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Breaking News in the Industry: February 1, 2018

Employee accused of stealing $27,000 from store

A Target employee is accused of stealing $27,000 in cash from a Boynton Beach, Florida, store and placing it in his pockets. Boynton Beach Police arrested Kasey Lorgen, 20, of West Palm Beach for grand theft on January 31. An asset protection associate at Target investigated Lorgen for missing money from registers since July 2017, according to a police report. Lorgen’s employee ID was linked to each of those registers. The associate said Lorgen is the only person that empties each register at the end of the night when the store closes. He then puts the money into the back room, bundles the money, and places it into a safe. Surveillance video allegedly captures Lorgen taking cash out of red bags and placing it into his pockets. He’s also allegedly seen taking money out of registers and placing it into his pants pockets. Records show Lorgen confessed to the AP associate to taking cash while he was working. He told a Boynton Beach Police officer that he took the cash because he needed money for school and bills. He said he was working alone and would deposit the cash directly into his bank account. He said he knew what he was doing was wrong, but couldn’t help it. He appeared before a Palm Beach County judge Wednesday morning and was ordered to not have contact with any Target. He does not have a criminal record, court records show.  [Source: KPAX8 News]

Shoplifting suspect suffers seizure after foot chase ends

A shoplifting suspect suffered an apparent seizure after a foot chase ended at Sam’s Club. Andrea Toni Jamez, 44, of Ocala, Florida, had been suspected of shoplifting Monday morning and was approached by a loss prevention associate at Kohl’s, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. Jamez and another woman ran across U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and were detained when they reached the parking lot at Sam’s Club. A syringe containing heroin was discovered in Jamez’s purse. She was arrested on charges of possession of heroin and retail theft. While she was being transported in a squad car to the Lake County Jail, Jamez “started flopping around in the backseat and her eyes rolled back.” The police officer feared Jamez was having a seizure and pulled over into the parking lot of Ollies Bargain Outlet in Leesburg. EMS arrived on the scene and Jamez was transported to Leesburg Regional Medical Center. After she was medically cleared, she was booked at the Lake County Jail. Bond was set at $5,500.  [Source: Villages-News]

Man pulls hammer on employee after shoplifting

A local man in Memphis, Tennessee, was arrested after police said he was caught shoplifting from a store and pulled a hammer on the victim.  According to the arrest affidavit, Darren Conway, 25, is charged with theft of property and aggravated assault.  On Monday, police were called to Target. As the officers approached the store from the rear, they noticed a red truck, which matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle and began pursuit. It is not clear exactly what was used to bring the truck to a stop. The arrest affidavit only said the officers “operated emergency equipment to stop the vehicle.”  After he was taken into custody, police said Conway admitted to shoplifting from the store eight different times and the assault with the hammer.  Target told FOX13 the employee was not harmed during this experience. [Source: Fox13 News]

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NJ man sent to prison for role in massive $200M credit card fraud

A New Jersey man who owned a Jersey City jewelry store that played a central role in a credit card fraud scheme that stole about $200 million by creating more than 7,000 false identities was sentenced Tuesday to a year in prison. Sat Verma, 65, of the Iselin section of Woodbridge, will also be subject to three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $270,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. He previously pleaded guilty to access device fraud. U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson handed out the sentence in federal court in Trenton. The case is one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever prosecuted by the federal government. Verma was sentenced in the case along with Qaiser Khan, 53, of Valley Stream, New York. They are the last of 22 defendants to be sentenced. Khan got six months in prison, five years of supervised release and a $1,000 fine. Khan earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The operation spanned 28 states and eight countries and involved three jewelry stores in Jersey City, including Tanishq Jewels, which was owned by Verma.
Federal agents and Jersey City police raided the stores in April 2011.  [Source:]

Arizona man arrested in 21 thefts of home improvement stores in 5 cities

A Chandler, Arizona,  man has been arrested in connection with 21 thefts of home improvement stores, in five valley cities, since August.  Chandler police report they arrested 35-year-old Jude Arthur Gonzalez on January 23 at a home in Chandler, near Arizona Avenue and Frye Road.  Police say Gonzalez is connected to 21 thefts of Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart stores in  Chandler, Gilbert, Avondale, Mesa, and Glendale. Store surveillance video reportedly showed he used four different vehicles in the thefts, mostly a 2006 silver Lexus. Officials were able to track the vehicle to Gonzalez. Police say additional reports from the stores are still coming in, but they estimate the total loss to be between $30,000-$40,000.  He’s been charged with retail theft. [Source: ABC15 Arizona News]

Rob a pot shop, serve more time. A bill in the state Legislature could make it happen

It’s dark. The store is about to close. An employee hears something, looks past display cases filled with marijuana paraphernalia and spots a pistol being aimed at his or her head. The robber’s face is concealed. The gun does the talking. Where’s the money? It’s a scene marijuana retailers across Washington state have become familiar with and why some are rallying behind a proposed bill in the state Legislature that could require people caught robbing pot shops to serve more prison time. At least eight Washington marijuana retailers have been robbed at gunpoint in the past six months, most of them in the Puget Sound area. The crimes usually are committed by a group of armed men who enter the store before closing and steal items or demand money, according to police.

Sometimes, they resort to violence. One pot-shop employee in Eastern Washington was found dead after being kidnapped during a shift in September. That same month an employee at a White Center store was shot in the shoulder during a robbery; two months later an employee at a Spokane shop also was shot during a robbery and survived. “The criminal element inside Washington state that’s decided they don’t want to do nice things to make their money have identified pot shops as being an incredibly lucrative, completely unguarded target,” said state Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, who introduced the bill. Under Irwin’s bill, judges would be allowed — but not required — to tack on a year more of prison time to the sentence of any person who robbed a marijuana retailer. “The idea is to send a clear message: Find some place else because if you do it here you’re going to do more time,” Irwin said.. [Source: The News-Tribune]

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