Five women charged with stealing more than $100,000 of merchandise from retail stores
Five women were charged with stealing more than $100,000 of clothing and other merchandise from retail stores in an alleged organized theft ring operating in Baltimore, Harford, Anne Arundel, Charles and Montgomery counties, the state Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday. Tyrayah Shonita Graham, 23; Donna Leurine Moye, 39; Lisa Marie Williams, 54; Lyric Taj McLaughlin, 21; and Tiara Kianna Baker, 19, were charged with conspiracy to commit a theft scheme with a value of $100,000 or more, according to Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office. Moye and Williams are also charged with possessing and selling counterfeit goods. None of the suspects had attorneys listed in online state court records.
The women allegedly targeted retail stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Victoria’s Secret and Pink, prosecutors said. They would enter a store together, put large amounts of merchandise from store displays into large bags they brought with them, then leave without paying, prosecutors said. “Images of the stolen goods were then posted on Instagram to advertise the items,” prosecutors said. Prosecutors did not say specifically how much was stolen, or from where. “These individuals stole thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise through an organized operation and then advertised for sale the stolen goods on the Internet,” Frosh said in a statement. “Working with our partners, we were able to shut down this ring and put the thieves behind bars.” [Source: The Baltimore Sun]
Teen accused of armed robbery, shoplifting
An Anderson County, South Carolina, teen has been arrested on multiple charges related to several business robberies. According to a Anderson County Sheriff’s Office news release, Marcus Demarius Smith, 19, was arrested and charge with armed robbery, robbery, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and shoplifting. The sheriff’s office said on Dec. 11, 2017, deputies responded to Taco Bell, located at 2629 S. Main St. around 6 p.m., in reference to an armed robbery. Employees at the restaurant said the suspect went in the business with a gun and took the cash register from the building. On Jan. 28, deputies were called to Dollar General, 2835 S. Main St. in reference to a shoplifting around 6:50 p.m. The manager of the store told deputies that the suspect entered the store and left without paying for his items when his card was declined. Around 8 p.m. on that same day, deputies responded to the same Dollar General, for another shoplifting complaint. The clerk at the store told deputies that she was outside collecting shopping carts and when she went back inside, a man was behind the counter grabbing items and putting them in a bag. She said when she tried to call police, the man knocked her aside and ran from the store. Smith was taken to the Anderson County Detention Center. [Source: WSPA7 News]
Woman gets more prison time for repeat shoplifting
Jessica Allison, 37, of York, Nebraska, has been given more prison time after repeatedly being caught shoplifting. York County District Judge James Stecker sentenced her to an additional year in prison, to be served consecutively with the sentence she is already serving at the Nebraska Center for Women. In March of 2015, in York County, Allison was sent to prison for 1-2 years after a series of crimes, including shoplifting and tampering with evidence. Just prior to that conviction, she was sentenced for shoplifting in Lancaster County. At that particular time, other shoplifting cases and a charge of flight to avoid arrest were pending and she was sentenced for another separate conviction in Seward County.
This most recent case took place in mid-May, 2017, according to the factual basis proceedings earlier provided by York County Attorney Christopher Johnson. He said that York police officers were called to a local business where workers believed Allison had stolen approximately $170 worth of merchandise. Johnson said police reviewed surveillance video which showed her using a knife to remove security mechanisms, hiding the items in a bag and covering the bag with her jacket. Workers asked her as she left the store if she had found everything she was looking for and she told them they didn’t carry what she wanted. Suspecting illegal activity was taking place, which was also due to prior contacts they had had with Allison, the workers wrote down the license plate number on the vehicle in which she left. She was later arrested and charged. “She is currently serving a prison sentence so she is not a good candidate for probation,” Johnson said this week during court proceedings. “The pre-sentence investigation also highlights other concerns, such as her continued criminal activities and continued warrants.” “She has been unable to make restitution as she has been in prison,” York County Public Defender Nancy Waldron told the court, asking that if a prison sentence was to be pronounced that it be concurrent with the sentence she is now serving. [Source: York News-Times]
Man jailed on 35 counts of credit card fraud
According to Houston Co. Sheriff’s Office, Brandon Kemp of Perry, Georgia, is charged with 35 counts of financial transaction card fraud, one count of identity theft and one count of theft by receiving stolen property. Deputies say they received information from the victim on Jan. 4 that he had extensive unauthorized charges on his Miami-Dade Credit Union account. An investigation led deputies to find Kemp obtained the debit card from the victim in December. Kemp is being held at the Houston County Detention Center on $15,780 bond. [Source: WGXA News]
NFL warns fans to be wary of counterfeit merchandise and tickets
Sure, that Eagles T-shirt looks good on you, but are you sure it’s not counterfeit? Fake Super Bowl merchandise is flooding into the Twin Cities this week, and federal agents who usually fight terrorists are stalking our skyways and scrutinizing shopping tags to figure out if they can seize racks full of suspect sweatshirts and sham hats. It’s a big problem, according to the National Football League. Before last year’s Super Bowl in Houston, agents with the Department of Homeland Security — working with local law enforcement — confiscated more than 260,000 counterfeit items worth more than $20 million, court records show. A total of 56 people were arrested for selling illegal merchandise, including fake tickets to the big game. And that wasn’t the biggest haul. That happened in 2016, when 450,000 illegal items worth $39 million were seized. On Monday, a Hennepin County judge granted the league and its agents permission to seize all suspected contraband without the notices typically required in court. The order came in response to an emergency lawsuit the league filed against 100 unspecified counterfeiters on Jan. 24.
In its lawsuit, the NFL described “large networks of itinerant resellers looking to maximize their profits as quickly as possible before leaving town without a trace.” The NFL said in the suit that fans suffer because many of the counterfeit items are of substandard quality, with clothing tearing, shrinking and fading prematurely. They said fans can often spot the difference between fake and legitimate clothing by checking for low quality fabric, loose stitching and off-center logos. “Only companies that meet high standards of quality, performance and reliability receive a license to use or sell products bearing the NFL trademarks,” the league said in its suit. Tickets are another hot item for counterfeiters, and the stakes are even higher for those who get suckered. Every year, according to league officials, fans are turned away at the stadium because they bought a counterfeit ticket, or came with a ticket that had been stolen and resold. To avoid being victimized, the NFL urges fans to avoid buying tickets from someone on the street, and to pay for all transactions with a credit card. League officials also note that counterfeit tickets can be quite sophisticated. To deter fraud, the NFL insists on paper tickets using logos with heat sensitive ink. The hologram logo disappears when rubbed and returns when the ink cools. Other images can only be seen under black light. [Source: StarTribune]
Employee arrested for stealing oxycodone
A manager at Walgreens, 9449 S. Howell Ave., called police Jan. 23 about an employee who had been stealing narcotics. The employee, a pharmacy technician at the store, admitted to police she had been stealing oxycodone pills from February 2017 to January 2018. She said she did not have an exact number of pills or dollar amount, but that it was less than 100 pills. She was arrested on charges of theft and possession of Schedule II drugs. [Source: Journal-Sentinel]