Breaking News in the Industry: February 26, 2019

VIDEO: Uniformed guard punches suspected female shoplifter in the face

A uniformed security guard was caught on video punching a woman in the face, who witnesses say was trying to steal from a 99 Cents Only Store in Van Nuys, California. “She was grabbing items and just stuffing them in her bag in front of everybody, stealing, and she was trying to walk out of the store, and he refused to let her out,” said Rony Preza, who witnessed the incident.

The security guard was seen screaming and aiming pepper spray at the woman, who was throwing punches and bottles at the guard’s face. That’s when the guard struck back. “It’s a little extreme on how he went about it. He could have detained her and waited until LAPD showed up. Again, everybody reacts differently to assault,” Preza said. The woman was eventually arrested on suspicion of using force during a robbery. (The video is posted on the source website.)  [Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News]

Employee accused of taking $15,000 in 19 days

Memphis woman was arrested after police say she stole thousands of dollars from a popular children’s retail store in less than 20 days. Jamie Guy was charged with theft of property $10,000 -$60,000 after she was arrested on Friday. According to the police report, officers received a call from The Children’s Place store at 4465 Poplar Avenue last week saying an audit revealed someone had stolen several cash deposits between January 28 and February 15. The grand total stolen was reportedly $15,464.

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Surveillance video from inside the store led the staff to conclude that Guy was behind the thefts. When confronted, the 23-year-old reportedly admitted to taking 16 cash deposits.   [Source: News Channel3]

New study reveals how credit card fraud affects customer loyalty in a big way

Nearly half (49%) of consumers have reported being a victim of credit card fraud where their card information was illegally used by someone else, according to a survey from Riskified. Among these victims, 49% abandon the retailer entirely after learning of the fraud, with 29% blaming the merchant that approved the fraudulent purchase.

Retailers also can lose customers when they adopt strict anti-fraud measures. Merchants often decline orders out of caution, which means they sometimes reject good, honest customers. Up to 30% of shoppers say they have had their purchase wrongly declined, and 57% of those declines happen to returning customers, with a corresponding negative impact on their satisfaction and return shopping. These false declines end up robbing retailers of as much as 5.5% of their annual revenue.

Approximately 42% of shoppers who experienced a decline moved on, either abandoning the purchase completely (28%) or shopping with a competitor instead (14%). Retailers have to be smarter about how they review and approve orders if they want to keep these shoppers, said Eyal Raab, VP of Business Development at Riskified.

“A lot of retailers are still using legacy solutions, and they haven’t caught up to the way people shop,” said Raab in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “For example, some retailers reject orders with an AVS mismatch (when the billing address used for the purchase doesn’t match the billing address on file with the credit card issuer). Given how many people shop on their phones these days, and how easy it is to mis-key a ZIP code, that’s going to cost retailers a lot of legitimate orders. And as we saw, declining legitimate customers now can have long-term repercussions. Retailers need to use solutions that look at the whole story of an order, and approve or decline based on more data and with more accuracy.”    [Source: Retail Touchpoints]

Shoplifter assaults police officers

A shoplifting suspect in Michigan got himself in considerably greater trouble than just retail fraud after he allegedly assaulted an officer who was trying to arrest him. The incident occurred when police were sent to a Target store for a retail fraud in progress. A man wearing a green hoodie, a hat and glasses was reported to have concealed electronic items in a tote, near the grocery department.

The first officer to arrive spotted the man exit the store. He called over the radio that the suspect was running north in the Target parking lot. As the reporting officer arrived, he observed the officer struggling with the suspect on the ground. A second officer was attempting to place handcuffs on the man, who was still struggling.

The reporting officer joined the two officers and assisted by holding down the suspect, as he was not putting his hands behind his back as ordered. He was arrested and charged with assault against police officer, resisting/obstructing police, and retail fraud. An asset protection team member said the man was attempting to steal two Nest electronic thermostats, valued at $249 each; as well as a Nest security camera, priced at $199.99.   [Source: The News-Herald]

Teens collude to stage robbery

Police say a pair of teenagers, one suspect and one cashier, tried to work together during a robbery at a grocery store in Franklin Township, New Jersey. Police responded to a call reporting an armed robbery Saturday around 7:30 p.m. at a grocery store on Route 27. According to police, Cameron Smith, 19, of Somerset, passed a note to a 17-year-old male cashier demanding all the money in the register, and left with the cash.

Police say the note said the suspect had a gun, but no gun was ever shown. But during the investigation, police discovered the pair knew one another, and their plan was to split the cash. Both have been charged with theft.   [Source: New Jersey News 12]

More cities are trying to ban cash-less stores

If you’ve tried to spend actual paper money at your local lunch spot or salad shop lately, you may already know there’s a war on cash. Retail establishments… particularly in trendy neighborhoods in rapidly gentrifying cities like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, are increasingly telling customers that they only accept credit or debit card payments. Dead presidents need not apply.

Cash-free eateries like Sweetgreen are leading the trend, saying it makes the transactions process smoother and more convenient overall. Some have also argued that having no cash on hand makes businesses less of a target for would-be thieves. But pro-cash advocates are fighting back in a growing number of cities. Last week, the Philadelphia city council passed legislation that would require local retailers to accept physical cash as a form of payment. The bill is now awaiting the signature—or veto—of the city’s mayor, Jim Kenney, according to the Philadelphia Tribune. But signing it will risk alienating Amazon, which is reportedly looking to bring one of its cashier-free stores to the city.

Critics of cash-free businesses argue that they discriminate against lower-income patrons, especially those without a bank account or people who live paycheck to paycheck. In 2017, the FDIC estimated that roughly 8.4 million U.S. households were un-banked, and an additional 24 million were under-banked. Privacy is another good argument in favor of the almighty dollar bill, as paying with cash is the easiest way to ensure that your transactions aren’t tracked.

These cities (and one state) that are weighing bans on cashless retail establishments below:

  • New Jersey: Both houses of the state legislature passed a bill this month; it’s now on the governor’s desk
  • Chicago: Lawmakers have been weighing cash-free retail restrictions since at least 2017
  • San Francisco: This month, a city lawmaker proposed an ordinance that would require businesses to take cash
  • New York City: A city council member who represents parts of the Bronx proposed a bill in November that would force retailers to take cash
  • Washington, DC: Last summer, a council member introduced a bill that would require food retailers like bars and restaurants to accept cash

[Source: Fast Company]

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