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Breaking News in the Industry: May 12, 2017

Chicago woman caught with 200 fake credit cards sentenced to 3 years in prison

The woman who triggered a bomb detector with a stack of fraudulent credit cards at Midway Airport in Chicago last year has been sentenced to three years in prison. Daquator Lane, 26, pleaded guilty May 4 to identity theft and possession of a stolen ID, court records show. She was on her way to Atlanta to visit her sister about 6 a.m. March 29, 2016, when airport security found 200 fake credit cards wrapped in socks and stuffed in shoes inside Lane’s luggage, prosecutors said. Authorities believe the mass of magnetic strips attached to the cards was responsible for triggering a bomb detector at the South Side airport.

Upon being arrested, Lane reportedly “asked detectives what she could’ve done better to get away with it,” prosecutors said. At the time, Lane was on probation for a 2015 identity theft conviction, court records show. She had been sentenced to 18 months of probation and 30 hours of community service following a 2014 incident. In the Midway case, Cook County Judge Erica Reddick on May 4 sentenced Lane to three years in prison. According to county officials, Lane was taken into custody by the Illinois Department of Corrections on Wednesday. A projected parole date was not immediately available.  [For more: DNAinfo]

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LP Worldwide: UK video of phone store theft viewed thousands of times online

Police are trying to identify a group of men after a video of a theft at a Bradford, West Yorkshire store went viral. Three men targeted the O2 store at Forster Square Retail Park on Monday evening. Mobile phone footage of the theft, which saw the men cut cords attached to display model iPads before running out of the store, was later uploaded to Facebook, and has since been shared thousands of times. Although two of the men have their heads covered with hoods, another has his face clearly visible during the daylight robbery. This, along with speculation that the items were “dummy” models, led to many commenters labeling the men “Bradford’s dumbest criminals.”

Police have now appealed for anyone who knows the identity of the three men to come forward. One of the men was wearing a white hoodie, a blue beanie, and shorts, and had a beard, and the other two were wearing dark hoodies. As they leave the store, knocking a plant pot over in the process, the man recording the video shouts: “You’re on video pal.” A police spokesman said: “Police are investigating a theft from shop in Forster Square Retail Park, Bradford which was reported to have happened at about 7.15pm on May 8. “Officers are aware of this footage and are making further enquiries to identify the suspects. “Anyone with information which may assist is asked to contact the Bradford City Area Neighbourhood Team on 101, quoting crime reference 13170207648 of May 8. “Information can also be given anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”   [For more: Telegraph & Argus]

Florida mom, son accused of shoplifting from Macy’s

Wendy Hockman and her teen son Brandon, authorities say, enjoyed a shopping spree at a Wellington department store, and left with more than $850 worth of items. Without paying. It was my idea; don’t punish my son, Wendy Hockman later told authorities, according to a Palm Beach County sheriff’s report. Her plea didn’t work. The Lake Park mother and son each face a grand theft charge. The two were arrested Saturday night, a day after Wendy Hockman’s 56th birthday and 11 days after Brandon’s 19th. They were booked into the county jail early Sunday and were released hours later after each posted $3,000 bond. Palm Beach County court records show no previous felony arrests for either person.

According to the sheriff’s report, a store detective at the Macy’s at the Mall at Wellington Green alerted authorities just. He said he’d watched on closed-circuit television as the two Hockmans entered a fitting room in the men’s department and then left “with less merchandise than they entered with.” The store detective said the two later made a small purchase and left the store, but were stopped outside the west entrance. A search of the bags found 10 allegedly shoplifted items valued at $857.98, the report said. It said Wendy Hockman “requested to take the full blame and let her son go, although both subjects worked in concert to take and conceal the merchandise.” On Wednesday, Wendy Hockman insisted everything in her bags was paid for and a receipt was in her wallet, and “my bank statement will show all this.” But, she said, “I’m in the process of getting lawyer, and, believe me, I’m going from there.”  [For more: Palm Beach Post]

Love the “Popo”: Police call out shoplifting suspects on Facebook

Dartmouth, Massachusetts, police used the power of social media to shame three shoplifting suspects into coming forward. Police said the suspects turned themselves in following a series of posts on the department’s Facebook page, showing surveillance images of the trio. Police made the first post Sunday evening. Then on Sunday morning, police made another post, calling out the suspects directly.

