Breaking News in the Industry: February 23, 2018

Arizona woman may be responsible for $80K in retail thefts

A Glendale, Arizona, woman was arrested after stealing from 19 Ulta and Victoria’s Secret stores in seven valley cities. Gilbert Police report that from October until January of this year, 20-year-old Arianna Marie Rodriguez took retail items from 19 Ulta and Victoria Secret stores in Gilbert, Glendale, Phoenix, Peoria, Tempe, Surprise and Scottsdale. Police say the stolen items are worth over $31,000. Surveillance video showing her appearance and distinct tattoos were used to connect her to the crimes. Police reportedly found “numerous brand-new Victoria’s Secret items in her apartment” near 59th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, including leggings, jackets and other clothing. Police say there were about 27 other thefts of other Victoria’s Secret stores that may be linked to Rodriguez.  The estimated loss of those items is an additional $50,000. Rodriguez has been charged with 19 counts of retail theft.  [Source: ABC15 Arizona News]

Woman gets 2 years for theft from retail store

Judge Brady Elliott of the 268th District Court sentenced Shangaee June Palmer to two years in prison for theft, the maximum allowed by law, on Feb. 5. Palmer had previously agreed to plead guilty to the crime, but then didn’t show up for court the day she was to plea. The 36-year-old Houston, Texas, woman, who was charged with stealing clothing from a retail store, was apprehended and pleaded guilty before asking the judge to determine her punishment. According to Assistant District Attorney Susan Sweeney, Palmer worked with another woman to steal the clothing from a retail store in Sugar Land in December 2016. Later, during an interview by the Fort Bend County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Palmer admitted that she had enough money with her to purchase what she stole at the time, but that she was just greedy. After considering her statement and evidence of Palmer’s numerous prior theft convictions, Judge Elliott sentenced Palmer to the maximum two years in the State Jail Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Palmer was eligible to receive probation. [Source: FortBendStar]

Surveillance video shows shoplifting suspect escape out of police SUV [Viral Video]

Surveillance video shows a Moses Lake, Washington, shoplifting suspect was able to escape out of a Moses Lake police patrol SUV. The woman has since been arrested. Moses Lake police responded to Walmart on Feb. 11 after reports Samantha Adams, 27, was attempting to steal a cart-full of items from the store. Adams was contacted leaving the store and was taken into custody. Police say she was handcuffed, with her hands behind her back, and placed into the back of a police vehicle. As the officers were inside store, Adams was reportedly able to get her hands the front of her body and crawled through an open partition window in between the front and back seats. Surveillance video from Walmart shows Adams get out of the police vehicle through the front passenger-side door and flee on foot into a nearby field, still with the handcuffs on. Officers searched the area but Adams was not found, according to Moses Lake police.

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A second suspect reportedly with Adams, 29-year-old Joseph Montes, was arrested after a foot pursuit through the Walmart parking lot. Body cam video shows a truck driver block Montes’ path as he fled behind Starbucks. Montes has been charged with possession of heroin, criminal trespassing in the first degree and resisting arrest. Adams was again arrested on Feb. 18 after reportedly trying to use a fake $20 bill at a Moses Lake gas station. Police say a bag containing heroin, drug paraphernalia and 12 fake bills were found in the suspect’s car following a traffic stop. Police have recovered part of the handcuffs Adams was wearing when she fled Walmart. The handcuffs appeared to have been cut off, according to Moses Lake police. The handcuffs were found during a warrant search last week.  [Source: iFiberOne]

This shop printed Louis Vuitton and NFL gear, but cops say it was all fake

Artcify is a Hialeah print shop with a slogan that claims “creativity has no limits.” Police say the shop mostly created fakes. Detectives on Wednesday busted the shops owner on allegations they were manufacturing knock-off Louis Vuitton shoes, sweaters, T-shirts, pants and towels, along with unlicensed NFL clothing and luxury clock. In all, Miami-Dade police said it found over $20,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise at the store. Those arrested: owners Adolfo Parreno, 55, Santiago Mesa, 45, Raul Jimenez, 38, and Daniela Jimenez, 41. They are being charged with felonies related to selling and manufacturing counterfeit goods. It’s not uncommon for detectives to bust people selling counterfeit fashion items. Earlier this month, cops busted a West Miami shop they said was selling more counterfeit purses, watches and hats out of a backroom, items that would have been worth over $9 million were it real. But arrests of local suspects for the actual manufacturer of the fake are less common. The investigation into Artcify began this month after Miami-Dade police got a tip from local private investigator Eric Berger, who specializes in intellectual property and works for several major brands. Acting on information from a source, Berger paid an undercover visit to Artcify, claiming to be a fashion buyer for a chain of stores, according to an arrest report. The owner, who identified himself as “Marcelo Parreno,” gave the private eye a tour of the store and a peek at his products. During his visit, Berger noticed several items inscribed with the well-known Louis Vuitton logo. He surreptitiously snapped a photo of one item, then sent it to police. Investigators raided the store, finding merchandise that would be worth more than $20,000 were it real, according to the arrest report by Miami-Dade Detective Michael Hufnagel. According to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the business of counterfeiting designer goods rakes in about $650 billion each year. “Artistic creativity should never merge with criminal activity,” Rundle said in a statement. [Source: Miami Herald]

Employee accused of taking more than $3K from registers

An employee of Kohl’s in College Station, Texas, was arrested Tuesday after police say she took more than $3,000 out of the store’s registers. According to College Station police, an officer responded to Kohl’s in November after receiving a report of theft by a store employee. A loss prevention manager told the officer that Jessica Lynne Higgins, 23, had been caught taking money from the store’s registers over a period of several days. Security footage showed Higgins taking money out of the registers and placing it in her purse in the employee break room, a police report notes. Authorities determined Higgins had taken about $3,100 from Kohl’s, and Higgins told police she would pay all the money back. She said she had taken the money to pay for a car, the report notes. Kohl’s management was contacted this month and were asked whether Higgins had repaid them. Managers said she had not paid any money, nor had she arranged a payment plan. Higgins told authorities she was waiting for her tax return and a student loan refund to begin paying the store back. Higgins is charged with theft, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail. She was released from the Brazos County Jail on $5,000 bond.  [Source: The Eagle]

Four men accused of $80K cargo theft

In New Jersey, four men, from Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties, have been arrested and others are being sought in connection with the theft of about $80,000 worth of cargo from a North Union Avenue beverage packing company. Hillside Police Chief Vincent Ricciardi said Wilfredo Bobadilla, 45, of New Brunswick, Arturo Sanchez, 45, of the Somerset section of Franklin, Elijah Jacobs, 38, of New Brunswick, and Gerard Perkins, 42, of Rahway, were charged with theft of movable property, a second-degree crime.  According to Ricciardi, about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, near the exit of the Union Beverage parking lot on North Union Avenue, officers stopped Sanchez with cardboard covering the license plate of a white 2004 Freightliner tractor-tractor he was driving. Police said Bobadilla was in the passenger seat. A preliminary investigation indicated that the trailer contained about $80,000 worth of cargo stolen from Union Beverage, police said. Jacobs, a Union Beverage supervisor, was determined to be involved in the theft, police said. Police said Perkins, a Union Beverage forklift operator, fled or was hiding. Police said he was quickly located and arrested. The investigation is continuing with the possibility of more arrests, police said. [Source: MyCentralJersey]

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