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Breaking News in the Industry: August 2, 2018

Gun malfunctions during retail armed robbery, 2 arrested

In Milpitas, California, two suspects accused of robbing Kohl’s have been arrested. It happened on Great Mall Drive, and police say they were on the run for nearly a week. Police say Miguel Tovanche and Carmen Vargas were stopped after trying to take a cart full of merchandise out through an emergency exit in Kohl’s. That’s when Tovanche pulled out a gun and fired at loss prevention asasociates. The two ran from the officers and could not be found for nearly a week. Milpitas police detectives caught up with the two in Alameda. Both suspects were brought back to Santa Clara County and booked at the Santa Clara County Jail for their outstanding warrants.

Here is the full statement from police: “On Thursday, July 19, 2018, at approximately 1:48 PM, Milpitas Police officers responded to a theft at the Kohl’s, located at 1150 Great Mall Drive. Kohl’s loss prevention officers observed a woman pushing a shopping cart filled with merchandise out the emergency exit to an awaiting silver Mercedes-Benz driven by an unknown male. The two loss prevention officers were able to retrieve their property before the female suspect could load it into the vehicle; however, the male suspect retrieved a firearm and confronted both loss prevention officers. The male suspect pointed the firearm at the loss prevention officers and pulled the trigger; but the firearm malfunctioned. Both suspects fled the scene in the Mercedes-Benz and their images were captured on surveillance video.

Milpitas detectives sent flyers to other law enforcement agencies requesting assistance identifying the suspects’ pictures, which were captured on Kohl’s surveillance cameras. Alameda Police Department detectives identified the suspects as Miguel Tovanche and Carmen Vargas. Both suspects were wanted for a robbery in the City of Alameda. Milpitas Police detectives obtained a $60,000 Ramey arrest warrant for Miguel Tovanche for assault with deadly weapon, burglary, and conspiracy; plus a $10,000 Ramey arrest warrant for Carmen Vargas for burglary and conspiracy. Detectives worked tirelessly throughout the night and obtained a search warrant for a residence, related to Tovanche, in Castro Valley. On July 20, 2018, at approximately 2:00 a.m., the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team served the search warrant and rendered the home safe to enter. Milpitas Police detectives took over scene management and located evidence in the residence. Tovanche and Vargas were not at the residence and remained at-large.

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On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at approximately 6:09 AM, the Alameda Police Department located and arrested Miguel Tovanche and Carmen Vargas for their warrants in the City of Alameda. Milpitas Police detectives traveled to Alameda and took custody of Tovanche and Vargas. Both suspects were brought back to Santa Clara County and booked at the Santa Clara County jail for their outstanding warrants.

The Milpitas Police Department would like to give a special thanks to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in safely executing the search warrant at the Castro Valley residence and the cooperation of the Alameda Police Department in their efforts to capture Tovanche and Vargas. If you have any information regarding this investigation; then you are encouraged to call the Milpitas Police Department at 408. 586.2400. Additionally, the information can be given anonymously by calling the Crime Tip Hotline at 408.586.2500 or via the Milpitas Police Department website at:”  [Source: KRON4 News]

Second employee extradited for big store theft: $230K

A second former AT&T employee accused of stealing $232,000 worth of iPhones and iPads from the Summer Street store has been extradited from New York. Garfield Lawrence, 38, of Bronx, New York, has been charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny. He is being held in lieu of a $100,000 court appearance bond. The arrest follows identical charges filed in April against fellow AT&T store clerk Cody Malcolm, also from the Bronx, who is free on bail.

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Sean Coughlin said he and investigator Mike Stempien had been looking for Lawrence for months. He said they took him into custody last week with the help of New York Police Department financial crimes detectives. Coughlin said Lawrence and Malcolm created 68 fraudulent customer accounts at their store between July and September 2017 and stole 278 Apple iPhones and iPads worth $231,687. Coughlin says he believes the devices were liquidated in the Bronx, but none have been recovered. Coughlin said police were assisted by Harry Bermas, AT&T’s lead investigator.Coughlin said Cody appears responsible for $180,000 worth of inventory missing while Lawrence is responsible for more than $50,000 worth of lost inventory.   [Source: Stamford Advocate]

Former waitress sends eatery $1,000, apology for stealing

The owners of an Arizona restaurant said an anonymous former employee sent them $1,000 along with an apology for stealing decades ago. Carlotta Flores, owner of the El Charro restaurant in Tucson, said a letter came in the mail last week from anonymous woman who said she worked at the eatery in the 1990s while attending the University of Arizona. Flores’ son, Ray, posted a photo of the letter to Facebook. “One of the waiters I worked with had encouraged me to ‘forget’ to ring in a few drinks a shift and pocket the cash. And for some stupid reason, I did it,” the woman wrote. The woman, who identified herself only as “a thankful former employee,” said the theft was out of character for her. “I grew up in the church, I knew better. I hadn’t stolen a dime before then, nor have I since,” she wrote. “Thankfully, I was a terrible waitress and you all fired me before it could amount to more than a few hundred dollars total.” “It’s been 20 years, but I still carry great remorse. I am very sorry that I stole from you. Please accept my apology + this money as a repayment + 20 years of interest. May God forever bless you+ your family,” the letter reads. The envelope also contained $1,000 cash, the Flores family said.

