Breaking News in the Industry: February 19, 2018

Police arrest 3 in connection with theft of 291 card numbers at gas pumps

You pay for a tank of gas with plastic, stick your card back in your wallet and, next thing you know, somebody has used that number to withdraw cash. One round of recent financial identity thefts snatched 291 debit or credit card numbers at two gas stations, one in Roanoke, Virgnia, and one in Collinsville, court papers said. But it was payback time when the alleged culprits stopped at the Blue Eagle Credit Union branch on Electric Road in Roanoke. A credit union employee who remembered earlier suspect transactions by the same people called Roanoke County Police. Officers arrived in time to halt their vehicle at the drive-up ATM. Before the day was out, its three occupants were in jail. Alain Ayo-Una, 22, of Hialeah, Florida; Jeniffer Morejon-Garcia, 26; and Amehed Morejon, 37, were jailed on charges of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting others in the commission of a crime.

Melissa McAllister, U.S. postal inspector, said in court papers that the three had driven 900 miles from South Florida and were “part of a large criminal group” engaged in financial identity theft. Charges are pending in Roanoke federal court. Inside the rented car, officers found $10,278 in cash, two money orders worth $1,350, nine card-skimming devices, a card encoder, financial transaction receipts, a laptop, two thumb drives, a notebook and two passports, the filing said. In addition, the vehicle contained 116 bank or credit union plastic cards, 112 of which had been re-encoded with stolen card numbers. The encoding device model found in the suspects’ car was available Friday on Amazon for $68. After the Walmart ATM withdrawals, police identified suspects from a store surveillance video, the filing said. A city police officer determined that the same suspects had withdrawn cash at Blue Eagle Credit Union locations.  [Source: The Roanoke Times]

More than $15,000 in fraud refunds reported at 10 big box stores

A loss prevention associate reported four known suspects have committed six thefts totaling $1,768 at 9:39 a.m. Feb. 5 at The Home Depot, 4100 N. 124th St in Wauwotsa, Wisconsin. The report said the suspects have also committed fraud refunds at 10 additional Home Depot Wisconsin locations, totaling $15,134.  [Source: Journal-Sentinel]

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LP Worldwide: Bungling burglar is knocked out by a flying brick thrown by his own accomplice [Viral Video]

These two bungling robbers in Shanghai, China, have more chance succeeding at slapstick comedy than a life of crime after one bounced a brick off his mate’s head. Hilarious CCTV footage has captured the moment when one of the hooded men walked in front of a brick being thrown at a window. The blow knocked the robber out and his friend went from burglar to first-aider within seconds. He dragged him across the floor as he tried to revive him so they could make their escape. Police in China released the CCTV footage from the attempted robbery in Shanghai and the pair were immediately branded the pair ‘the dumbest criminals in the world’.  The 50-second clip has gone viral with thousands of people sharing it on Chinese social media sites. A spokesman for the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said: ‘If all burglars were like this, we wouldn’t need to work overtime.’ One joker commented: ‘Mind if we rob your place? ‘Knock yourselves out!’  [Source: Metro UK]

Law enforcement and retailers organize to fight organized retail crime

Organized retail crime costs metro-area retailers $10 million in losses every year. Law enforcement, retailers and loss prevention specialists are working together on a coalition to stop shoplifters. There are 200 members. “We all share information, pictures of suspects, crime trends we’re seeing,” Omaha Police Detective Jerrod Galloway said. “It’s that cooperation that is helping us identify people.” Detective Galloway handles all retail investigations for OPD. He also leads the coalition that meets regularly to find ways to fight organized retail crime. “We’re trying to move into a real time crime fighting environment where a retailer can share a picture with me and within 10 minutes it’s shared with 200 people now and getting suspects identified,” Galloway said.

Police are also sharing suspect information on social media, particularly the Omaha Crime Stoppers Twitter account. @opdcrimestop. It reaches a wide audience, outside of Omaha. “Sometimes within 15 minutes of the crime happening, the suspect is identified and we can dispatch an officer to their house and meet them there as they arrive home from doing their crime,” Galloway said. Nebraska Furniture Mart is also involved, along with other major retailers, like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Von Maur. To keep shoplifters out of the stores and behind bars, police can arrest them on enhanced charges, such as using a device to remove security tags. Also, multiple shoplifting counts can turn into felonies. Police and retailers want you to share and retweet suspect’s pictures from the Twitter account. Remember, if you help solve a crime, you could be eligible for a Crime Stoppers reward.  [Source: KETV7 News]

Delivery employee accused of stealing computers, cell phone

A FedEx worker faces a felony charge after police say he was caught on camera stealing laptops and cell phones. In Arkansas, Craighead County District Judge Tommy Fowler found probable cause Thursday to charge Jeremiah Lamar Jones, 34, of Jonesboro with theft of $5,000 or less but greater than $1,000. According to court documents, a FedEx loss prevention specialist contacted police last December about the alleged theft. Video footage provided to investigators showed Jones concealing five laptop computers and an iPhone 8 in his clothing then walking out to his vehicle in the parking lot, the probable cause affidavit stated. The stolen items were valued at $4,480.91. When the LP specialist confronted Jones, he said Jones ran to his car and drove away. “He advised that he has had no contact with [Jones] since that incident,” Detective Josh Wiiest stated in the court documents. After investigating the case and searching for Jones, Detective Wiiest obtained a bench warrant for Jones’ arrest on Jan. 10. Police arrested Jones on Feb. 15. He’s being held at the Craighead County Detention Center on a $10,000 cash/surety bond awaiting arraignment on March 30.  [Source: WMCactionnews5]

Four years for man who rolled TVs out of emergency exit

A Champagne, Illinois, man who admitted stealing televisions from a big-box store has been sentenced to four years in prison. The charges to which Nevada J. Powell, 22, of the 1200 block of Crispus Drive pleaded guilty were more serious because he rolled the TVs out an emergency exit. Retail theft over $300 by emergency exit is a Class 2 felony. And because of Powell’s prior convictions for residential burglary and burglary, prison was the only option for sentencing. Powell admitted that on Aug. 28, he loaded televisions in a cart at the Walmart on High Cross Road in Urbana and left through an emergency exit. Two other theft cases, one alleging he did the same thing at the same Walmart on Sept. 15, and another alleging he stole more than $300 worth of alcohol from the Savoy Walmart on March 30, 2017, were dismissed in return for his guilty plea. Court records show that besides the prior burglary convictions, he also had convictions for retail theft and resisting a police officer. [Source: The News-Gazette]

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