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Breaking News in the Industry: December 13, 2018

Good Samaritans help foil $4,000 shoplifting spree; 2 injured

Police in Greenwood, Indiana, said they have arrested two women after their mall shoplifting spree Saturday turned downright violent. The alleged thieves were accused of using pepper spray and their vehicle as weapons once they were confronted by witnesses. Residents were relieved to hear that police caught them. Police said they believe 29-year-old Dominique Sheridan and 44-year-old Tina Rabiu went inside Sears and stole three carts filled with merchandise totaling more than $4,000.

One man followed the women out of the store and called security. When security tried to stop them from loading the stuff into their car, investigators said, Rabiu sprayed the man using pepper spray. “Wow. That’s insane. I didn’t realize that it escalated to a dangerous situation,” said Jeff Miner, who works nearby. Police said Sheridan then got behind the wheel and ran over the security guard’s foot and then hit another shopper causing her to land on the car’s hood. Witnesses said Sheridan drove about 9 feet before the woman fell off of the car. An off-duty officer arrested both Rabiu and Sheridan after seeing them speed off. No serious injuries were reported, and the merchandise was returned.   [Source: WISH8 News]

‘Wrong Way’ chase after fleeing suspect

A Lakewood, New Jersey, man is in custody after leading police on a high-speed pursuit that police called off at least once to protect other drivers on the road. Dante Holly, 28, was eventually arrested after the chase that started around 5:50 on Saturday evening when police were called to the Jackson Premium Outlets on a reported shoplifting. An officer heading to the outlets reported hearing “the revving of a car engine and screeching tires” as he drove on Cassville road.

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The officer then reported seeing a silver Nissan driving south in the northbound lanes, causing oncoming traffic to swerve out of the way, police said. When the officer attempted to stop the Nissan, the driver sped away, continuing to cross double lines and endanger other drivers, according to police. The original officer stopped the pursuit due to heavy traffic, but the Nissan was again spotted by another officer on West Veterans Highway  as it was going 80 mph in a 50 mph zone, according to police. A brief pursuit resumed again but was quickly called off due to unsafe driving conditions.

While the search for the suspect continued, police returned to the outlets to gather more information, at which time Holly was identified. With the help of the Lakewood Police Department, both Holly and the car were found in the neighboring town. Holly was taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest, speeding, reckless driving, careless driving and other offenses. Police also impounded his vehicle as part of the investigation.   [Source: NJ 101.5 News]

One city’s zero-tolerance shoplifting policy; does it work?

When the number of shoplifting cases surged in the city of Auburn, Maine, earlier this year, the police department instituted a new, no nonsense policy. Police started arresting and charging people and posting their mugshots on Facebook. “For the months of February and March there was a 178% above last year when it came to shoplifting incidents.” Chief Moen says.

The chief says the department decided to get proactive and institute a zero tolerance shoplifting policy. If you’re caught you’ll be arrested and brought to jail. And your mug shot will be posted on the police departments Facebook page, which reaches up to 15 thousand people. “If they know they’re going to end up on Facebook with the arrest info, hopefully that will deter them from doing that.”

It’s been a little over 6 months and the new policy is starting to work. he says “we’re seeing a 25% decrease in our monthly average.” Fewer shoplifting cases is good news for Auburn’s overall crime rate and a big benefit for local businesses. Quentin Chapman is a loss prevention specialist at Roopers Redemption. “After he put that policy together we saw our theft decrease exponentially. It was impressive.” Chapman says he appreciates Auburn PD’s policy because it sends more than just a message. “If you do something you need to own it and be held accountable and what they’re doing is holding them accountable.” Chapman says “theft is theft, it’s not a victimless crime. If I lose a $60 bottle, at 15% i’m selling 6 or 7 before I make a profit again. So it costs somebody somewhere.”

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Chief Moen says no matter what a persons motivation is to steal, turning to crime is not the answer. “There are resources out there that you need to use and committing a crime is not one of those resources.” Police say the spike in shoplifting, is in part, fueled by drug use. Another growing method of shoplifting is “skip scanning”. When shoppers go to a self-checkout and don’t scan or pay for all of their items. [Source: NewsCenter Maine]

Three arrested after multiple jewelry store robberies

Police in Knoxville, Tennessee, have arrested three suspects for multiple jewelry store heists that span several states. One suspect was spotted grabbing two rings and fleeing the Kay Jewelers on Knoxville Center Drive Monday afternoon. “An individual had gone in there and asked to see a couple different types of jewelry. When the clerk showed it to him, he grabbed them both and ran,” said Brian Foulks, an investigator with the Knoxville Police Department. The suspect was seen robbing a Zales Store in West Town Mall hours later. Officers continued to track the suspect until he was seen again inside a Kay Jewelers on Parkside Drive. This time the officers were waiting for him. He was arrested without incident.

“Internally different stores were talking to each other as well,” said Foulks. Then officers discovered a car with two men sitting behind the building across from the Kay’s. The other two suspects tried to flee and committed a hit-and-run near Campbell Station Road in an attempt to evade arrest. Officers stopped them about a block away. When the officers investigated the car, they discovered hidden car tags and a pair of stolen earrings from Zales.

“Sometimes they’re pawned, sometimes they’re traded for different items, drugs or what not. Some people pay cash for them,” said Foulks. Kordarious Childs, 24, was charged with theft. John Brown, 30, is also charged with theft with other outstanding warrants. Xavier Carter, 23, is charged with theft, felony evading and leaving the scene of an accident. All three suspects face additional pending charges, with multiple cases pending from Shelby, Hamilton and Davidson counties in Tennessee. They also face charges stemming from other incidents in Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.   [Source: ABC6 News]

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Fraud indictments for 8 Rutgers football players

Eight Rutgers football players who were charged over the summer for a credit card scheme have been indicted, according to Through an Open Public Records Act request, the report states that the players were indicted on nine counts of credit card fraud.

Linebacker Brendan Devera, who was dismissed from the team earlier this year, faced the most serious charge, but that was dropped. He was tabbed as an “organizer” of the scheme and was hit with second-degree charges of fraud. According to police, Devera recruited the seven other players to help steal $11,450 from the alleged victims. “We’re excited that the grand jury decided not to indict Mr. Devera on the most serious charge,” Ron Ricci, DeVera’s attorney, said.

K.J. Gray, who was also dismissed from the team, is facing six third-degree charges, two fourth-degree charges and a second-degree charge of promoting organized street crime, notes. Malik Vaccaro-Dixon, Edwin Lopez, Kwabena “Kobe” Marfo, Syhiem Simmons, Christian “C.J.” Onyechi and Naijee Jones all face several third- and fourth-degree charges. They also were suspended from the team. The court date for all eight players will be on January 3 at the Middlesex County Superior Court.   [Source: Sporting News]

New pot shops bring in $7 million already

The two Massachusetts marijuana retail shops that are open have brought in a total of $7 million since opening on November 20. Numbers released by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission say the two stores pulled in $2.2 million over seven days in December. That’s on top of $4.8 million they took in the first two weeks of operation.

The two open stores are Cultivate in the Worcester County town of Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton. They sold a total of 57,127 “units,” or measured-out marijuana and marijuana products, like chocolate bars and lotions, between December 3 and December 9. The stores are taxed, with the 6.25 percent sales tax, a 10.75 percent excise tax, and a 3 percent local tax. The commission released the numbers the same day that regulators gave a third shop in Salem, Alternative Therapies Group, the okay to open later this week, making it the first one in eastern Massachusetts.   [Source: MassLive]

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