Breaking News in the Industry: November 23, 2016

Robbers get away with $300K in watches in brazen jewelry store heist

Police in New York City are looking for two suspects who robbed a jewelry store at gunpoint Monday on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Two unidentified men – wearing long dark coats, hats and sunglasses to conceal their faces – walked into the Jaeger-LeCoultre store on Madison Avenue around 10:41 a.m. yesterday, police said. Surveillance video captured one robber, wearing a baseball hat, pointing a gun at employees. The three employees were told to lie on the floor as the second man, wearing a winter hat, used a claw hammer to break several glass display cases, police said.

After the man pocketed five watches – valued at more than $300,000 – he and the gunman exited the store. No injuries were reported, police said. Authorities described the gunman as a white male, approximately 6 foot 4, 240 pounds, with a light complexion. The second man was described also as a white male; approximately 6 foot 2, 190 pounds, with a light complexion. [Source:]

Employee charged for alleging stealing $3,000 from cash register

A former employee at the Flying J Truck Stop was arrested after state police said the 30-year old Milton, PA, man stole $3,000. Brandon Snyder was arrested Monday after Milton state troopers said they were dispatched to the Flying J Truck Stop, on North Ridge Road, in Turbot Township, Northumberland County, for a report of a theft. When troopers arrived, a manager of the plaza informed another employee discovered a large amount of money was missing from her drawer, police said. After the manager told the employee to recount the drawer, it was determined that $3,000 was missing, police said.

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The manager reviewed video surveillance footage and it showed Snyder unlocking the drawer and taking the cash, according to court documents. Snyder worked the shift prior to the discovery of the missing money, police said. Troopers made contact with Snyder and after questioning him on the stolen money, Snyder told police he took the money and was planning on paying it back, according to court documents. Snyder was arrested and charged with felony theft by unlawful taking.

Snyder appeared before Shamokin District Judge John Gembic and was sent to the Northumberland County Prison wing at SCI-Coal Township on $20,000 cash bail. [Source: The Daily Item]

Parents given prison for multimillion-dollar, nationwide shoplifting scheme

The Bogdanov family’s journey from Eastern Europe to Chicago’s North Shore in some ways is the classic American immigrant story. The parents, Branko and Lela Bogdanov, came here decades ago without a penny to their name. Though they spoke no English, they worked hard to make something of themselves. Eventually, they earned enough money to buy a house in well-to-do Northbrook, drive nice cars and raise five children. There was only one problem, federal prosecutors say: Virtually everything the Bogdanovs ever got, they stole.

On Monday, the couple were sentenced to federal prison for orchestrating a decade long nationwide shoplifting scheme that netted millions of dollars of merchandise that they later sold on eBay. Prosecutors alleged the family stole with startling efficiency from toy stores, booksellers and coffee shops from Maryland to Texas, with Lela often wearing a bulky black dress outfitted with compartments for stuffing large items.

In asking for sentences of up to four years in prison for the couple, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Havey noted that each of them had multiple theft convictions going back decades — but only now did they find themselves facing significant prison time. Describing Branko as the ringleader, Havey said that although he’d pleaded guilty, he never really expressed remorse. U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood sentenced Branko, 60, to four years in prison and his wife, whose exact age is not known, to three years. In her remarks, the judge agreed that while they each apologized for their actions, she felt they were mostly sorry that they got caught. In addition to the prison time, the judge ordered the couple to forfeit $2.8 million in ill-gotten gains and pay another $13,000 in restitution to Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble. Their $1.4 million five-bedroom home — seized by federal authorities — will go to pay down the forfeiture order, records show. The couple’s eldest daughter, Julia Bogdanov, is serving a 15-month prison term after pleading guilty to her role in the scheme. [Source: Chicago Tribune]

Two accused in ORC operation forego trial

Two brothers accused of operating a “retail theft operation” waived their right to a speedy trial Monday in court in order to give their attorneys time to go over “mountains” of evidence with them. A third person accused in the case will accept a plea deal in December.

Basim Talouzi, 61, and his brother, Samir Talouzi, 63, are charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, engaging in an organized criminal enterprise, benefit fraud and recruiting members to join an organized criminal enterprise. Basim Talouzi is also charged with four counts of delivery of a controlled substance, three times marijuana and once crystal meth.

The brothers, owners of the Save Way gas station in the 1300 block of Madison Avenue in Huntington, WV, and employees are accused of conspiring in a criminal enterprise since June 2014 by exchanging cash for a fraction of the value of at least $5,000 in benefit cards for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). “To complicate things, (Samir Talouzi) is of Middle Eastern descent, your honor, and he does not read English,” Rosinsky said. “So I’m going to have to go over to the jail to meet with him for countless hours to go through this.” The brothers will have another hearing Jan. 5. [Source: The Herald-Tribune]

Man pleads guilty to seven counts of theft

Trevor L. Asselstine pleaded guilty in Kingston’s Ontario Court of Justice to five thefts committed in June and July: Three of them at the 1100 Princess St. Loblaws store, one at the Cataraqui Centre’s Shoppers Drug Mart and one at the 59 Bath Rd. Canadian Tire store; plus charges from September of using a stolen credit card and five days later being caught in possession of that same stolen credit card.

He was given enhanced credit on 75 days of pretrial custody and sentenced to a further 157 days in jail. Asselstine’s lawyer, Clyde Smith, said his client has a long-standing substance abuse problem that began in high school and now includes an addiction to opioids.

He told Justice O’Brien that Asselstine is now starting to reach out for help, however, and has been attending AA meetings in jail. He got clean there, according to Smith, although he was forced to do it “cold turkey” when, according to his lawyer, he was refused methadone. Yet, “he told me being in Quinte was better than being high,” Smith told the judge. [Source:]

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