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Breaking News in the Industry: March 26, 2019

Mom, son, 3 others busted in $10M jewelry scheme

Five people have been charged in connection with an Atlanta burglary in which thieves made off with jewelry worth as much as $10 million, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Burglars may have made off with the jewelry from Icebox Diamonds & Watches in Atlanta in February after tying up the store manager and his wife in their home, authorities say.

Police took four people into custody: Jose Hernandez Pearson, Gregory Andrews, Tameka Lashon Croskey and Meisha Sims. A fifth person, Crysell Croskey, was already in jail on unrelated charges. Authorities said Tameka Croskey and Crysell Croskey are mother and son. The suspects face a variety of felony counts, including burglary, theft, weapons and narcotics charges, the Journal-Constitution reports. Racketeering charges are also anticipated.

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Before the burglary, two gunmen wearing ski masks entered the home and demanded codes to the store safes, according to earlier reports. The couple were not injured, although the gunmen threatened to kill them, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported. But media reports say they were bound with zip ties and duct tape. Two men broke into the Buckhead store at about 11:30 p.m. and spent about two hours there, police said. They emptied two safes, taking jewelry and watches. Cash and jewelry were also reportedly stolen from the jeweler’s home.   [Source: InStore]

ORC ring spanning 6 states dismantled

One of three Twin Cities residents accused of operating an organized retail crime (ORC) ring at Walmart stores in six states will spend three years on probation. The Wisconsin trio took nearly $47,000 in merchandise from the Eau Claire Walmart store on two occasions in fall 2017, police said. They are responsible for more than $360,000 in losses from several Walmart stores, police said.

Tashanda J. Boclair, 32, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty recently in Eau Claire County Court to a felony count of retail theft. Judge Sarah Harless fined Boclair $6,730 and ordered her to pay $39,843 in restitution along with her two co-defendants. Boclair must also complete any programming, counseling or treatment recommended by her probation agent.

Co-defendants Lasonya D. Miles, 31, of Minneapolis, and Ezekiel O. Brown, 19, of Maplewood, were previously sentenced. While investigating the two Eau Claire cases, police learned that Walmart corporate investigators had been tracking Boclair, Brown and Miles. The trio have been identified in surveillance video, phone information, Facebook images and other sources as being responsible for more than $360,000 in losses from Walmart stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota.

Through the installation of a trap and trace device and pen register, law enforcement officers obtained conversations between Miles, Brown, Boclair and a fourth person regarding coordinated efforts to plan these thefts across the region. Pen registers are surveillance devices that capture the phone numbers dialed on outgoing telephone calls. Trap and trace devices capture the numbers identifying incoming calls.   [Source: Leader-Telegram]

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Apple’s new credit card to fight fraud

Apple’s  new credit card has a curious security feature that will make it much more difficult to carry out credit card fraud. The aptly named Apple Card is a new credit card, built into your iPhone Wallet app, which the company says will help customers live a “healthier” financial lifestyle. The card is designed to replace your traditional credit card and give you perks, such as daily cash. Chief among the benefits is a range of security and privacy features, which Apple says, unlike traditional credit card providers, the company doesn’t know where a customer shopped, what they bought or how much they paid.

But its one feature, a one-time unique dynamic security code, will make it nearly impossible for anyone to use the credit card to make fraudulent purchases. That three-digit card verification value — or a CVV — on the back of your credit card is usually your last line of defense if someone steals your credit card number, such as if your card is cloned or skimmed by a dodgy ATM  or stolen from a website through a phishing attack. But rotating the security code will increase the difficulty for an attacker to use your card without your permission.

The idea of a dynamic credit card number first came about a few years ago with the Motion Code credit card concept, built by Oberthur Technologies, which included a randomly generating number built into a tiny display on the back of the card. The only downside is if someone steals your physical card.   [Source: TechCrunch]

Employee turns to arson for a day off

A Hesperia Walmart employee in Hesperia, California, is currently being held on a $50,000 bail after he allegedly started multiple fires in order to get out of work, officials said. It happened on Sunday, at about 9:00 pm when dispatch received a call from the Walmart in regards to small fires being set inside and outside the store.

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Hesperia Sheriff’s station spokesman Edgar Moran told Victor Valley News that the loss prevention team reviewed video and determined the fires were started by an employee who was scheduled to work later in the night. The employee was identified as Kevin Jermaine Smith, 24, of Victorville. Deputy Smith with the Hesperia Police Department responded and found the suspect Smith near the Jack in the Box/Denny’s parking lot. Smith was detained and positively identified by LP.

“Video surveillance showed Smith starting a fire out in front of Walmart, then walking to Pieology and starting a fire in the trashcan there; Smith then walked back to Walmart and started a fire in the infant clothing section. He then created two separate fires in the front and rear bathroom. Smith stated he started the fires in order to get out of work,” stated Moran. Smith was arrested and booked into the High Desert Detention Center for PC451(D) Arson/Property. He is scheduled for arraignment in a Victorville courtroom today.   [Source: Victor Valley News]

Three in custody after fleeing police

Kansas City, Missouri, police (KCPD) said three people are in custody after what began as a shoplifting incident and progressed into a chase. Police said officers were called to the Kohl’s in Northland just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday. When they got there, loss prevention associates were chasing two people thought to be stealing out of the store. That incident was unrelated to the initial call.

KCPD said as officers approached the suspects, they got into a waiting car and drove away, striking one of the police cars’ side mirrors. Officers went after them, given the suspects’ erratic behavior and the fact that they hit an occupied police car. Police said two women and a man were inside the car, with one of the women driving. They fled until the car stopped in a lane of traffic on the highway. A man got out and ran into an open garage of a nearby home. The occupants said they did not know the suspect. Police took him into custody at the house.   [Source: KSHB41 News]

Credit card fraudster racks up $6,000 in hotel bills

Scottsdale police report that they responded to the W Hotel for a suspected fraud case. Hotel security contacted police after 35-year-old Joshua Alexander Garcia attempted to order room service but his credit card was determined to be fraudulent. When police questioned Garcia, they say he first gave them a fake ID.

When questioned, Garcia allegedly told police that he has been using fake ID’s and making fraudulent credit cards for over a year. Hotel security reportedly told police that Garcia ran up over $6,000 in charges at the hotel. They also recognized him as being a guest there the prior week. In searching Garcia’s room, investigators reportedly found meth, stolen credit cards, blank credit cards, birth certificates, tax information and a list of names with credit card numbers. The Guadalupe man has been charged with drug possession and theft.   [Source: ABC15 Arizona]

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