Breaking News in the Industry: February 7, 2018

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Employee headed to prison for stealing $310,000 from PD

His job was to safeguard cash, cars and other items that Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officers confiscated from suspected criminals. But Gerard Brady is headed to federal prison next month after he admitted he stole more than $310,000 in cash from the agency’s forfeiture program between late 2012 and 2016. Brady, 34, of West Palm Beach, was sentenced last week to one year and four months in prison. He was ordered to turn himself in to begin serving his punishment on March 9. The former civilian employee, whose annual salary was $48,900, resigned last year several months after he was caught. Brady was hired in August 2010 and worked as the police department’s forfeiture coordinator, overseeing seized money, cars, planes, boats and other property. Forfeiture money is used to help law enforcement efforts in the region. Starting in December 2012, Brady began skimming money from the cash he was supposed to deposit and altering documents to cover his tracks. His theft grew more brazen as the years passed, court records show. He stole a little more than $5,500 the first year, about $5,300 the second year, a little more than $7,000 the third year and close to $44,000 the fourth year. And in the first 10 months of 2016, just before he was arrested, he stole more than $248,500. The department began an investigation after someone noticed a discrepancy between the amount seized from suspects and the amount that Brady eventually deposited in the agency’s bank accounts. Investigators put some cash and a hidden camera in a vehicle Brady had to inspect in the department’s tow yard in early October 2016. Brady left the cash but stole the camera, authorities said. He was questioned and admitted what he had done.

He immediately returned some of the cash he stole and began repaying some of the rest. The defense said Brady, an Iraq War veteran, was using the money to provide for his family. In November, Brady pleaded guilty to stealing from programs that receive government money. As part of his punishment, he has been ordered to repay more than $225,000 he still owes. “The defendant stole from a law enforcement agency working to serve its community. [He] blatantly abused and violated the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s trust in the worst way,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo. “Mr. Brady is ashamed and embarrassed by his conduct in this case …His choice to embezzle money from his former employer is one he regrets and will have to live with for the rest of his life,” the defense wrote, requesting house arrest and probation.  [Source: SunSentinal]

LP Worldwide: 3 teens face 42 charges after central Alberta crime spree

Three males are facing a combined 42 charges after a crime spree in central Alberta, Canada, on Saturday night. The offenses, which include assaulting a police officer and robbery with a firearm, occurred over a six-hour period starting in Ponoka, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)  said in a news release Monday.

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  • At 6:30 p.m., Ponoka RCMP responded to a theft of three bottles of wine from a liquor store.
  • At 6:45 p.m., officers responded to a vehicle theft at a northwest Ponoka home. The description of the suspects matched those of the liquor store theft.
  • At 7:30 p.m., RCMP were alerted to a theft at a liquor store in Crestomere where a firearm was pointed at an employee.
  • At 8 p.m., Rimbey RCMP responded to an attempted vehicle theft, and found a vehicle matching the original stolen vehicle. During a pursuit, the vehicle hit the ditch and got stuck. Police arrested two 18-year-old males but a third suspect, a 16-year-old male youth, got away. Moments later, a vehicle from a nearby property was reported stolen.
  • Just before 12 a.m., RCMP were called to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 2A. Wetaskiwin RCMP arrived on-scene just as the suspect was pulling a female from the vehicle. During the arrest, an officer was assaulted.

The 18-year-olds, both from Maskwacis, face between them 19 charges, including flight from police and possession of stolen property. They’re scheduled to be in court Tuesday. The 16-year-old faces 23 charges, including resisting arrest and possession of property obtained by crime. He is expected in court Wednesday. [Source: CBC News]

Police arrest 4 accused of mall burglary, leading chase

Four people stole more than $10,000 of property from a San Mateo, California mall on Monday before leading police on a high-speed pursuit, authorities said. At about 5:20 p.m. an officer was conducting a check of the Bridgepointe Shopping Center where there’s been a reported spike in car break-ins and retail thefts. The officer noticed a light blue Toyota sedan driving erratically out of the parking lot and attempted a stop, police said, but the car fled onto Mariners Island Boulevard before turning onto Third Avenue. Police said the officer noticed the Toyota’s passengers throwing items out of the car windows during the pursuit, which ended at the intersection of Third Avenue and Norfolk Street, where the Toyota collided with two vehicles. The collision stopped the Toyota in its tracks — the other vehicles each had minor damage but no injuries — and two men and two women jumped out the suspect’s vehicle to flee from the officer, police said. With the help of Zigi, of the San Mateo police K9 unit, officers found the alleged driver, Juandell Joseph, 19, hiding in a bush. Police said they were also able to arrest the three passengers: Michael Wishom, 22; Tatiana Lewis, 19; and Eniaya Johnson, 19. All four individuals are San Francisco residents[Source: SF Gate]

