Breaking News in the Industry: April 23, 2018

Retail fraud probes lead to organized crime charges

Six men have been arrested on organized crime charges and other felonies following months-long retail fraud investigations by police in Westland and Canton Township in Ohio. The arrests came in conjunction with the execution of search warrants in several communities, including Westland, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, on Wednesday. Authorities say the defendants, five of whom were formally arraigned Friday, worked in local pawn shops and bought and then resold high-end merchandise that had been stolen from big-box stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Target. Some are also accused of selling stolen goods on eBay. “The impact of these cases illustrates why the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is trying to form a business protection unit,” said county prosecutor Kym Worthy in a press release. Retail fraud increases the prices of goods and services as well as retailers’ insurance costs, Worthy said.  [Source: HomeTownLife]

Employee charged with felony retail theft

Bond was set at $2,000 for a Best Buy employee charged with taking 22 cellular phones from the Norridge, Illinois, store, after keying them out of the store’s inventory by designating them as “damaged write-off,” police said. Freddy Lopez, of the 2100 block of North Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, was charged April 10 with felony retail theft of merchandise over $500. He is due in court May 4. A manager told police the theft was brought to his attention by an operations manager, who informed him that around March 20, there was an inventory adjustment to damage write-off for an iPhone 8 not in the warehouse on the write-off pallet. The manager told police he pulled inventory adjustments keyed to “damage write-off” by Lopez from August 2017 to April 2018 and learned there were 22 cellphones, valued at $18,901.38, that were not accounted for in the write-off pallet. Lopez refused to answer questions in regards to the incident, police said.   [Source: Chicago Tribune]

Suspect charged with fake sportswear trafficking

A man from Round Rock, Texas, has been charged with selling more than $325,000 worth of counterfeit sports apparel on eBay. Authorities in Austin arrested 58-year-old Steve Kim on federal counterfeiting charges, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the US and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. According to the indictment, from January 2010 until June 2, 2017, Kim knowingly sold more than $325,000 worth of counterfeit sports apparel on eBay. A vast majority of the items was acquired in China and shipped to his home in Round Rock. Those items included National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL) jerseys and hats. On June 2, 2017, federal and state authorities executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence and seized more than 2,300 items bearing counterfeit markings to include NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, Reebok, Louis Vuitton, New Era and others. Suggested retail value of the seized items exceeds $189,000. Upon conviction, Kim faces up to five years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and up to ten years in federal prison on the counterfeit goods charge.  [Source: Securing Industry]

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Shoplifting suspects scuffle with store owner [Viral Video]

A Boston wig store owner was dragged along the sidewalk after attempting to chase down shoplifting suspects. Surveillance video shows two people looking at wigs inside Wig World Boston in Downtown Crossing. When the store’s owner approached them, the pair ran. The owner of Wig World was then seen on cell phone video in a scuffle with the shoplifters, who drag him along the sidewalk and punch him. “When I asked if they needed help they just grabbed and ran,” said store owner James Han. “I didn’t want to fight them or hit them or anything so I just grabbed one of them.” Han says this is the third time the thieves have targeted the store. Two of those incidents happened just this week. Han suffered bruises and scrapes after the confrontation. He says he immediately contacted police. He’s hopeful the video will help police ID the suspects.   [Source: CBS Boston]

LP Worldwide: Samsung Galaxy S9 phones worth $1M stolen from airport

Three armed Brazilian robbers disguised as airport workers stole a huge shipment of Samsung Galaxy S9 phones worth $1 million  from Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão International Airport, reported Brazilian Globo television on Wednesday. Reports from Brazilian local media channels show that the theft took place last Sunday when the Galaxy S9 has been in pre-sales in the country since last month and were expected to be delivered to customers later this week. The CCTV footage posted by Rumble shows three armed robbers that were disguised as airport workers, wearing their uniforms and walked into the building, hiding their face from the camera and pointing at different boxes.

As per the news channels, the robbers stole around 1,000 units of the newly launched smartphone while threatening cargo terminal’s staff and locking up workers in a room and carrying on with the theft. The stolen shipment’s value has been estimated to be around $1 million. The report also suggested that the gang have been believed to hide the stolen shipment in the Mare, a huge, nearby Rio favela, or impoverished community. Head of security for the Rio transport businesses’ union, Colonel Venancio Moura exclaimed, “The three criminals easily got into the cargo terminal and stole a million dollars’ worth of latest generation cellphones,” adding that they entered the warehouse where the smartphones had arrived just a day before. Furthermore, police confirmed that they had initiated the incident but, no arrests have been made yet.  [Source: Business Recorder]

SunTrust said employee worked with outside criminal when info on 1.5M clients was breached

Accounts for as many as 1.5 million clients at SunTrust Banks may have been compromised after an employee stole client contact lists, the company said Friday. During an earnings call Friday morning, SunTrust CEO William Rogers said the employee, who has now left the company, was working with a criminal third party when the client contact lists were stolen. Information about clients that might have been exposed in the breach includes name, address, phone number and certain account balances. The contact lists did not include personally-identifying information such as Social Security numbers, account number, PIN, user ID, password, or driver’s license information, the bank said. “We apologize to clients who may have been affected by this. We have heightened our monitoring of accounts and increased other security measures. While we have not identified significant fraudulent activity, we will reinforce our promise to clients that they will not be held responsible for any loss on their accounts as a result,” Bill Rogers, SunTrust chairman and CEO, said in a statement. The Atlanta-based bank said it was working with outside experts and coordinating with law enforcement on the case.  [Source: USA Today]

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