Breaking News in the Industry: February 6, 2019

Employee arrested for stealing 14 iPhones

A Hutto, Texas, employee of T-Mobile has been arrested for the alleged theft of 14 iPhones, according to an arrest warrant from the Williamson County Municipal Court. Anthony Joseph Saras, also known as Anthony Joseph Murillo, reportedly packed 12 new iPhone XR and two new iPhone XS Max phones into a box of trash and removed it from the T-Mobile store.

After discovering the gap in inventory, the owner of the store confronted Saras when he returned to work the next week and Saras admitted to taking the property, which totaled $11,750. Saras vowed to pay back the money in exchange for management not calling police. According to the warrant, Saras did not pay the money back and management then reported the incident to police. The store owner also submitted video footage which reportedly showed Saras taking the phones. Saras’ bail is set at $15,000 felony bond for theft greater than $2,500.    [Source: KXAN News]

Two arrested for jewelry store heist

Two men from Detroit, Michigan,are accused of robbing a Hobart jewelry store in which a manager estimated at least $1 million worth of merchandise was taken, court records state. Darren Sylvester Bell, 19, and Altonio Benson, 27, were each charged in Lake Superior Court with three counts of armed robbery and one count each of theft, auto theft and resisting law enforcement. Benson faces an additional charge of battery by bodily waste.

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Police were called around 7 p.m. Jan. 25 to Jared jewelry store near Southlake Mall for an armed robbery, a probable cause affidavit states. Witnesses inside the store at the time said they saw three men wearing masks and jackets come in the store, break glass display cases and put items in bags before fleeing, according to the affidavit. Two of the men ran across US 30 while a third got in a minivan. One person ran toward Long Horn Steakhouse and into a wooden area, where a police officer used a taser and took the man, later identified as Bell, into custody. Another officer spotted a second man near Ulta and chased him toward Party City and as officers tried to place him into custody, the man, later identified as Benson, “refused to comply” and spit on one of the officers.

Investigators found a Dodge van, reported stolen out of Mishawaka, Indiana, with a passenger side window that was “smashed out,” in a maintenance lot by the mall. Fresh footprints in the snow next to the van led to a nearby apartment complex, where police determined “the suspect may have gotten into a vehicle that was parked. Police found “a large amount of jewelry” in a pillow case near Long Horn and jewelry scattered next to a gray bag near Party City. Officers also found green and black gloves, court records state.

Inside the jewelry store, police found two hammers among the shattered glass on the floor and chairs that had been knocked over. Bell is scheduled February 7 to appear in court, while Benson has a hearing February 8. Police continued Monday to work to identify the third suspect, said Captain James Gonzales, Hobart police spokesman, in an email. Anyone who with information is asked to email Sgt. David Evans  or call  219.942.3406.    [Source: Chicago Tribune]

 Amazon is paying $15 an hour and applicants are lining up

One of the most important takeaways from Amazon’s 2018 fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report, released January 31, had little to do with the usual financial results. Amazon disclosed in the report that it received a record 850,000 work applications for hourly jobs in the US in October 2018 after announcing it would raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour starting November 1.

The company said that was more than double its previous record for job applications received in a single month. Amazon said the new $15 minimum affects more than 250,000 employees in the US and 17,000 employees in the UK (where the increase was £10.50 in the London area and £9.50 everywhere else), plus more than 200,000 workers who were hired for the holiday season. As of December 31, Amazon had 647,500 full- and part-time employees, up 14% from the same period a year earlier.   [Source: Quartz]

High-ranking cop arrested for alleged theft

A former high-ranking member of the Prattville Police Department in Alabama has been arrested on misdemeanor theft charges. John Wayne McDaniel, 48, was arrested Monday on theft of property charges, court records show. He allegedly left the Millbrook Walmart on January 18 without paying for several items. He could not be reached for comment, and records show he doesn’t have an attorney.

This isn’t the first tme McDaniel has been in trouble with the law. This arrest could have a larger impact because he has a 10-year prison sentence hanging over his head. McDaniel pleaded guilty in October 2017 to impersonating a police officer and theft of property in one case, and burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary in an unrelated case. Circuit Judge Ben Fuller in August sentenced McDaniel to three years in community corrections. The full sentence is 10 years on each charge, to be served concurrently. Fuller then split the sentence for the three years in community corrections. The attorney general’s office has filed documents asking Fuller to impose the 10 year sentence. McDaniel had served on the force for more than 20 years and had attained the rank of lieutenant before resigning.    [Source: Montgomery Advertiser]

Good Samaritans swarm suspect

Walmart customers helped law enforcement Sunday during the arrest of a shoplifter. Mickey Taylor, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, allegedly stole a bottle of Crown Royal from the store, drank it and attempted to steal a cellphone, according to police records. Carlsbad police Cpl. Trey Thompson was dispatched to Walmart on Sunday around 3:15 p.m. regarding an intoxicated subject. Thompson attempted to speak to Taylor, but warned him he would use nonlethal force if necessary.

Taylor ignored commands and Thompson employed his Taser, according to records. “It slowed him down with little to no impact,” Thompson said. “The male turned around and swung a fist at me and I swung a fist back.” Taylor fled the store but did not get far when Walmart customers subdued him. “Walmart customers and civilians took the male subject to the ground. I was able to place the male subject into custody,” Thompson said in a report.   [Source: Santa Fe New Mexican]

Another retailer closing 95 stores after chapter 11 filing

Charlotte Russe, a retailer aimed toward young women’s fashion, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to reports. The retailer, which has more than 500 stores across the country, including 10 stores called Peek Kids, will close around 95 locations while it continues to search for a buyer. Charlotte Russe was bought by private equity outfit Advent International in 2009 for $380 million, but due to dropping mall attendance and rising debt, the company has continued to struggle, along with other traditional mall retailers.

Last year, the company completed a restructuring deal to lower its debt from $214 million to $90 million. The retailer has gotten a commitment for up to $50 million of debtor-in-possession funding to help it run during the bankruptcy proceedings. All of the retailer’s online operations and stores are currently operational.   [Source: PYMNTS]

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