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Breaking News in the Industry: February 15, 2018

Five women charged in thefts from store; one allegedly used pepper spray on LP

Five women were arrested Friday after allegedly trying to steal merchandise from Target in Bel Air, Maryland, town police said. Officers from Bel Air Police Department responded to Target, for a report of a robbery and assault that involved the use of pepper-spray on two employees. The store’s Asset Protection associates had been watching the five women in the store because of “suspicious activity,” according to court documents. The women, whose ages range from 19 to 21, were confronted by the AP associates as they left the store. Several of them fled with clothing items, according to court records, and employees recovered about $600 worth. While trying to recover some of the property, one of the women, Ka’Briea Pennington, 21, of Baltimore, allegedly used pepper spray on two employees, according to the charging documents. Pennington was also sprayed in the face. Another Bel Air Police officer spotted the car the women were allegedly fleeing in and stopped it on Route 24 near West Ring Factory Road, according to court records. When the officer spoke with the people inside, one was using milk to wash her face, “a common practice to wash off pepper spray,” according to police. A Target associate identified all five of the women in the car as the theft suspects at Target, according to charging documents.  [Source: The Baltimore Sun]

In time for Valentine’s Day, CBP seizes $31M in fake perfume

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex have seized 475,056 bottles of imported perfume bearing counterfeit trademarks in the recent months leading up to Valentine’s Day. If genuine, the seized perfumes had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $31 million. Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2018, Oct. 1, 2017, to Jan. 31, 2018, CBP officials have intercepted 11 shipments containing counterfeit and confusingly similar fragrances in violation of the registered trademarks belonging to 34 top name brands. Counterfeit brands included Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Guess, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Victoria Secret, and Perry Ellis among others. Counterfeiters mislead consumers by creating products that are confusingly similar to the real commodity. Upon first glance you see the name brand packaging, both box and perfume bottle have colors resembling those of the genuine products. Oftentimes the perfumes state they are manufactured in France to emphasize a more luxurious product, but upon closer look, they are actually made in China. [Source: American Journal of Transportation]

Employee accused of stealing from store where he worked

A Best Buy employee in Marlboro, Massachusetts, was arrested Wednesday after police say he stole numerous electronics valued at more than $7,000 during the past six months. Best Buy officials conducted an investigation after several items went missing from the Donald Lynch Boulevard store. A corporate loss prevention associate and store manager called police Wednesday after identifying employee Christopher Warman, 35, as the suspect, said police spokesman Detective Scott DeCiero. Store officials gave police an inventory of the stolen items that included iPads, computers, Apple watches, Fitbits, a Madden 18 PlayStation 4 game, Apple airpods and Apple pencils, said Detective DeCiero. A police report did not indicate how the items were removed from the store. Warman, of of 203 Belmont St., Apt. 2, in Worcester, was arrested at the store Wednesday night. He was charged with eight counts of larceny over $250 and one count of larceny under $250. [Source: Telegram]

LP Solutions

Retailers say data breach notification law should cover all affected businesses and ‘leave no holes’

Any new data breach notification law passed by Congress should cover all industries that handle consumer data and “leave no holes” that would allow events like last year’s Equifax breach to remain hidden, the National Retail Federation and other groups told lawmakers today. “American consumers want to know if their data has been breached no matter where the breach occurs,” NRF Vice President and Senior Policy Counsel Paul Martino said. “No industry should be allowed to keep its data breaches secret.” The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on data breaches on Wednesday, and NRF is concerned that the session will lead to a repeat of unsuccessful 2015 legislation that would have made notification mandatory for retailers but voluntary for financial institutions.

Banks will be represented at the hearing but retailers have not been invited. NRF prefers the approach being taken by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which held a “listening session” last week where representatives of a cross section of industries that would be affected by a breach law were allowed to voice their concerns. In a letter sent to the Financial Services Committee today, NRF, NRF’s National Council of Chain Restaurants and other trade associations representing convenience stores, restaurants, truck stops, gasoline stations, grocers, real estate agents, franchises, hotels and the travel industry said they support a uniform federal law governing what business must do when credit card or other data is breached, but said it should apply to all businesses that handle sensitive consumer data.  [Source: Business Wire]

Mother-daughter team accused of $250K in lingerie thefts

In California, authorities say a mother-daughter panty-bandit crew was responsible for the theft of $250,000 worth of merchandise from Victoria’s Secret stores over two years 
 
The investigation began after police say the retailer’s stores in Oxnard and Thousand Oaks were hit with a series of five thefts over four months with a loss of nearly $15,000 in merchandise.

Each time, the method was the same: three people, two women and a female teen, would enter a store with a baby stroller and fill it up with merchandise. Then one person would distract the sales staff while the other two pushed the stroller out of the store.

- Digital Partner -

Police worked with Victoria’s Secret Loss Prevention to review surveillance video and other evidence and were eventually able to identify and locate their suspects. 

The suspects were identified as Los Angeles residents Maria Karina Perez, 38, her daughter Melissa Susana Partida, 19, and an unidentified female juvenile, age 15.

 Thousand Oaks detectives say the trio also traveled to the Bay Area and committed a string of thefts from Victoria’s Secret stores using the same methods with a stroller there.

 The retailer estimates the crew is responsible for some $250,000 in thefts from its stores.

 All three were arrested and booked for commercial burglary. Partida also faces two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  [Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News]

Cargo theft dropped by 15% in 2017

An annual report compiled by SensiGuard’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center (SCIC) indicates that the number of recorded cargo thefts in the U.S. dropped to 649 in 2017, a 15% decline in volume from 2016, roughly averaging out to 54 thefts per month in the U.S. or about two per day last year. However, the average value of cargo thefts increased slightly in 2017 , up 0.01%,  compared to 2016, the group noted, with the U.S. still ranked “high” on the SCIC five-point risk scale, which ascends from “low” through “moderate,” “elevated,” “high” and finally “severe.” “While 2017 continued the downward trend in reported U.S. cargo thefts, this does not indicate a decline in risk, but rather that organized cargo thieves are honing in on shipments that they know can be fenced easily,” the group stressed in its report. “Coupled with the average loss value remaining steady, this points to thieves refining their methods to reduce chance of capture or the need to abandon the shipment due to law enforcement pursuit.  [Source: American Trucker]

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