-Lopez allegedly fled police with a bag of merchandise worth more than $400 from the Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store. Four Fitbit fitness-tracking devices worth about $800 were taken from Target on Zafarano Drive on Jan. 29. Contreras-Lopez allegedly tried to sell them on Facebook. More electronics were stolen from the Target on Feb. 8 and Feb. 11. Contreras-Lopez also is accused of stealing several pairs of Nike sneakers from Famous Footwear on Zafarano Drive on Feb. 5, Feb. 10 and Feb. 20, according to the complaint. Contreras-Lopez was arrested Feb. 20 when staff at Sprouts on Zafarano Drive stopped him from allegedly trying to leave the store without paying for meat worth more than $300.

According to the complaint, during an interview with police after that arrest, Contreras-Lopez admitted to the other thefts at Dillard’s, Target, Famous Footwear and the Fashion Outlets of Santa Fe. Following that arrest, Contreras-Lopez was ordered released on an unsecured appearance bond of $2,500, according to court records. He was arrested in a new case about a week later.

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A criminal complaint filed March 4 charges Contreras-Lopez with shoplifting in a March 1 incident at Target. Store employees said they saw Contreras-Lopez taking items, and he allegedly threw the merchandise on the ground and ran when confronted, according to the complaint. An employee at the nearby Albertsons detained Contreras-Lopez until police arrived. Police searched him and found drugs and wire cutters — suspected of being used to cut security devices off the merchandise, according to the complaint. According to Santa Fe County jail records, Contreras-Lopez was again released from jail March 12. He has upcoming court dates of March 27 and April 3, court records show.   [Source: Santa Fe New Mexican]

Mobster sentenced for running ORC ring

A man known as an associate of the Rhode Island mafia was sent to prison this month for, once again, running an organized retail crime (ORC) network at the Decatur Social Club. Richard G. Tiberi, 76, and the social club that he operates on Federal Hill have been known for criminal activity for more than half a century. Tiberi, a former associate of the late capo Rudolph Sciarra, started building his criminal record in 1962, with arrests for bookmaking, keeper of gambling places, and receiving stolen goods and lottery slips, according to court records.

The Decatur has long been known as a meeting place for those affiliated with organized crime, according to state police. Tiberi and his older brother, the late Joseph Tiberi, have been investigated for crimes stemming from the Decatur since 1968. Together, Richard Tiberi and the Decatur have outlasted the careers of the state police investigators who’ve tried to shut them down. In writing his affidavit for a search warrant in this latest investigation, state police Detective Nicholas Rivello noted that he was familiar with Tiberi’s voice on the phone. He remembered the sound from the previous investigation into Tiberi’s ORC operation in August 2016.

This investigation began in December and found that the operation worked this way, according to Rivello’s affidavit. “Boosters” would shoplift from CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Stop & Shop, taking products that would be in high demand, such as razors, teeth whitening strips, Rogaine and medication sold over the counter. The “boosters” would bring the stolen goods to the Decatur during business hours or Tiberi’s home at 12 Woodbine St. in Johnston, and Tiberi would pay cash for the items, buying them at about a quarter of the value. Then, Tiberi could resell the items. While Tiberi had sold stolen goods on eBay before, the state police learned that he’d changed his habits and was now shipping merchandise out in bulk. Tiberi pleaded no contest on March 6 to receiving stolen goods and was sentenced to two years, with 93 days to serve. A felony charge of soliciting another to commit a crime and a misdemeanor conspiracy charge were dismissed in a plea agreement.   [Source: The Providence Journal]

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UPS sues 3 pot deliverers for trademark infringement

From the cannabis strain known as ‘Girl Scout Cookies’ to an entire cannabis company’s branding scheme, there aren’t many things more widespread in cannabis culture than silly parody names that all too often riff off of someone else’s trademark. When marijuana was universally illegal, there wasn’t much that a legitimate company could do to protect its brand identity, but now with legalization in many US states, brands are going after cannabis companies for trademark infringement over those silly parody names, logos, and advertisements.

Last year Hershey sued a few cannabis companies to keep its venerable brand away from pot shops that like to name their cannabis after candy. Last year Toys R Us got Detroit cannabis brand Buds R Us to change its name, ironically just before the venerable toy store brand went out of business itself. And the latest major American brand to assert its identity is the venerable international shipping business UPS, also known as the United Parcel Service.

UPS has sued three medical marijuana delivery services, United Pot Smokers, UPS420, and THCPlant, for misleading advertising and appropriating brand identifiers that copy the United Parcel Service’s trademarks, reports High Times. Filing their complaint in the Los Angeles District Court on February 13th, UPS alleged that the United Pot Smokers brand promoted itself with a logo that copied the signature UPS shield, and of course its name and the famous ‘UPS’ acronym.

The report also cites the websites and, which used language that UPS says could have confused them with the international shipping brand. Apparently, the United Pot Smokers site claimed to be a “nationwide logistics expeditor” and “operational courier.” A judge refused UPS’s request for a temporary restraining order, reports Marijuana Business Daily, until hearing the other side’s defense at a March 7 hearing. However, all of the copycat websites in question now appear to be defunct.   [Source: Pot Network]

Brookstone exits bankruptcy

A bankruptcy court judge approved the retailer’s reorganization plan, which includes selling Brookstone’s online and wholesales businesses and all intellectual property, to a partnership formed by private equity firm Bluestar Alliance and electronics manufacturer Apex Digital. The sale, worth about $65 million, saves about 30 of Brookstone’s airport shops, the company’s website, wholesale operations and about 300 jobs. Brookstone filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, listing assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.

The 45-year-old company closed its remaining 101 mall stores, but continued to operate its airport stores, e-commerce and wholesale businesses while it looked for a seller. The chain previously filed for bankruptcy in 2014, and was subsequently was sold at an auction to a group of Chinese buyers backed by retailing conglomerate Sanpower Group and Hong Kong-based private-equity firm Sailing Capital. Brookstone blamed deteriorating mall traffic, supply chain issues, technical problems and management turnover for its recent problems.   [Source: Chain Store Age]

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