Trooper finds credit card machine, credit card numbers, and cards after traffic stop

Two people have been charged after police found a credit card manufacturing machine, numerous credit cards and a book with thousands of credit card numbers in it in the back seat of a vehicle after the driver was pulled over for failure to use a turn signal. Jonathan Dominic Coons, 39, from Oregon, and Samantha A. Rudd, 23, from Washington state, are both charged with felony criminal possession of a financial transaction card and fraudulent misappropriation of personal identifying information for purchase or credit valued over $300. On Jan. 19, Rudd, who was driving a rented Ford SUV with Coons as her passenger, was pulled over by an Idaho State Police (ISP) trooper after police say she failed to use her turn signal. The trooper approached the passenger’s side of the vehicle where Coons was sitting with the back of the seat leaning back, the police report said. The officer said the window was only rolled down about five inches and Coons appeared to be hiding his face with the door frame and not making eye contact with the trooper. Rudd told the officer she did not have a driver’s license and the vehicle was a friend’s rental, and she provided the trooper with a rental agreement in another woman’s name.

The officer called the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office to ask for a K9 officer at the scene and the dog alerted officers to an area between the front and rear doors at the door seam. When the door was searched, officers noticed different types of credit cards inside the door pocket. They found more credit cards underneath the seat along with an Oregon driver’s license for the woman listed on the rental vehicle and credit cards and gift cards with Coons’s name on them. They also reported finding a Washington state driver’s license and more credit cards along with expensive items including two $650 jackets that appeared to have been recently purchased. On top of the rear seat they reported finding a gray backpack, which contained a credit card manufacturing machine, blank credit cards and a book with thousands of credit card numbers, some which had been crossed out. Dates in the book went back to June 2017 leading officers to believe the pair had been involved in an ongoing operation. Police said there were two different writing styles were found in the book with different colored ink. Two driver’s licenses found in the vehicle, including the one used to rent the vehicle; police say they both resembled Rudd. ISP received an email from the Vancouver Police Department stating they had an open investigation on Coons for financial transaction card fraud in Washington.  [Source: MagicValley News]

Team of suspected shoplifters avoid apprehension, threaten to stab LP associate

A trio of suspected shoplifters avoided apprehension after they threatened a retail employee in Elk Grove, California. Shortly after 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 4, a loss prevention associate at the Burlington store on East Stockton Boulevard attempted to stop three people who were observed shoplifting. When the associate approached the suspects, one of the suspects threatened to stab him. The LP associate wisely relented, and the three suspects fled the store and were last seen in a white SUV heading south through the parking lot. The suspect who threatened to stab the associate was a Black adult female and the two accomplices were a white male adult and a Hispanic female. All three were said to be 30 to 40 years of age.  [Source: Elk Grove News]

Home improvement retailer launches VR-based training

Lowe’s is expanding its commitment to virtual reality — this time, internally. Tapping the VR and AR expertise of its Lowe’s Innovation Labs division, the home improvement giant has launched a new VR-based training program. Called Holoroom How To: Red Vest, the platform is designed to teach associates how to use specific in-store equipment through virtual reality. The program was designed on the success of Holoroom How To, an experience that gave customers confidence to begin their next home improvement project. This next phase of virtual learning gives employees the knowledge they need to help better serve customers, according to a blog entry on the company’s website. The program, which is focused on the window department, delivers greater project knowledge, which provides more motivation and increased confidence to help address customer’s window fashion needs. The platform projects a life-like simulation that teaches associates every step of the process as they advance through the module. Associates learn from potential mistakes without waste of materials or dissatisfied customers, the blog explained.
The program launched in November 2017, in 10 markets nationwide, including Tampa, Philadelphia and Knoxville. More than 400 associates have tested the experience, and more than 90% have reported virtual reality training would help them to better serve our customers, according to Lowe’s.  [Source: Chain Store Age]

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