Breaking News in the Industry: February 8, 2019

Employee charged with felony embezzlement of $500,000

The Cabot Police Department arrested an Arkansas woman charged with embezzling more than $500,000 from Stedfast Heat and Air over several years. Police say that Brandy Higgins, aka Brandy Baugh, stole the money from the store over several years and that they began their investigation into the incident on November 21.

Higgins was charged with three felony counts of theft of property, one felony count of theft of property, fraudulent use of credit card, theft of property of credit/debit card or account number, a misdemeanor count of fraudulent use of credit card number, and three misdemeanor counts of theft of property.
 Authorities say she was afforded the opportunity to post bond.   [Source: KATV7 News]

Authorities seize $60,000 in cargo theft caper

Local and state law enforcement officers in Colorado confiscated nearly $60,000 worth of stolen property as a result of a search warrant in unincorporated Morgan County. According to a release from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, approximately 50 law enforcement officers from the Colorado State Patrol Investigative Services unit, B.A.T.T.L.E Task Force, Denver Police Department, Fort Morgan Police Department, Brush Police Department, Sterling Police Department and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant in the 17000 block of Morgan County Road JJ at approximately 9:30 AM.

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Once authorities secured the property and persons at the address, several buildings, trailers and cargo containers were searched for stolen vehicles, parts and cargo. Items recovered in the search included a 2012 Great Dane 53-foot semi-trailer; a 2007 Utility 53-foot Reefer semi-trailer; a 40-foot cargo container; and 61 boxes of JEK Custom Cabinets. The total estimated value of recovered stolen items was $59,500, according to Morgan County Sheriff Dave Martin. The stolen items recovered stemmed from investigations of thefts from the Denver area, Martin confirmed.   [Source: Fort Morgan Times]

Kroger asset protection employees receive LPC certification scholarships

Kroger, in partnership with The Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF), recently awarded LPCertified (LPC) scholarships to employees to support their career and personal development. Through Kroger’s ‘Feed Your Future’ tuition reimbursement program, 45 Asset Protection associates will be given the opportunity to earn this widely recognized certification within the loss prevention industry.

Mike Lamb, Kroger, Vice President of Asset Protection states, “The importance and value of self-development in today’s competitive retail environment cannot be overstated. As the loss prevention / asset protection industry continues to evolve, the knowledge and skill sets gained through the LPC process advances both the individual as well as our industry. We are delighted to be engaged with the Foundation and the partnership that will benefit Kroger and our Asset Protection leaders.”

“The LPF is excited to support Kroger’s Asset Protection team! said Terry Sullivan, LPC, President of The Loss Prevention Foundation. “Educating the LP industry is our mission and it’s great to see that the Kroger Asset Protection employees are eager to pursue their LPC certification.  We are also very proud to have Mike Lamb, LPC show his support for continued education for the Kroger team.”   [Source: The Loss Prevention Foundation]

Employee charged with theft of electronics totaling $100,000

A Kimball Electronics employee has been arrested in Jasper, Indiana, for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 worth of items from the company. The Jasper Police Department was notified by Kimball Electronics on Friday (February 1, 2019) about an alleged internal theft by an employee, that is said to have taken place between July 2018 and December 2018. A 36-year old man was arrested and charged for the thefts, according to a report in the Dubois County Herald.

Following an investigation by the Jasper police, the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department and the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office, all items were located and recovered. The items are currently being inventoried and are estimated to be valued at $100,000.  The unnamed suspect is facing a Level 5 felony count of theft which carries a sentencing range of a minimum of 1 year and a 6 years and up to $10,000 fine.   [Source: evertiq]

Retailer is accused of racial discrimination for locking up African-American beauty products

Walmart stores around the country are being accused of racial discrimination for keeping African-American beauty and hair care products in a locked case, but one Long Island store removed the glass after a customer filed complaints. In a Facebook post on January 26, Patricia Fulford asked, “Why is it that the black hair products are the only ones under lock and key” at her Riverhead, New York., Walmart. Most of the items in the case cost less than $5, according to Fulford’s photo.

Walmart said in a statement that the decision to lock up the items was data driven. “We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security,” read the statement, according to Riverhead LOCAL. “Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures.”Fulford took her complaint to Walmart, town officials, and the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The glass cases around the products were removed roughly a week later.   [Source: Fortune]

Retailer to close 160 stores

H&M’s belated move to digital sales and data-based design is costing the apparel retail group. The company is climbing a learning curve. CEO Karl-Johan Persson cited “difficulties with the logistics upgrade” in some markets earlier in 2018, which led to costs that showed up in the fourth quarter. “Applying the lessons learned, we have now increased investments to secure upcoming transitions,” he said in a statement.

The company’s move to boost its online sales and integrate them better with its many stores was mixed globally. The U.K., for example, delivered 38% online growth, and a 1% decline in stores, while growth in China (up 24%), India (up 43%) and Russia (up 27%), was based on increases in both channels, according to Persson. “However, other markets such as the USA and Norway, were more challenging,” he said. “In parallel with our global online roll-out, we are intensifying our store portfolio optimization and we continue the integration of physical stores and digital channels.”

That will mean some 160 store closures this year, with an “option to renegotiate almost 1,000 store contracts,” the company said in its full-year report presentation. The company plans net 175 new stores in 2019, with about 335 new stores opening, (of which 240 will be H&M stores), with a focus on growth markets, the company said. That shows that the company plans to grow its new non-flagship banners, except for Cheap Monday, which it shuttered last year.   [Source: RetailDIVE]


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