“Some of my managers read the letter and they actually had tears in their eyes because they know that there’s very long days and food has a very little profit margin on it,” Carlotta Flores told KVOA-TV. She said the letter came at an opportune time to restore her faith in humanity. “I had my purse stolen and this sort of renewed the faith that we had a lot of good people out there,” she said. Flores said she is hoping the woman will come forward so she can return the money.
“I don’t know where she’s at or who she is but I will tell you one thing. I hope that she’s read or has seen what an impact this has made not only on me, my family, my business but where it will go in the future so I hope she keeps looking to see what we’re doing with it,” Flores said.   [Source: UPI]

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WATCH: Suspect accused of stealing a shark from San Antonio Aquarium

A 38-year-old San Antonio man was arrested Monday night in connection with the bizarre theft of a horn shark from the San Antonio Aquarium on Saturday. Anthony Shannon was one of three people people captured on surveillance video stealing the shark using a stroller by disguising the shark as a baby. Shannon is charged with felony theft $2,500 – $30,000. His bond was set at $10,000, according to the Bexar County Magistrate’s Office. The female shark was returned to the aquarium just after 9 p.m. Monday.

Police located the truck involved in the shark heist early Monday morning and Salvaggio said when news outlets broadcast the information and surveillance footage, viewers began calling police and pointed to a home in the 3900 block of Chimney Springs, near where the truck was found. Authorities returned to the home Monday night and got confessions from Shannon and his neighbor. Salvaggio said police are waiting to talk to the woman who is seen in surveillance video with the two men and said he is unsure whether she will be immediately charged. The other man and woman will be “charged at large,” Salvaggio said. Police said the group stole the shark from an open pool where visitors are allowed to reach in and pet the various species in the tank. Two men and a woman are wanted in connection with the theft.

Salvaggio said one of the men grabbed the shark by its tail while another wrapped it in a wet blanket, went into a back room, put the shark in a bucket and put the bucket in the stroller. According to Jen Spellman, general manager of the San Antonio Aquarium, an employee noticed what was going on and immediately notified management. He said that one of the men had knowledge of aquariums and likely went to the aquarium specifically for that shark. “The individual obviously had some knowledge on how to deal with these types of animals, we said that from the very beginning, otherwise why take it? And when we got into the garage and into the house, it looked like almost a mock-up of (the aquarium),” Salvaggio said. “He had a lot of different marine animals in the home. (He) very much knew what he was doing — kept that animal alive and was able to continue to see that animal thrive which was pretty shocking to all of us.”   [Source: KSAT12 News]

A woman used children to help her steal from mall

A Tennessee woman used children to help her steal from department stores, according to Memphis Police Department. Investigators arrested Tiffney Moore on July 30. She’s charged with multiple counts of theft and a count of delinquency of a child. According to a police report, Moore had four children with her when she stole from JCPenny, Finish Line, Foot Locker, and Victoria’s Secret at Wolfchase Galleria. Officers said they found nearly $700 worth of stolen merchandise in Moore’s trunk. Surveillance video showed Moore, a second adult, and the children in each store where the stolen merchandise came from.  Police said at least one store had video of one of the children helping Moore with the theft. Investigators arrested Moore and issued a juvenile summons for the child seen helping with the theft.   [Source: WMCactionNews5]

Top 10 retail center experiences: Number 1 – Westfield Century City

In a search for innovators in experiential retail, Chain Store Age asked readers to nominate retail centers worthy of being named among the Top 10 Retail Center Experiences in the nation. The editors’ picks start with number 1, Westfield Century City: If you’re going to spend a billion dollars to renovate an already successful center, you’d better have a lofty goal, and Westfield did. “We wanted Century City to be the home of retail in L.A.,” said Westfield executive VP of leasing David Ruddick.

Ensuring it would be a home worthy of the 21st century, Westfield engaged L.A.-based design guru Kelly Wearstler to metamorphose the space with walkways and gardens peppered with secluded lounges and cabanas, canopies of olive and palm trees, and alfresco dining promenades. Century City offers 50-plus food choices, including L.A.’s own Eataly location. “What we created was a modern retail resort,” Ruddick said.

In June, The Business of Fashion industry group held its West Coast summit inside Century City, branding it with the imprimatur of “worldwide fashion destination” in the process. Michael Kors, Jon Varvatos, and Gerard Darel are among the names added to the fashion lineup at the new Century City. Fitness and health figure much more prominently in the renovated center than before. Equinox is joined by such boutique workouts as Gloveworx and augmented by Next Health’s post-workout offerings of cryotherapy and biomarker testing. Century City guests also enjoy amenities such as rotating art installations and app-driven self- parking. “This is the future. These are the new platforms. If you don’t honor them, you will have only short-term relevance,” Ruddick said.   [Source: Chain Store Age]


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