Breaking News in the Industry: October 21, 2016

Counterfeiting Bust at Indiana Festival Leads to 24 Arrests

Authorities have seized tens of thousands of suspected counterfeit items from several booths at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana and arrested 24 people. Indiana State Excise Police Officers say they executed search warrants Wednesday at the event in Mansfield. Charges include forgery and counterfeiting. Those arrested are from states including Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Authorities say the investigation started following citizen complaints in 2015. Once festival booths were set up this year, undercover officers bought counterfeit items from several booths. Indiana State Excise Police Officers worked with agents from Advanced Investigative Services and Continental Enterprises Inc. on the case. Items seized were believed to be imitations of brands including Nike, The North Face, Oakley, Adidas, Beats by Dre and professional sports leagues.
[Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch]

Employee Accused of Stealing Thousands of Dollars

Police arrested 23‐year‐old Desire Dennis for grand theft after she allegedly stole thousands of dollars from her employer. Dennis of Idaho Falls was arrested Thursday night.

According to police reports, officers responded to Walmart, for a report of an employee theft. Walmart reported that Dennis had been caught taking money from the register at least 21 times between Sept. 10 and Oct. 11. It was estimated that she took $3,500 in cash. [Source: Idaho State Journal]

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Man shoplifts to Bond Wife out of Jail for Shoplifting

Winter Haven Police arrested a man for shoplifting on Wednesday, but the suspect’s motive for the typically-unremarkable crime had them posting on social media, saying “You just can’t make this stuff up.”  Police arrested 48-year-old Brian Crume Wednesday evening for stealing three packs of electrical wire from a Winter Haven Walmart store.

It seemed like an average shoplifting incident, until he told officers why he stole the merchandise. According to police, “He was going to take the merchandise to try to sell it on the street. He needed to raise money to bond his wife out who was arrested earlier in the day in Lake Wales for, you guessed it, shoplifting.”  Talk about a classic case of “two wrongs don’t make a right.” [Source: Fox 13 News]

Card Skimming Malware Infecting Thousands of Online Retailers

If you think hardware credit card skimmers in brick-and-mortar payment terminals are bad enough, wait till you hear this. Physical card skimming’s cyberspace equivalent has come of age and has been reportedly running rampant for months, quietly siphoning millions of online customers’ credit card information and handing it over to cybercriminals.

Around 6,000 online shops were found to be infected with malicious Javascript software code that can intercept and pilfer credit and debit card details, according to Dutch researcher Willem de Groot, and the problem is getting worse.

In a recent blog post, de Groot detailed how hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in popular retailing software found in most of the compromised merchants’ online stores. They attack unpatched software flaws and once the criminals gain access to the store’s source code, they install a Javascript wiretap that relays payment data to collection servers evidently located in Russia. In other instances, hackers simply exploit weak passwords and brute-force their way into the website’s administration page.

De Groot said he has been investigating the problem since November of last year when his own payment card information was stolen online. He then scanned a sample of 255,000 online stores and found 3,501 were already infected with skimming malware. Now, almost a year later, he said the incidents have gone up by 69 percent with 5,925 online merchant shops now infected with the malicious JavaScript code, some of them unwitting hosts for almost 18 months.   [Source: Komando.com]

Suspect Responsible for $10,000 in Thefts at Home Depot Stores

Police and Home Depot teamed up to arrest the man responsible for over $10,000 in thefts from multiple stores in five Valley cities. Court records show that from November of 2015 until September of 2016, 34-year-old Robert Edward Lee II, stole over $10,000 in materials from multiple Home Depot locations.

Store investigators reported to police that they identified Lee as the man responsible for the thefts after viewing surveillance video. They told police that Lee would allegedly enter the stores empty handed, then select high-dollar items, usually kitchen or bathroom faucets, and attempt to return them without a receipt. They say on most occasions he would be denied the return but would exit the store with the items.

Home Depot reported that Lee attempted about $10,000 in nearly 60 return attempts since November 2015. Surveillance video showed that the vehicle used in all these incidents was a red Dodge truck registered to Lee.

Lee was arrested on October 13 in Phoenix on an unrelated charge. Police say Lee admitted stealing from Home Depot for months and wasn’t surprised when police told him he had nearly 60 attempted returns.  Lee has been charged with organized retail theft and has prior convictions for theft and forgery.  [Source: ABC 15]

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