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The post, signed “Love, The Popo” appeared to have the desired effect. In a follow-up post Tuesday morning, police said the suspects had turned themselves in Monday night. Police said the three suspects were released and would receive a summons to appear in court.  [For more: WPRI12 News]

Carson City Sheriff’s Office asks for help identifying credit card fraud suspects

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office is asking for help identifying credit card fraud suspects who were caught on camera in Walmart. According to law enforcement, on April 15 the suspects obtained a victim’s wallet, possibly while at the South Valley’s Sports Complex. Two of the victim’s credit cards were used at Walmart in Carson City located at 3200 Market Street and Walmart on Topsy Lane in Douglas County, according to authorities. The subjects are suspected to have used the victim’s credit cards at several different transactions, deputies say, and were traveling in an older model dark green Isuzu Trooper. Anyone with information is asked to contact Carson City Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jessica Dickey at 775-887-2020 Ext. 45476. [For more: NBC4 News]

Macy’s needs to close 100 more stores, former retail exec says

Macy’s latest earnings report was “pretty ugly,” Jan Kniffen, a consultant to investors in retail companies and a former industry executive, told CNBC on Thursday. “It sure as heck was not what we expected,” Kniffen said during an interview on “Squawk Box.” Macy’s reported earnings, revenue and same-store sales — a metric closely monitored for retail stocks by Wall Street — on Thursday that all missed estimates, sending its shares tumbling more than 10 percent.

Meanwhile, department store operators Kohl’s and Dillard’s, which also announced earnings Thursday before the bell, were pretty much “above plan” as far as what they reported, Kniffen said. “But everyone was tough on sales.” Looking ahead and considering the competitive retail landscape today, all the full-line department stores — Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, etc. — need to shut down more of their brick-and-mortar locations, he said.

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“Nobody has come down [on store count] enough.” Macy’s, for example, has announced plans to close 100 of its locations over the next few years, in an attempt to slim down its vast real estate portfolio and win more sales on online. But, the market “probably wants to see another 100 Macy’s stores close,” Kniffen told CNBC. “You just can’t have 6, 7, 800 stores right now in America if you’re a full-line department store retailer.” Instead, these companies should focus on being a size where they can be “more efficient and more effective,” he suggests. With a handful of major retailers reporting earnings Thursday, J.C. Penney is set to report first-quarter earnings before the bell on Friday. [For more: CNBC]

How Sephora is thriving amid a retail crisis

It was hard to tell if the opening of Sephora’s new store near Herald Square, New York, was a red carpet affair or a girl’s night out at the spa. A D.J. played techno-pop while guests sipped Moët Champagne and dabbed Jo Malone on their wrists. One 20-something wrapped her hair in a paper headband while an attendant dabbed cream on her cheeks. Another stood before a screen with a front-facing camera and sampled virtual eyelashes, swiping left to explore an array of styles before committing to the real thing. “Oh! Do another!” said her friend, who was snapping photographs. “This is so much fun.”

Much has been written about the crisis in retail, with shoppers deserting department stores for e-tailers and fast fashion, if they shop at all. The beauty business, though, has not had the same fate. Prestige beauty sales in the United States rose 6 percent in the 12 months ending in February, tallying $15.9 billion, according to the market research company NPD Group. Makeup alone is up 11 percent, totaling $7.3 billion. But that industry, too, is in the midst of its own upheaval, driven in part by the success of stores such as Sephora, the No. 1 specialty beauty retailer in the world according to Euromonitor International, which tracks beauty sales.

Bloggers and YouTube stars, Instagram videos and virtual assistants are replacing department store sales clerks, whose customers now know as much as they do (or more) about mermaid eyes and ombré lips. Brand loyalty is out, replaced by Sephora’s try-more-buy-more ethos. Friends hold as much sway these days as trained experts. “For the older consumer it can be confusing,” said Karen Grant, the global beauty industry analyst at the NPD Group. “But for the younger consumer, it’s like, ‘Wheeeee! Look at that! Look at that!’ It’s all about play. And the more time you stay in the store or online, the more money you are likely to spend.”

Sephora, which is owned by the French luxury conglomerate LVMH and has more than 2,300 locations in 33 countries, offers digitally savvy customers enough technological doodads and computer displays to make a Silicon Valley engineer blush. Want to try 50 shades of lipstick without getting chapped lips? There is a mobile app using augmented reality for that. Customers can scan their faces to get their Color IQ, a reference number used to find products that match their skin tones, or sit at digital workstations to take classes in contouring cheekbones. Sephora even has its own version of Smell-O-Vision, a touch screen with a fan that lets visitors smell the scents — floral, earthy — that characterize most fragrances.  [For more: The New York Times]

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