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Breaking News in the Industry: April 26, 2018

Pawn shop owner, store manager charged; $200,000+ in stolen goods seized

The owner and a store manager of a Brighton, New York, pawn shop have been charged following a raid by Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies and the Rochester Police Department. Deputies say the raid was conducted at Mr. Deals Monday. They say between $200,000-$300,000 worth of stolen property, new and boxed, was confiscated from the building.  Among the items reportedly recovered were tools, medications and electronics. Store owner Marcus Luciano, 29, has been charged with attempted possession of stolen property in the third degree, two counts of attempted possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and two counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Store manager John Lombardo, 22, has been charged with three counts of attempted stolen property in the fourth degree, attempted stolen property in the third degree and three counts of falsifying records in the first degree. Both have also been charged with Second Hand Dealer and Monroe County Pawn Broker infractions. Deputies say the suspects were not known to investigators prior to Tuesday’s arrests, and that they have had no previous issues with this particular pawn shop. The Sheriff’s Office says the Rochester Police Department and The Home Depot assisted in the investigation. In a statement, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said, “Today’s arrest sends a strong message that law enforcement officers will not tolerate the malicious acts of theft from retail locations and/or trafficking of stolen property. These acts often enable victims of the current opioid epidemic facing our community and nation.”  “A lot of these people that are bringing in the stolen property from the local stores are addicts who are just trying to get their next fix,” said Sgt. John Watson of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The defendants were arraigned Tuesday night and remanded to the Monroe County jail on $2,500 cash bail/$5,000 bond. Hopefully, this does send a message, we do take these investigations seriously,” he said. “And if they’re not on the up-and-up, then we will be knocking on their door, too.”     [Source: WHAM13 News]

Rolex thief used firecrackers to cause panic and distract clerks [Viral Video]

Using the sound of firecrackers to cause panic at three Florida malls allowed a Miami man to steal expensive Rolex watches from frightened jewelry store clerks and get away, Sunrise police say. Kevin Pena Triana, 22, would text a friend to set off the fireworks, which mimicked the sound of gunfire, police said. The distraction thefts were successful at three stores until Sunday, when law enforcement caught up with Triana as he was inside a mall in Greenville, S.C. Fireworks were found in his car, but no store thefts were reported, a Greenville Police spokesman said. “Without giving credit to this small, criminal enterprise, this was a highly thought out plan to steal high value items,” Sunrise Police Officer Louie Fernandez said Tuesday. “Through an aggressive investigation by Sunrise PD and the collaborative efforts of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Police and Miami-Dade Police, we were able to track down this thief when he was hundreds of miles away. We’re very proud of our detectives.” Fernandez declined to say exactly how Triana was tracked down. Clerks from all three stores identified him, Fernandez said. Police are still investigating who might have participated in the thefts.   [Source: SunSentinel]

Police say suspect visited department store 3 times and left with $15K in clothing without paying

Joshua Landenberger was convicted of two felonies in Wake County, North Carolina, in the past three years and is on probation for one and parole for the other. But it was charges of stealing clothes worth $15,000 from a Saks Fifth Avenue store this month that sent him to jail on Monday. Police arrested Landenberger, 26, at the Wake County Courthouse on Tuesday morning. They had obtained an arrest warrant on Friday that accused Landenberger of three counts of felony larceny for thefts that happened at the store in Triangle Town Center on April 4, 8 and 11. Another warrant that detectives swore out Friday accused Landenberger, who lives in Raleigh, of stealing three shirts from a Dillard’s store in June 2016.    [Source: The News & Observer]

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Suspect strikes cruiser fleeing from shoplifting incident

Police have arrested a woman accused of shoplifting, speeding away, and then hitting a police cruiser in the parking lot. It happened Wednesday afternoon on Pavilion Way.  An arrest citation states 27-year-old Britane Webb shoplifted from a Ross store in Lexington, Kentucky, when a police officer attempted to stop her. She reportedly fled through the parking lot at speeds between 60 and 80 miles per hour before striking the cruiser. Webb also had arrest warrants out for other alleged shoplifting incidents earlier this year. She faces a number of charges.   [Source: LEX18]

Man faces organized crime charges in pawn shop busts

A LaSalle, Michigan, man is facing dozens of charges including running a criminal organization in Michigan after two lengthy retail fraud investigations by Detroit-area police. Bilal Mohamad Taleb, 37, is accused of buying high-end merchandise stolen from big box stores and reselling it in pawnshops and online.  He was arrested along with two people from Dearborn Heights after police executed search warrants April 19 in several areas including Westland, Southgate, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. “The impact of these cases illustrate why the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is trying to form a Business Protection Unit,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a media release. “These crimes cause goods and services to rise, insurance rates increase and businesses are reluctant to be community partners.  So-called victimless crimes are a fallacy.” The Westland and Canton police departments executed the search warrants with the assistance of Home Depot, Lowe’s and Target. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office said the suspects all worked in pawnshops.

They allegedly bought merchandise stolen from the big box stores and resold it in the pawnshops. The men also allegedly sold some stolen items on eBay. The bulk of Taleb’s charges stem from alleged criminal activity in Westland. In that case, he is charged with one count of continuing a criminal enterprise, one count of using a computer to commit a crime, four counts of receiving and concealing stolen property, nine counts of organized retail crime and nine counts of second-hand dealer violations. The Westland Police Department said Taleb was released April 20 after depositing 10 per cent of a $100,000 bond. He was ordered to wear a GPS tether. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office said Westland police investigated the “organized retail fraud scheme” between October 2017 and April 2018. The prosecutor’s office said Taleb and another suspect worked at a pawnshop in Westland. “While working at Bank Pawn Shop and Exchange they would purchase high-end merchandise that was stolen from big box stores around Metropolitan Detroit,” according to the prosecutor’s office. They would then allegedly sell the stolen merchandise out of the pawnshop and on eBay.   [Source: Windsor Star]

Employee charged after allegedly embezzling money by charging previous customers

A Wichita Falls man is now charged with embezzlement after police say he stole almost $41,000 from the place he worked. The District Manager for Mattress Firm in Wichita Falls and a loss prevention associate found a discrepancy of $40,774.35 and authorities say they traced that deficit back to Victor Rosales,19.
When the district manager interviewed Rosales, police say he admitted to the theft and wrote a 10-page admission detailing the theft and his method. Detectives say Rosales charged 11 previous customer accounts for merchandise they didn’t order totaling $37,572.53 and then went on to sell the merchandise to other customers. Authorities also say Rosales was paid $3,201.82 in commission on those charges. In late March, investigators say they found Rosales contacted customers posing as an employee and attempted to collect money for merchandise he unlawfully sold. Rosales is no longer in the Wichita County Jail, after posting bail on a $20,000 bond.   [Source: Texomas Homepage]


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