Breaking News in the Industry: February 16, 2018

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Two employees charged with theft of $128K Of baseball equipment; 3 arrested

Three people were arrested after detectives uncovered the theft of $128,000 in retail value of baseball equipment. Reports stated 32-year-old Rebecca M. Knight and 34-year-old Rachel D. Patterson worked at Wilson Sporting Goods in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Authorities said they have both been charged with theft of property ($10,000-$60,000). The owner of the store first contacted authorities after noticing a “significant amount of items missing from their warehouse.” “Detectives were able to develop strong leads which led to the arrests of these three individuals,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan.

“This was a complex scheme and thankful that their loss prevention team remained vigilant in recognizing the missing items which were strategically taken over a period of time.” Also arrested was 35-year-old Terry L. Averitt. Officials said while Knight and Patterson worked together to steal the items from the business, Averitt received them from the two women and transported them in his vehicle. Averitt was released from the Wilson County Jail after posting at $20,000 bond. Knight and Patterson were being held on a $20,000 bond each. They were all three scheduled to appear in court on February 20. [Source: News Channel5]

Ohio women in theft ring taking perfume, clothes, purses from malls

Police are trying to stop a theft ring that’s been busy at local malls. A group of women are hitting stores and walking about with thousands of dollars in perfume as well as purses, clothes and shoes. Detectives think up to 10 women are working in teams of three, sometimes five, and targeting Liberty Center , in Liberty Township, Ohio and other stores. They change up their appearance and up to this point have managed to elude police. Three of the people involved in the alleged theft ring are seen in a store surveillance photo. They are suspected of stealing $3,500 worth of perfume from the Dillard’s store at Liberty Center. Butler County Sheriff’s Detective Kim Peters says this team has a game plan when entering the store. Detective Peters says the thieves have not only been targeting perfume from Dillard’s, they have also been stealing clothing, boots and purses.

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In a separate theft, $5,000 worth of purses were stolen. Other stores at the complex, like Victoria Secrets, have also been hit. What happens to the merchandise? Investigators say it quickly turns up on a Facebook app called “Marketplace” to be sold. Members of the ring have been hard to catch. There have been several thefts at Liberty Center in recent weeks. One woman was caught on camera stealing purses from the Dillard’s store. She is believed to be operating separately from the women allegedly involved in the theft ring. While elusive for now, detectives are confident they will catch the thieves. You might ask why stores can’t stop thieves such as these. Well, many stores have a policy of not confronting a suspect, and they will call law enforcement. Sometimes that is too late. Detectives say the women are also suspected of thefts from stores at Northgate Mall and Tri-County Mall. A blue Chrysler is believed to be the getaway car. If you recognize any of the suspects, please call CrimeStoppers at (513) 352-3040. [Source: WKRC Local12 News]

Teen Arrested for ‘Organized Retail Theft’

A Hartford, Connecticut,  teen has been charged with two types of larceny and the blanket crime of “organized retail theft,” police said. Leonna Jones, 19, surrendered on a warrant Feb. 8 and was charged with two counts of third-degree larceny a single count of fifth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny and organized retail theft, according to a report. He has a court date of Feb. 21, according to a report.

The organized retail charge was enacted in the state in 2010, and is defined as…”Any person who, for financial gain and in conjunction with one or more other persons, commits larceny by shoplifting, as defined in section 53a-119 of the general statutes, of retail property having an aggregate value exceeding two thousand dollars and (1) wrongfully takes such property during a period of one hundred eighty days, or (2) sells, delivers or otherwise transfers such property to a retail property fence, shall have committed the offense of organized retail theft.”  [Source: Glastonbury Patch]

Verizon to begin locking phones to combat device theft

The carrier says that it is concerned about stemming thieves, be it person-to-person or through the supply chain, and their would-be revenue streams. and Verizon says it is taking this measure to deter theft that occurs before customers purchase phones, and that Verizon will unlock the phones for customers after they’re purchased. This change does not impact the spirit of that agreement as it is created to deter theft by those who engage in identity theft or other fraud. The company will unlock its phones whether the device is paid off or not and will continue to sign unlocked devices from other networks. However, it may also make it more hard for customers to take their business to a competitor if a better deal becomes available, or use their phone on a local network when traveling outside of the United States. Increasing the waiting period to unlock the smartphone to after activation could further reduce theft, Verizon argues. Verizon will no longer sell unlocked smartphones from now on. “We need to protect our employees from criminals with guns and protect customers from criminals who try to use their identities to fraudulently purchase phones.”  [Source: The Insider Car News]

Department store made a change that encourages theft and that Wall Street hates… but it’s great for business

Nordstrom has stopped locking its fitting room doors. The move has led to increased rates of theft and miffed some Wall Street analysts, but the retailer is standing by its decision, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Analysts don’t like it,” Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom, told the Journal. “But I’m thinking about the next 50 years, not the next quarter.” Nordstrom did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Prior to the policy change, shoppers had to seek out a Nordstrom employee to unlock a fitting room if they wanted to try on clothing. Also, since the fitting room doors automatically locked when closed, if customers briefly left the room for any reason — such as to grab another size of an item — they would be locked out. This could be seen as a burden to both customers and Nordstrom employees. The department store chain axed the locking policy in November, according to the Journal. Now, customers can enter and leave fitting rooms as they please, without the help of an employee. The new policy is one of many changes that Nordstrom has been making in its stores to boost sales and shopper traffic. The company has also been remodeling its stores to feature a more open layout and plans to open men’s-only and women’s only stores in the next year.  [Source: Business Insider]

Montblanc secures $32M in counterfeiting claim

Montblanc-Simplo, a business within luxury goods group Richemont, has secured nearly $32.2 million in damages against a counterfeiter. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division granted Montblanc’s motion for default judgment on Tuesday, February 13, after the defendant failed to respond to the complaint.   Montblanc filed its suit in April last year, adding Miroslav Ilnitskiy as a defendant in September, after Montblanc’s investigator purchased counterfeit products from a website. Headquartered in Germany, Montblanc designs and sells writing instruments and accessories, watches and leather goods. Ilnitskiy had registered the domain name montblancua.com in August 2015 and, shortly after, the defendant configured the website to replicate Montblanc’s genuine website, displaying Montblanc’s copyright-protected content and the Montblanc trademarks. The defendant was also using Instagram accounts to sell the counterfeit items, such as pens. In January, Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan recommended Montblanc’s motion for default judgment be granted. Earlier this week, District Judge Leonie Brinkema ordered that default judgment totalling nearly $32.2 million be granted against Ilnitskiy. The figure consisted of $150,000 in statutory damages for violations of the Copyright Act and $2 million in statutory damages for each of the 16 identified trademark violations. Ilnitskiy was also enjoined from displaying Montblanc’s copyright-protected images and websites and from selling goods featuring the company’s trademarks.  [Source: World Intellectual Property Review]