Breaking News in the Industry: February 18, 2019

Employee arrested for stealing $19,000 in electronics in 2 days

A Tallahassee, Florida, man was arrested Friday in connection with stealing nearly $20,000 worth of Apple products while working at Best Buy. In November, Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) was notified by the electronics store on Apalachee Parkway of employee theft. An assistant manager told investigators Apple products were missing and there were no receipts to document the items being sold.

Surveillance footage from October showed Wenly Geffrard retrieving merchandise from the back room and bringing it to the cash register. Once at the register, Geffrard would either not ring it up or would act as if he was, according to court records. During a two-day period, the 22-year-old stole four Apple MacBook Pros and nine Apple iPhone XS Maxes of varying colors, according to court documents. It is unknown whether Geffrard received payments for the stolen items. He was charged with swindling less than $20,000 worth of property.   [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]

Shoplifter gets 3 years for hitting bystander while fleeing

A 48-year-old Fall River, Massachusetts, man with an extensive criminal history dating back to the early 1990s who after being caught shoplifting at a Walmart store in Fall River recklessly backed up his vehicle and struck an elderly woman was sentenced to three years in state prison this week, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced. Rodney Hunt pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon—causing serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of personal injury, operating a motor vehicle to endanger and shoplifting. On June 2, 2017, the defendant walked out of Walmart on Quequechan Street with a tent without paying for it.

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The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Cahillane and the three-year state prison term was imposed by Judge Renee Dupuis. The defendant was also placed on probation for an additional three years. “After being caught shoplifting, the defendant backed his car up through a parking lot and struck an 82-year-old woman who was just walking to her own car. This defendant has a history of criminal behavior and continues to re-offend,” Quinn said. Unfortunately, his conduct caused the victim significant physical injuries of a broken ankle and cuts along with undue distress. “The public needs to be protected from this defendant,” said Quinn.   [Source: The Herald News]

Samsung set to open their first US retail stores

As Samsung celebrates the ten year anniversary of its Galaxy line, the Korean hardware giant has announced that it will open its first retail stores in the US. The company plans to open three Samsung Experience Stores at locations around the US with one at the Americana at Brand in Los Angeles, one at Roosevelt Field on Long Island in Garden City, New York and one at the Galleria in Houston, Texas.

Samsung’s new retail stores will open on February 20, the same day the Galaxy S10 and the firm’s foldable smartphone are unveiled at an event in San Francisco. The company also plans to launch pop-up stores at other malls throughout the US next month. In 2013, Samsung partnered with Best Buy to offer minishops within the retailer’s stores and in 2016 the company opened its Samsung 837 showroom in New York’s Meatpacking District to provide consumers with demos of its products.    [Source: TechRadar]

Three felonious fraudsters charged with credit / gift card scheme

Three men from Florida were charged in Dakota County District Court Feb. 1 for allegedly making about $24,000 worth of fraudulent gift card purchases in Eagan. Officers responded to a call Jan. 30 from a retail in store on a report of three men involved in a scam. Law enforcement approached Jerry Noel, 37, of Hollywood; Yves Junior Nazien, 33, of North Lauderdale; and Claudet Omega, 40, of Miami Gardens, in the parking lot of the store. They found several credit cards on every suspect. Noel had one that appeared to be brand new, but the letters and numbers on the card were embossed and didn’t appear to be manufactured by a company or bank.

A loss prevention associate told officers that the suspects have been known to the store for about three months. The employee said they were suspected of multiple cases of fraud across the metro. Earlier that day, the employee said the three suspects purchased thousands worth of gift cards at a self checkout kiosk and exited the store. LP associates  called a manager with the credit card company and they discovered the cards belonged to other people. The cards were new and had been sent out about a week prior.  Law enforcement believes the suspects allegedly used a spoofing application to appear as though they were calling from the victims, and then would ask the bank whether the account was active.

The credit cards belonging to the victims were recovered during the search. One still had the “activate your card today” sticker on it. Noel said the cards belonged to them. He stated the three had flown in from Florida about a week ago. Law enforcement is investigating if the incident is linked to other thefts at the same store. It appears the suspects were responsible for about $24,000 worth of fraudulent purchases, according to the criminal complaint. They were charged with felony financial transaction card fraud (use without consent) (more than $2,500), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.    [Source: SunThisWeek]

Public’s tips get violent shoplifter 3 years behind bars

A convicted thief pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to three years in prison for a violent confrontation with loss prevention associates who confronted him about shoplifting outside a Santa Ana department store. Ryan Quintin Hancock, 43, entered his plea to a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon and admitted the personal use of a deadly weapon. As part of the plea deal, two counts of robbery were dropped.

Police publicly released surveillance video of the suspect in the Jan. 16 conflict with Macy’s security guards last month, which prompted tips that led to Hancock’s arrest, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. Hancock removed some clothes from racks at the store in the MainPlace Mall, about 7 that night and was confronted by LP associates when he walked out of the business with the garments, Bertagna said.

Hancock pulled out a knife from a pocket and swung it toward one of the guards, the corporal said. He then dropped the clothes and ran away. Court records show that Hancock pleaded guilty in May 2014 to a felony count of grand theft and was sentenced to eight months in jail. He also pleaded guilty in February 2014 to possession of stolen goods and was sentenced to 16 months in jail.   [Source: MyNewsLA]

Shoe store chain closing 2300 stores

Footwear retailer Payless ShoeSource is set to shutter all of its 2,300 or so locations as it enters its second bankruptcy in less than two years, unnamed sources told Reuters on Thursday.
 The retailer has failed to find a buyer and plans to liquidate, according to the report. Payless didn’t immediately return Retail Dive’s request for comment.
 The discount shoe company spent last year closing down some stores and cutting jobs at its headquarters after emerging from bankruptcy late in 2017. That plan was agreed to by lenders, which now largely own the company.
   [Source: RetailDIVE]

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