Breaking News in the Industry: August 27, 2018

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Alleged mastermind among those arraigned for massive theft ring

The alleged mastermind of a Canton Township crime ring specializing in stolen goods was among the people who faced a judge Tuesday in court. A half-million dollars’ worth of stolen goods was found in storage units, a warehouse and homes in Detroit and Dearborn earlier this month. Investigators said it’s evidence of an organized theft ring. The crime ring spans several months and involves at least five people.

On Tuesday afternoon, the accused ringleader was among those who faced a judge. But one of the defendants, arrested for stealing the merchandise, told the judge she had no idea her crimes were part of a bigger ring. Earlier this month, Sky 4 was over a storage facility in Dearborn where investigators recovered more than $500,000 in stolen merchandise. Prosecutors said the items were taken from CVS and Walgreens stores throughout Wayne County. “This type of crime is the reason businesses in Wayne County and other counties cannot operate,” prosecuting attorney Fadwa Hammoud said. The accused ringleader is Nafez Mohammed. He’s the only person who was released on bail. Mohammed faces more than 30 charges, including organized retail crime. He is accused of filling the storage unit with the stolen items before reselling them online.

Prosecutors said Mohammed had up to four people going into the stores taking anything they could grab. They believe Victoria Henderson was one of them. “She barely missed a day, sometimes attacking businesses seven times a day,” Hammoud said. Now Henderson is behind bars and facing more than 50 charges. She told the courtroom she didn’t know about the crime ring. “I didn’t know nothing about no organized crime because I’m by myself,” Henderson said.

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In her arraignment, Henderson claims she worked with detectives to bring down Mohammed. “I was promised not to go to jail as long as they got Mohammed,” Henderson said. Now Mohammed has bonded out, and Henderson is among those still behind bars with bail they can’t afford. “Can you please lower my bond, your honor? Henderson asked.  “I don’t have $5,000. I have seven kids.” It took more than two hours to get everyone arraigned. Valencia Davie and Deon Davie from Detroit were also charged in the case.  [Source: ClickOnDetroit]

Port of Los Angeles estimates 25% of its cargo could be affected by tariffs

The largest U.S. port could see a quarter of its cargo affected by upcoming tariffs, Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles said in an interview with CNBC. Still, the potential impact does not detract from the otherwise strong growth seen by the port. “We have seen not only the normal peak season rush for back to school goods, fall fashion and year-end holidays … (but also) the cargo moving in with purchase orders advanced to avoid potential tariffs,” Seroka said. “For the next couple of months we see the volumes remaining strong,” he added. The port handled 833,000 TEUs in July, a record number for the month, which was also the fourth-strongest single-month figure in the port’s history, Port Technology reports.   [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]

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Employees accused of stealing 27 hotel TVs

Three employees have been charged for allegedly stealing a number of big-screen TVs from the Marriott City Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, authorities say.

 Officials say the three men stole 27 49-inch TVs from the hotel. The individuals being charged are Gregory Keith Davis, 50, of Bailey, Mario Esteban Aguirre, 59, of Knightdale and Eugene Bragdon, 53, of Raleigh.

 According to the arrest warrants, Davis stole 13 49-inch TVs totaling $6,500.

 Aguirre allegedly stole three 49-inch TVs, totaling $1,500. 

Bragdon was said to have stolen 11 49-inch TVs and a mattress, totaling $5,700.

 Altogether, police said the employees stole $13,700 worth of valuables from the hotel.

 All three men have been charged with larceny by employee, and felony conspiracy.   [Source: ABC11 Eyewitness News]

Woman charged with allegedly stealing nearly $2,000 in merchandise

A Baltimore woman suspected of allegedly stealing from Kohl’s has been charged, according to court records and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. Alexis Carolin Kelly Nickens, 24, of the 1900 block of Lauretta Avenue, was arrested last week and charged with theft $1,500 to $25,000 after she allegedly stole merchandise valued at $1,956 from Kohl’s in the first block of Bel Air South Parkway, in the Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center, on July 30.

The loss prevention manager, who said two women were in the store and that he recognized one from an earlier theft on July 30, according to charging documents, called a deputy to the store on Aug. 4.  The two were still in the store and had loaded up a shopping cart, the loss prevention manager told police, according to court records. While the manager and deputy were talking outside, the manager pointed out the pair walking out of the store; they did not have a shopping cart with them, according to charging documents.

The deputy approached the two women and the loss prevention manager identified one of them, Nickens, as a suspect from the July 30 theft, according to charging documents. An arrest warrant was issued Aug. 4, and Nickens was arrested Aug. 16; she was taken to Harford County Detention Center, where she was released on her own recognizance, according to court records. A trial is scheduled Oct. 2 in Harford County District Court.   [Source: The Baltimore Sun]

Crime ring stole millions before being dismantled

Members of a theft ring based out of Kentucky spent years stealing millions worth of cargo from tractor trailers traveling along the interstate, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In May 2018, a federal judge in Indiana sentenced four leaders of the interstate cargo theft ring to lengthy prison terms. In all, a dozen defendants that were part of the organization, which had ties to the Cuban mob in Miami, have been convicted of stealing more than $30 million in cargo between 2012 and 2015.

“The crimes charged in the indictment exceeded $30 million during a roughly three-year period,” said Special Agent Paul Meyer, who investigated the case from the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “But we believe during a span of six or seven years, this criminal group stole over $100 million worth of cargo.” Members of the theft ring traveled around the country to pick their targets—often shipping facilities in the Midwest used by national companies to distribute cell phones, computers, clothing, cigarettes, and a range of other products. The criminals would surveil a facility, target a tractor-trailer leaving the distribution center, and then follow the rig—sometimes for a day or more—to find the appropriate time and place to steal it, usually when the driver pulled into a truck stop to rest or refuel.

“The crews were very sophisticated,” Meyer said, explaining that many of the thefts were committed at truck stops near interstate highways in Indiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, and all types of electronics, especially cell phones, were favored targets. The thieves typically worked in four-man crews. “Two crew members would do surveillance in cars,” Meyer said. “A third would break into the tractor, get it running, and then turn it over to the fourth member of the team, who would drive the stolen load away.”   [Source: LEX18]

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … coffee? IBM’s drone project

In recent earnings, IBM has appeared to pull itself out of its revenue woes. In its latest technology venture, Big Blue is embracing drones for coffee delivery, as first spotted by the Financial Times. A patent filed by the company on August 7 said the drones will be equipped with artificial intelligence to determine an individual’s mental state. “A caffeine containing drink is to be delivered to individuals that would like the drink, or who has a predetermined cognitive state, using an unmanned aerial vehicle/drone,” according to the patent. Analysis of the delivery’s recipients can include profiles, calendar information and even sleep cycle data, which can be used to construct a “predetermined cognitive state.” Sensors will be used to identify a person’s cognitive state or to understand a gesture suggesting the person wants a drink.   [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]