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Breaking News in the Industry: August 16, 2018

Forty-one arrested in undercover shoplifting sting

In an initiative called “Operation Broken Cart,” police and loss prevention specialists in Richmond, Kentucky, spent three days targeting individuals stealing from seven stores in the Richmond area. Suspects were seen taking a variety of items, including electronics and cosmetics. One of the participating retailers was Kroger, which has staff dedicated to preventing losses. “It affects everybody. It affects the store’s bottom number with the shrink and loss of products,” Kroger retail crime manager Terry Young said, “It affects the consumers who buy the products because they have to pay more to cover the issues that we’ve lost.”

At the end of the operation, 41 people were arrested for stealing and charged with shoplifting, drug offenses and other charges. Police and loss prevention specialists recovered nearly $2,500 worth of stolen property and seized $30,000 in narcotics. The Richmond Police Department says it will continue to crack down on shoplifting and plans to work with the Kentucky Organized Retail Crime Association for future operations.   [Source: WKYT News]

WATCH: Gang hit a flea-market shop for $750,000 in jewelry

A gang of five pulled off a retail smash-and-grab at The Village Flea Market and got away with $750,000 in jewelry, police say. But they did leave two faces behind on surveillance video. The video, released Monday by Miami-Dade police, shows several robbers climbing over the counters at P&S Jewelry around 5 p.m. last Tuesday. Overwhelmed by numbers and surprise, the plucky staff couldn’t prevent the criminals from smashing into some of the display cases and making off with jewelry.

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Police say the group left the flea market at 7900 NW 27th Ave. in a white Ford Crown Victoria. Video stills show two robbers before they jump the rear counter. One wore ripped blue jeans, a black hoodie declaring “Just Do It,” and a hat in Florida State’s garnet and gold colors, but with a Chicago Bulls-like bull in gold. The second wore beige khakis, a gray stocking hat, and a black Adidas jacket with white stripes down the arms.  Anyone with information on this robbery can anonymously contact Miami Crime Stoppers at 305.471.TIPS (8477); via text message at 274637 with “CSMD” and the tip; or the Miami Crime Stoppers website.     [Source: Miami Herald]

July retail sales rose 0.6%

July retail trade sales rose 0.4% from June 2018, and 6% year over year, while e-commerce sales rose 0.8% from June and 8.7% from last year, according to the latest monthly report from the U.S. Commerce Department’s census bureau. Excluding automobiles, retail sales fared a little better, rising 0.6%, but June retail sales were revised down from a 0.5% rise to 0.2%.

Furniture and home furniture sales fell 0.5% from June but rose 3.5% year over year; health and personal care sales fell 0.4%, rising 5% year over year; and sporting goods, hobby and book sales fell 1.7% from June and 4.9% year over year. Other categories fared better: Clothing and accessories sales rose 1.3% from June and 6.4% year over year; department store sales rose 1.2% from June and 0.3% year over year; and electronics and appliance sales rose 0.1% from June and 4.2% year over year.

The news came as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data reported Tuesday that total U.S. household debt rose by 0.6% or $82 billion to $13.29 trillion in the second quarter — the 16th consecutive quarter with an increase. Overall household debt is now 19.2% above the post-financial-crisis trough reached during the second quarter of 2013, according to the report.   [Source: RetailDIVE]

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Employee arrested on suspicion of embezzlement

An Elk Grove, California, retail worker is in custody at the Sacramento County Jail after allegedly embezzling from her employer. Just after 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8, Elk Grove Police responded to the Kohl’s department store on Calvine Road. Loss prevention associates at the store had detained Justina Chaplain, also known as Justina Irena Baker, for alleged embezzlement.

Responding officer discovered through a record check that the suspect was also on active parole. A search of Champlain led to the discovery of narcotic paraphernalia. Chaplain is held on a bail of $550,000 but is not eligible for release because of a parole violation.    [Source: Elk Grove News Net]

Australians who won’t unlock their phones could face 10 years in jail

The Australian government wants to force companies to help it get at suspected criminals’ data. If they can’t, it would jail people for up to a decade if they refuse to unlock their phones. The country’s Assistance and Access Bill, introduced this week for public consultation, strengthens the penalties for people who refuse to unlock their phones for the police. Under Australia’s existing Crimes Act, judges could jail a person for two years for not handing over their data. The proposed Bill extends that to up to ten years, arguing that the existing penalty wasn’t strong enough.

The Bill takes a multi-pronged approach to accessing a suspect’s data by co-opting third parties to help the authorities. New rules apply to “communication service providers”, which is a definition with a broad scope. It covers not only telcos, but also device vendors and application publishers, as long as they have “a nexus to Australia”.

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These companies would be subject to two kinds of government order that would compel them to help retrieve a suspect’s information. The first of these is a ‘technical assistance notice’ that requires telcos to hand over any decryption keys they hold. This notice would help the government in end-to-end encryption cases where the target lets a service provider hold their own encryption keys.

But what if the suspect stores the keys themselves? In that case, the government would pull out the big guns with a second kind of order called a technical capability notice. It forces communications providers to build new capabilities that would help the government access a target’s information where possible. In short, the government asks companies whether they can access the data. If they can’t, then the second order asks them to figure out a way….. [Source: Naked Security]

Man attempts to shoplift; leaves car keys behind

Taken from the Tukwila police blotter: “A male from Seattle, Washington, attempted to shoplift then fled the store when contacted by loss prevention. He got into his getaway car but realized that he had left he car keys in the shopping cart. He re-entered the store to look for his keys which loss prevention had already taken. When he realized the situation wasn’t looking good for him, he fled on foot only to turn around when he spotted an arriving officer. He attempted to hide in another business, which didn’t work out so well for him. He was located and arrested.”   [Source: Tukwila Reporter]

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