Breaking News in the Industry: December 17, 2018

external theft, organized retail crime methods

Eight arrested in $4M ORC cargo theft ring

Eight New Jersey men have been arrested and a multi-million cargo theft ring has been dismantled, Kearny Police Chief George King announced Saturday. King said the cargo theft ring had been responsible for stealing $4 million in goods from Kearny trucking yards over an 18-month period. The arrests were the result of a multi-agency investigation dubbed Operation Equinox.

Douglas Abarca, 40, of Jersey City was arrested as the ring leader of the group that King said had stolen 15 trailers. Four other Jersey City men, Omar Ortiz, 37, Christopher Williams, 38, David Soliman, 32, and Jesus Navarro, 31, were among the eight arrested. Nelson Pena-Restituyo, 52, of Union City, Sami Khales, 26, of Palisades Park, and Juan Salazar, 40, of Elizabeth, were also arrested between November 30 and December 6.

The stolen merchandise included food items, cosmetics, chemicals, tires, linen, clothing and liquor with an approximate retail value of more than $4 million, King said. The stolen merchandise was stored in warehouses in Linden, North Bergen and Clifton after the thefts.King said the Kearny Police Department is actively investigating these cases. Anyone with information is asked to contact Kearny police at 201.998.1313 or email Kearny PD . All information will be kept confidential. [Source:]

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Duo busted by Holiday Task Force; $35K in baby formula recovered

The Tennessee Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s Organized Retail Crime Holiday Task Force nabbed two Philadelphia men in a baby formula scheme worth more than $35,000. Officers arrested 28-year-old Jinbin Weng and 33-year-old Ouyang Xushou on Wednesday after they were alerted by a local retailer that the pair had passed counterfeit coupons to purchase baby formula.

Authorities say the two had made the coupons to defraud retailers and purchase the formula at a discounted price. The task force, a unit aiming to protect retailers, seized $4,500 in baby formula from their rental van, $13,500 in counterfeit baby formula coupons, and in excess of $17,000 in U.S. currency and gift cards. [Source: Knox News]

Local restaurant dishes out it’s own restorative justice

There’s no doubt stores have issues with shoplifting and many turn to law enforcement to deal with the culprits. But, one store in Detroit Lakes, North Dakota, is dealing with criminals in a different way. Lakeshirts has been on the Detroit Lakes Beach for over 30 years, and last summer, they caught a few kids stealing from the store. Instead of prosecuting them, they took matters into their own hands, struck up a deal with the kid’s parents, and put them to work in the t-shirt factory.

The folks at Lakeshirts declined to comment on their unique take on the legal system, but the Chief of Police not only assured us he approves, he’s also on board as a parent too. “As a father I think the means that Lakeshirts is using to solve this problem really extends some mercy land grace to the people involved and I like seeing that. I think that is needed in our society and you don’t always have to move to a criminal resolution for every thing. Sometimes we can handle things in the way Lakeshirts is handling it,” said Chief Steve Todd of the Detroit Lakes Police. And on a side note for the criminals… Lakeshirts was voted best business to work for in 2018.   [Source: MyNDNow]

Employee and 2 accomplices arrested for Porch Pirate scheme

A seasonal UPS employee in Florida is accused of helping two suspects steal packages from a home in Lake Mary, according to officials from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Deputies said the employee, Okoye Manley, 28, sent text messages to his co-defendants, Tanjinika Wright, 31, and Dekeria Wright, 26, as he delivered packages to homes. All three were arrested Thursday. UPS officials said that Manley is no longer employed by the company. Manley told the two suspects which homes were occupied as they followed along behind his vehicle, according to officials.

Deputies said Dekeria Wright was the driver, while Tanjinika Wright got out of the car to steal the packages. According to an arrest report from the incident, Dekeria and Tanjinika Wright arrived at a home Thursday, about 10 minutes after Manley had delivered a package there. The report states Tanjinika Wright stole the package, which contained a $500 Dyson vacuum cleaner. Surveillance video from the home, released by the Sheriff’s Office, shows Manley delivering the package and Tanjinika Wright taking it.   [Source: Click Orlando]

Employee ships empty boxes; keeps contents

Amazon’s holiday marketing slogan is “Can you feel it?,” but one now-former employee may have misinterpreted it as “Can I steal it?”  The former employee in Florida is accused of stealing nearly $4,000 in merchandise and gift cards and shipping customers empty boxes.

Authorities said Elvis Edgardo Soto, whose job was to pack items for shipping, took the stolen goods from the packaging line in a Lake Nona fulfillment center. Some of the stolen merchandise included several iPhone cases, an Apple Watch band, eyebrow pomade and a toy pony. He was arrested Tuesday and faces felony third-degree grand theft, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He has been released on $500 bond.

A public relations manager for the retail giant confirmed Wednesday that Soto, 20, “no longer works for Amazon.” A loss prevention associate discovered the thefts after running a report for gift cards that had been redeemed within six hours of being issued by the facility, according to the paper.   [Source: Fox News]

Two ‘Grinches’ nabbed after bell ringer thefts

Two suspects have been identified in the theft of a Salvation Army donation kettle outside a Blaine, Minnesota, grocery earlier this month. Hundreds of tips poured in after officials released surveillance video of two people stealing a kettle on December 4 outside the Blaine Cub Foods store at Northtown Mall. One of those tips led investigators to the suspects, according to a statement Friday by Blaine police.

More than 1.3 million people viewed the department’s Facebook post about the theft. It shows thieves apparently using bolt cutters to remove the donation kettle from its stand. The thieves were dubbed “the Two Grinches” on social media.   [Twin Cities Pioneer Press]

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