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Breaking News in the Industry: March 28, 2019

Employee pleads not guilty to $3,200 cash theft

A former cashier at Sioux City’s now-closed Sears store has pleaded not guilty to stealing more than $3,000 from the store. Sandra Martinez, 39, of South Sioux City, entered her written plea Monday to a charge of second-degree theft.

According to court documents, Martinez worked at Sears from January 4 to March 2, and she took $400 on her first day on the job. She took $1,000 on her final day of work, court documents said.

On other occasions, she took amounts ranging from $150 to $600 by putting money from the cash register into the store’s green cashier bags, then later putting the money into her sweater sleeve. Martinez is accused of stealing an estimated $3,200 from the store.   [Source: Sioux City Journal]

Multi-million dollar ORC Ring busted after year long investigation

Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) Chief, Michael Kelly, will hold a press conference to unveil details surrounding the year-long investigation of an organized retail crime enterprise, costing retailers, including Ulta Beauty and Walgreens, millions of dollars. The stolen items were then sold on the internet to unsuspecting buyers at full retail value.

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The sophisticated operation by JCPD’s Special Investigations Unit, working with numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the tri-state area, has led to charges against 23 people. The press conference is scheduled for 1:00 PM (EDT) today at Chief Kelly’s office.   [Source: Insider NJ]

Suspect weaponizes high-healed shoes

A Massachusetts woman menaced a Macy’s store loss prevention associate with her high-heeled shoe on Tuesday when he stopped her after she left the store with dozens of allegedly stolen items, authorities said. Police arrested Nawal Abdul Abdul-Razzak, 44, at 8 p.m. at the Natick Mall store. According to a police report, a store LP associate saw Abdul-Razzak come into the store carrying several Macy’s bags that appeared to contain some items. He watched Abdul-Razzak go through the store and put several items including jewelry, thongs, lingerie and other items into the bag and leave. In all, Macy’s security said Abdul-Razzak stole 39 items valued at $1,035. The LPA stopped Abdul-Razzak when she left the store without paying.

“Nawal then became assaultive and removed one of her high-heeled shoes and flung it at (the LP associate),” police wrote. Abdul-Razzak missed, but continued to brandish the shoe in “an aggressive and assaultive manner,” before she calmed down and went back into the store with the LP associate, police wrote in the report. When police arrived, Abdul-Razzak told police she could not be arrested because she left her children at another store. She said the children were 10 and 14. She would not give police their phone number and police and mall security had to search the mall for the children before someone found them near the food court, police wrote in the report.

Police arrested Abdul-Razzak and charged her with shoplifting and assault with a dangerous weapon (high-heeled shoe). Police also filed a report with the Department of Children & Families because they felt her leaving the children alone for more than an hour while she shoplifted was negligent parenting, according to the report. At arraignment in Natick District Court on Wednesday, Judge Martine Carroll released her on $100 bail and ordered her to stay away from Macy’s. Abdul-Razzak is due back in court on April 19 for a pretrial conference.   [Source: MetroWest Daily News]

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Using AI to fix online counterfeits predicament

On Thursday, the company unveiled Project Zero, which it says will allow brands to take down counterfeit items on their own without Amazon’s help. Amazon, which has long struggled with counterfeit products on its site, will also automatically monitor for fake items. The project uses a type of AI called machine learning that constantly scans Amazon’s stores and removes suspected fakes. Companies give Amazon their logos, trademarks and other important information about their brands, and Amazon scans product listings every day looking for bogus items before they are purchased.

Previously, brands had to report counterfeit items to Amazon. Now, Amazon is offering a “self-service counterfeit removal tool” which lets brands take down these items themselves. Amazon’s new product serialization service also offers a unique code for every item, which brands place on products during the manufacturing process. When products with these special serial numbers are ordered on Amazon, the e-commerce giant scans and verifies the authenticity of the purchase and can stop fake products from being bought.   [Source: CBS58 News]

Suspects find out escape only works in the movies

Two suspected thieves were arrested in Marin City after a failed escape through the Panda Express drive-thru, the sheriff’s department said. The incident happened Wednesday morning after a U-Haul van was reported stolen in San Francisco, said Sgt. Brenton Schneider of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. San Francisco police Sheriff’s deputies found the van, unoccupied, at the Marin Gateway Shopping Center when deputies placed spike strips behind the wheels and waited for someone to come back to the vehicle.

Meanwhile, deputies learned that a pair of men were roaming around suspiciously in the Target store as though preparing to steal merchandise. Working with the store’s asset protection team, deputies determined that the men had come from the stolen van, Schneider said. Eventually the two suspects bolted from the store and hopped in the van. Deputies swooped in. The driver of the van took it through the Panda Express drive-thru and tried to ram through a chain-link fence to the freeway, but the fence stopped the vehicle.

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Schneider said property stolen from the Target was inside the van. Justin Wade Keller, 24, of San Francisco, and Brandon Anthony Ramirez, 24, of Concord, were booked into Marin County Jail. The counts include vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, conspiracy, shoplifting, resisting deputies and other alleged crimes.   [Source: Marin Independent Journal]

Video shows serial shoplifter who’s stolen over $10,000 in jewelry

A shoplifter in Massachusetts has systematically stolen more than $10,000 worth of jewelry from at least three The Paper Store locations, company officials said. The Paper Store shared surveillance video Wednesday from their Framingham store of the man they say is responsible for the thefts.”You’ll see how brazen this gentleman is. The associates are 20 feet away. He comes in and takes the whole rack, sticks it in his coat,” said owner John Anderson.

Anderson’s company said the man has also hit stores in Dedham and West Roxbury. They also said the man doesn’t work alone. He brings a woman and a child into the stores with him. Anderson said he thinks they are supposed to be a distraction for his employees. “They’re usually there three or four minutes. They do it quick, so they know what they’re doing,” said Anderson. Anyone with information about the shoplifting case can contact The Paper Store’s loss prevention department at 978.263.2198 extension 9102, or your local police department.   [Source: WCVB5 News]

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