Breaking News in the Industry: August 22, 2018

Retail theft crew arrested following Apple Store robbery

A ‘retail theft crew’ has been arrested by the Ventura Police after stealing $18,000 worth of iPhones and MacBooks from the Oaks Apple Store in Thousand Oaks, California.

 The Ventura Country Sheriff’s Office detailed the events leading up to the arrests in a release yesterday. Customers detained two of the suspects and the others were caught in a traffic stop.

On August 19, 2018, at approximately 3:17 P.M., three suspects entered the Apple store located in the Oaks Mall. All three suspects were wearing hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up on their heads. Once inside, the three suspects proceeded to steal several Apple IPhones and Apple laptop computers totaling approximately $18,000.00.

All three suspects ran out of the store, and in doing so, ran into a juvenile female customer causing her to fall to the ground. Other customers in the area tackled two of the suspects and detained them until Thousand Oaks Police Department Deputies arrived on scene. These two suspects were identified as Donte Sims of Antioch California and Timothy Terry also of Antioch California.

The third suspect fled the mall and got into a waiting vehicle. Donte Sims and Timothy Terry were arrested for violating Penal Code section 459 – burglary and PC 182(a)(1) – criminal conspiracy.

At approximately 3:36 P.M., a Ventura County Sheriff patrol deputy observed a vehicle with three occupants traveling at a high rate of speed on eastbound State Route 118 in the City of Simi Valley and conducted a traffic stop. Upon contact, the patrol deputy identified the driver as Mona Benoit of Sacramento, passenger Tynisha Noel of Fresno, and passenger Edward Benton of Antioch. The patrol deputy ultimately arrested the driver for driving under influence of a controlled substance.

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A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of the Apple IPhones stolen from the Thousand Oaks Mall Apple store as well as Apple devices stolen during a burglary of an Apple store in Los Angeles County. Thousand Oaks Police Department Detectives identified this group as an Organized Retail Theft Crew and are conducting an investigation into this burglary as well as the burglary that occurred in Los Angeles County. [Source: iClarified]

Two men arrested after $193K heist from casino

Federal prosecutors have arrested two men, including a former employee, for allegedly stealing $192,800 from Wind Creek Montgomery Casino in Alabama last week after an employee left keys on top of a gaming kiosk. The former employee Jory D’Michael Travunn Dumas and Timothy Dean Pettiway were arrested Tuesday and are both charged with theft from a gaming establishment on Indian lands for the Aug. 10 heist, according to federal court documents.

The cash was stolen from two kiosks, or cash machines, after a casino employee checked out the keys and left them atop a kiosk. Dumas, Pettiway’s nephew, was dismissed from the case Friday after prosecutors said the initial investigation had incorrectly identified him as the one who picked up the keys from the kiosk. An FBI review of Wind Creek’s security footage found that Pettiway was the one to take the keys. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Gray Borden on Friday advised Dumas that though his charge had been dismissed, the prosecution could still present charges against him to a future grand jury.

Court documents allege casino employee Courtney Stanton checked out keys to kiosks 8 and 19, while surveillance footage showed her leaving the keys on top of a machine and walking away before Pettiway retrieved the keys.  Footage in court Friday showed a man alleged to be Pettiway taking one cash box from kiosk 19. While the kiosk houses multiple cash boxes with bills of different denominations, court testimony revealed, Pettiway allegedly removed the box of $100 bills. Pettiway then took the box into a restroom Dumas was known to be in. Pettiway later exited, walked to kiosk 8, and repeated the procedure. Around the same time, another casino employee noticed Machine 8 wasn’t working properly. Stanton told tribal police she reported her keys missing to her supervisor and notified security.

Casino security entered the restroom to find empty cash boxes in the handicapped stall from machines 8 and 19.  “Financial records obtained from the Casino reflect $100,800 in $100 bill denominations are unaccounted for from the dispenser cassette assigned to Kiosk machine #8 and $92,000 in $100 bill denominations are unaccounted for from the dispenser cassette assigned to Kiosk machine #19,” court documents state.   [Source: Montgomery Advertiser]

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Cashier accused of stealing from employer

Twenty-nine-year-old Edgar Palafox Mendoza of 27th Street Drive N.E. in Hickory, North Carolina, was arrested by Hickory Police just after three o’clock Friday afternoon (August 10) on two felony counts of larceny by servant or other employee. On Friday, loss prevention associates at Harbor Freight notified Police of a larceny by employee. The employee, Edgar Palafox Mendoza, allegedly made fraudulent transactions in which he returned items selected from the store for a refund. Mendoza was taken into custody without incident at the Hickory Police Department. He was processed and released about 30 minutes later under a $7,500 unsecured bond. An appearance in District Court was scheduled.    [Source: WHKY14 News]

Police investigating $98,000 ramen noodles heist

Fayette County officials in Georgia have confirmed reports regarding a $98,000 ramen noodle heist. The incident occurred about three weeks ago, Lt. Allen Stevens with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While some outlets are reporting the investigation involves a string of robberies, including multiple car break-ins and one motorcycle theft, Stevens told The AJC that’s not the case. The noodles were stolen from a trailer parked at a Chevron at 1552 S Highway 85 in Fayetteville. There have been no updates on the heist as of Wednesday afternoon, Stevens said.  The police report did not specify the brand of noodles.

Fun fact: A single packet of Maruchan Ramen typically costs less than 30 cents at your local grocery store. With $100,000, one could devour more than 300,000 noodle-packed meals, though such a regimen would likely not be doctor-approved. “Between the preservatives and the packaging, instant noodles are a minefield of potential health problems. The more you eat, the worse it is,” Food Revolution reported, citing research from a 2014 Baylor University study that found a link between high consumption of instant noodles and increased risk of metabolic changes linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.   [Source: The Atlanta-Journal Constitution]

How supermarkets can tap into self-checkout tech

To help customers avoid the lengthy lines of traditional checkout counters, supermarkets are turning to self-checkout technology, along with revamped store designs. When retailers don’t have to dedicate space in their brick-and-mortar locations to cash registers, consumers can enjoy less friction during checkout. To make this a reality for established retailers, companies such as Standard Cognition are working to put self-checkout technology in existing stores.

To enable customers to check out without a cashier, some solutions use shelf sensors to keep track of selected items. But this technology can come with downsides, such as cost and time-consuming installation. For a more efficient solution, companies like Standard Cognition use cameras installed on the ceiling, along with computers in the back of the store. “We want stores to be able to create the experiences they want,” Standard Cognition Co-founder and COO Michael Suswal said in an interview with Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Standard Cognition’s checkout systems can be installed in different formats.

In the case of Standard Cognition’s own store, which is opening this summer, the checkout experience starts when a customer walks in and takes out his or her phone. To start ringing up items, customers check in through an app and can then put their phones away, as the technology does all the work. “There’s no gates or scanning involved,” Suswal said, adding that the system requires neither a QR code nor technology such as facial recognition. Developing a system without biometric technology was a challenge, he said, but by taking a stricter approach to privacy, Standard Cognition can better serve a range of international markets that might have higher privacy standards.   [Source: PYMNTS]

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