Breaking News in the Industry: August 21, 2018

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Boardwalk raids net $1M counterfeit merchandise; 2 charged

Atlantic City investigators this week seized more than $1 million in counterfeit designer merchandise at Boardwalk shops, and two merchants are charged with trademark counterfeiting, New Jersey State Police said in a statement Friday.  Mohammad Usman, 35, of Egg Harbor Township, and Kashif Ansari, 32, of Atlantic City, were charged in connection with sales of counterfeit designer merchandise out of Collector’s World, Moon Traders, City of Souvenirs and Ocean Point Gifts, State Police said.

The counterfeit designer merchandise was seized Thursday from the stores as a result of a search warrant, following a two-month undercover investigation led by the Interstate Theft South Unit, according to State Police. Merchandise included knockoffs of official National Football League logo ball caps and fake Louis Vuitton handbags, authorities said. The Atlantic City Metro Task Force Unit, Cherry Hill’s Homeland Security Investigation Office and the Atlantic City Police Department aided in the seizure of the merchandise. Both Usman and Ansari were released pending a future court date. The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice will handle the prosecution. [Source: Press of Atlantic City]

Store theft leads to car chase, crash, arrest of two women

Police went on a short chase Saturday in Beaverton, Oregon, to try and apprehend people suspected of stealing from Kohl’s department store, according to a police press release. The three suspects were in a Mercedes, which they quickly crashed, police say. Police arrested the driver right away, but two others fled, the release says. One woman was tracked by a police dog and then arrested but the third person was not located, police say. Police searched the car and found stolen items from Kohl’s as well as drugs and evidence of identity theft. Jessica Marie Jones, 40, and Katelyn Noell Johnson, 22, were taken to Washington County Jail and charged. Both women are reported to be from Vancouver, Washington.   [Source: The Oregonian]

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Employee charged with embezzlement

A 29-year-old Melvindale, Michigan, woman admitted in a written statement to taking part in an embezzlement scheme at The Home Depot. On the morning of Aug. 6, a person with the store’s loss prevention department told Allen Park police that an investigation was conducted on the woman involving “item corrects” while she was working the cash register. Police were told the woman would ring up her mother and then “item correct” or delete items on the transaction, but still let the merchandise leave the store without charging for the deleted items.

On July 3, a woman walked up to the register and scanned all items, but item corrected a few, but the unpaid items were still allowed to leave the store. On July 15, two women approached the employee at her register. She scanned all the items, but removed a faucet from the transaction. However, the women left with the unpaid item. The store representative told police this kind of thing happened numerous times, with a known loss of $900. In a written confession, the accused employees said she fell on hard times, stating her mother was remodeling her kitchen, but ran out of money. According to police, the woman stated she passed along approximately $2,500 worth of merchandise. She was arrested for embezzlement.    [Source: The News-Herald]

E‑commerce accounts for an estimated 13.3% of US retail sales in the second quarter

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. online retailers’ sales growth decelerated slightly in the second quarter compared with Q1 and 2017 as a whole. U.S. online retailers generated $120.45 billion on the web in the first quarter, a 15.4% increase compared with $104.41 billion in Q2 2017, the Department of Commerce reported today. This is a slightly lower growth rate than e-commerce for 2017 as a whole, when U.S. online sales rose 16.0% to reach $453.46 billion, compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. It’s also a slightly lower growth rate than the first quarter, when online sales from U.S. merchants grew 16.4%. All figures are reported on a non-adjusted basis. Total retail and food services sales grew 5.3% in Q2, according to the Commerce Department. [Source: Digital Commerce 360]

Traffic stop yields arrest of two on shoplifting charge

A couple from New York City are under arrest after they were discovered to be in possession of more than $4,000 of items stolen from stores at Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Connecticut.  According to a press release from the Clinton Police Department, Officer Brian Corbin initiated a motor vehicle stop on Sunday, Aug. 19 after observing a driver make an unsafe left hand turn, cutting off oncoming traffic.

Upon pulling over the vehicle, it was discovered that the North Carolina registration on the vehicle was expired and did not belong to the vehicle. Officers also detected the smell of marijuana and upon searching, found marijuana on the passenger, identified at Katrina Dise, 27, of New York City. Officer Corbin also discovered a commonly used shoplifting device in Dise’s purse. The operator of the vehicle was identified at Michael Alston, 36, of New York City.

Upon a search of the vehicle, police also discovered a beater bag, a bag with a foil lining used to defeat anti-theft tags on merchandise, and over $4,000 in stolen merchandise from Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets and the Trumbull mall. Police also located more than $600 in counterfeit bills. Dise and Alston were both charged with larceny in the third degree, forgery in the first degree, organized retail theft, possession of a shoplifting device, and conspiracy for organized retail theft. Alson was additionally charged with making an illegal turn, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and misuse of registration plates. Dise was additionally charged with possession of less than 1/2 ounce of marijuana. Dise and Alston were each held on a $25,000 bond and will appear in Middletown Superior Court.   [Source: Zip06]

Hackers can infiltrate police body cameras to tamper with evidence

The use of body cameras by law enforcement is a controversial subject. While such technologies can help protect police officers by deterring inappropriate physical behavior and also give citizens who have been unjustly accused of crimes some means of evidence to the contrary, the issue of transparency around such footage is still in question. A new, proposed policy, for example, will mandate that LAPD officers must release footage within 45 days, which will turn on its head current stipulations that footage is withheld unless critical to a court case.

Studies suggest that body cams have little effect on police abuse but footage may prove useful in criminal prosecutions, leading to the rapid adoption of such technologies. Such technologies do not come without risk, however, and now it seems this potential evidence is now at risk of modification or outright deletion due to a multiple of vulnerabilities in body camera software. Speaking at DefCon in Las Vegas, Josh Mitchell, Principal cybersecurity Consultant at Nuix outlined a variety of ways in which footage can be accessed remotely, potentially leading to the compromise of evidence.  [Source: ZD Net]

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