Breaking News in the Industry: February 21, 2018

Employee accused of embezzling nearly $230,000

A Salvation Army employee is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company’s divisional headquarters in south Charlotte, North Carolina.  According to a police report, the employee embezzled $229,853 from the Salvation Army on Archdale Drive, which serves as the company’s central administrative office that provides support to 60 Salvation Army locations in North and South Carolina, including the Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte.  “The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte was NOT impacted by this theft, nor is it part of the police investigation,” the company says.  The Salvation Army reported the embezzlement Friday. The employee is accused of embezzling funds for a period of two years.

“The Salvation Army does not tolerate financial misconduct or improprieties among its officers, employees, or volunteers. All Salvation Army units, including The Salvation Army’s Divisional Headquarters, undergo regular audits for the purpose of maintaining financial accountability,” the Salvation Army said in a statement Tuesday. “Such audits allow us to uncover cases of financial wrongdoing and turn the person responsible for it over to the authorities.” The suspect’s name was not released. The employee could face charges of embezzlement/larceny by employee. “The Salvation Army is fully insured; therefore, none of the monies entrusted to The Salvation Army was lost. This theft will not impact services of The Salvation Army in any of our North and South Carolina locations,” the Salvation Army says.
Police say they are continuing to investigate the case.  [Source: WBTV3 News]

Man arrested on suspicion of using fraudulent receipts to make returns for cash

A 28-year-old Manitowoc, Wisconsin man was arrested on an active warrant and on suspicion of three counts of retail theft and four counts of theft by fraud. A police report said Alexander D. Hunt was arrested after a series of returns to a retail store in the 4100 block of Calumet Avenue that were alleged to have been fraudulent. A loss prevention associate at the store told police it was believed Hunt was “picking up used receipts off the ground from the parking lot and going inside the store to locate the merchandise from the receipt” before returning items for cash. The police report said that shortly after midnight Feb. 14, Hunt entered the store with no merchandise but allegedly picked up a box of diapers and returned it for $35.56 in cash. Later on Feb. 14, around 4:12 a.m., Hunt again entered the store with no merchandise but allegedly returned items including paper towels and laundry detergent and received $50.43 in cash, the police report said.

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When police arrested Hunt on an active warrant that was issued Feb. 12 for failure to appear in court, the police report said “a small stack” of receipts from the store was found inside a backpack he was wearing. Hunt told police had had been out of work and had been making returns at the store “to get extra money” since about October 2017, when he said he lost his job. He told officers he had some of the times he was returning for weeks or months. He also told police “there were times he was hungry so he stole food” from the store, the police report said. The police report said Hunt had two prior retail thefts on Nov. 6, 2017, and Dec. 21, 2017. Online court records show Hunt was found guilty of felony possess with intent THC greater than 200-1,000 grams and sentenced on Nov. 18, 2014, to one year in prison and two years extended supervision. [Source: Herald Times Reporter]

Police looking for theft suspect who attacked LP associate [Viral Video]

A frightening incident at a Walmart has Benton, Arkansas, police asking for the community’s help. Investigators say that a man and a woman walked out of the Benton Walmart on February 15th without paying for two baskets of items.  When an loss prevention associate confronted them, police say the man pulled a baseball bat from the cart and swung at the worker. He then punched the employee before leaving the store and driving off. Benton police say the couple was traveling in a silver four-door car with a dent on the left rear side. Anyone with information on the crime can contact Benton police at 501-778-1171.  [Source: ABC7 News]

Men low on cash after losing money in Las Vegas allegedly steal $3,000 in merchandise

Two men allegedly went on a retail shoplifting spree, stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from three Walmart stores, after reportedly losing their money in Las Vegas. Christian Ryan Johnson, 28, and Michael Graham Johnson, 30, both of Hemet, California, allegedly hit Walmart stores in Mesquite, Nevada, Bloomington and Washington City where they were subsequently caught and detained according to a probable cause statement filed by Washington City Police in support of the arrests. The men were both charged in 5th District Court with two third-degree felony counts of retail theft, three class A misdemeanor counts for possession of drugs and theft detection shielding devices, along with a class B misdemeanor count of drug paraphernalia possession. Christian Johnson faces an additional third-degree felony charge of possession of another’s identification. The alleged shoplifting spree came to an end after Washington City Walmart loss prevention observed the men in the store removing security wrap from merchandise and called police, according to the statement. Police located the men attempting to exit the store through an emergency exit in the Garden Center with more than $500 in stolen merchandise and a magnetic device used to deactivate security devices, police said. Christian Johnson admitted that he had intended to steal four Apple TVs from the store, the report states. Police learned that the two men had hit Bloomington Walmart at 6 a.m. that same day and had left the store with $2,351 in stolen merchandise, according to a probable cause statement filed by St. George Police in support of the arrests. Michael Johnson admitted to stealing various items with his friend Christian Johnson, the arresting officer wrote in the statement, adding: Michael said he was low on money after losing in Las Vegas.  [Source: St George News]

Employee was under-ringing his girlfriend; Now he no longer works there

A Walmart employee has been charged with two felonies after allegedly “under-ringing” his girlfriend on more than 10 separate occasions spanning four months, according to Patton Township police in Pennsylvania. Nicolas Rogers, 27, of State College, was charged with retail theft and conspiracy after a series of incidents at Walmart from November 2017 to February 2018. Walmart loss prevention associate Zachary Henry told police he interviewed Rogers, which is when Rogers admitted to the theft and signed an admission. Henry provided police with a sheet that contained dates and totals from each of the thefts, which totaled $1,152.57. The incidents were documented on security video. Police also interviewed Rogers and he again admitted to “under-ringing” his girlfriend. Rogers did not tell police why he was stealing the merchandise, but he did say he did not consider how much he was stealing until Henry confronted him with the amount. Pennsylvania Crimes Code defines under-ringing as “the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise.” Centre County District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker granted Rogers $25,000 unsecured bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 28. [Source: Centre Daily Times]

Fake Super Bowl tickets and gear added up to $520,000, officials say

More than 150 fake tickets to Super Bowl LII were taken out of circulation by law enforcement before the big game in Minneapolis, officials announced Tuesday morning. Nineteen people were arrested, but that’s small consolation to people who bought the counterfeits. A team of local law enforcement officers, federal investigators and NFL representatives, among others, started sweeping for counterfeit tickets and merchandise on Jan. 26. Officials say they recovered about $520,000 worth of counterfeit items in total during sweeps of businesses.

Businesses ranged as far north as St. Cloud and as far south as Rochester, Minneapolis Police Department Lt. Kim Lund said Tuesday. The counterfeit tickets sold for between $400 and $5,000, Lund said. She said the fake tickets bought and sold ahead of the Super Bowl were the best she’s seen in 20 years of work. Finding fake ticket brokers is difficult and no money lost in counterfeit purchases has been recovered yet, but there may be federal indictments coming in some cases, said Homeland Security Public Affairs Officer Shawn Neudauer. Neudauer said he worked with one family who drove 9 hours from out of state only to discover that the tickets they’d purchased were fake. “We do everything we can to prosecute … but it’ll never be the same [for victims],” Neudauer said. [Source: StarTribune]

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