Breaking News in the Industry: January 14, 2019

Interview and Interrogation

Employee admits to $3k merchandise theft

An employee with Dick’s Sporting Goods in Macon, Georgia, was arrested after the store found out he’d stolen over $2,800 worth of merchandise. That’s according to a Bibb County sheriff’s report, which said the store’s loss prevention manager told deputies that 25-year-old Darius Jackson had been stealing throughout December 2018.

The loss prevention associate alleged that Jackson was seen on camera multiple times ringing up friends’ items but only charging them a few dollars. According to the report, the store talked with Jackson about it, who admitted to the thefts. Deputies arrested Jackson, charged him with six counts of fiduciary theft, and booked him into the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center. Jail records indicate he was released on January 10 after posting a bond of nearly $4,000.    [Source: WGXA News]

Retail stocks taking a big hit after holiday sales report, here’s why

Shares of retailers were hit hard on Thursday after a handful of stores offered holiday sales guidance that disappointed investors. Here’s what some of the major retailers said about how they fared during the 2018 holiday season.

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  • Target: Comparable sales grew 5.7% in November and December, compared with a rise of 3.4% over the same period last year. For the entire fourth quarter, Target said it still expected comparable sales growth of around 5%, and left its full-year sales and earnings per share guidance unchanged.
  • Kohl’s: Comparable sales in November and December rose 1.2%, compared to a nearly 7% rise during the same period last year. The company also said it lifted its full-year guidance on diluted earnings per share.
  • Macy’s: Comparable sales increased by 0.7% during the holiday season. The company lowered both its full-year sales and profit guidance after disappointing holiday sales; Macy’s now forecasts flat annual revenue growth, compared to its prior estimate of a 0.3% to 0.7% rise. Macy’s, specifically, pointed to a holiday season that started off well, but languished.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond was one retailer bucking the trend on Thursday. Its stock rose 5%, extending a 20% surge in after-hours trading on Wednesday, after reporting quarterly earnings.   [Source: Business Insider]

Alleged shoplifter takes police on 100 MPH chase

Panties, bras and other shoplifted items were tossed from a car being chased by police at speeds nearly reaching 100 mph in northwestern Indiana. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that the driver almost struck other vehicles Wednesday evening before her car tires were shredded by spikes laid across a roadway by police.

Four bras, 14 pairs of panties, two candles and some air freshener refills — all valued at about $445 — are believed to have been stolen from a retail store in Portage, east of Gary. The chase started when officers investigating the shoplifting approached the woman about 6:30 p.m. She was arrested when her car was stopped in Chesterton. The woman faces fleeing and resisting law enforcement, theft and reckless driving charges.   [Source: WANE News]

All in the family cell phone crooks

A shoplifting spree that hit cell phone stores all over southeastern Wisconsin during at least an eight-month period may have come to an end now that two Milwaukee brothers were apprehended in Franklin on January 2. As of January 10, charges had been filed against Jermaine L. Moore, 39, and Johnathan J. Moore, 31, in seven retail theft cases in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Kenosha counties, racking up four felonies and 14 misdemeanors, according to online court records. And more charges may be on the way.

According to a Jan. 8 criminal complaint about  the Franklin theft, more than 30 additional charges against the brothers have been referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, which have yet to be sorted and reviewed. The complaint alleges the brothers shoplifted cell phones from stores in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, West Allis, West Milwaukee, Oak Creek, Glendale, Hales Corners and communities in other counties, such as Kenosha and Grafton. Authorities had long been aware of the brothers. Jermaine Moore was hit with two retail theft charges in April and August, but he was freed from custody after signing a $1,000 signature bond, according to online court records.   [Source: Journal Sentinel]

Smart credit card fraud investigated by US Secret Service

Credit card thieves have been taking advantage of smart card technologies to avoid getting caught, according to Krebs on Security. The US Secret Service offices in New York and St. Louis have apparently been working on a criminal investigation involving fraud rings using Fuze Cards to store stolen card data. Fuze Cards allow you to store up to 30 credit card details, and you can switch between them using the small screen on the front. It makes the data of the card you want to use available to merchants via a magnetic stripe and an embedded chip. You can also use them to withdraw money from ATMs.

According to the internal Secret Service memo Krebs got his hands on, credit card thieves are using smart cards to avoid raising suspicion. Someone changing the numbers used on a single smart card after a transaction has been declined will look less suspicious than someone rifling through dozens of physical cards, after all.

Krebs notes that fraud rings would often purchase thousands of stolen debit and credit card data, which were mostly obtained through skimmers and hacked point-of-sale devices, online. They can easily use those numbers with a smart card. That said, the Secret Service’s memo explained that “smart card technology makes up a small portion of fraudulent credit cards” at the moment. It’s not entirely clear if smart card makers can implement additional safety measures to prevent the use of stolen data, so in the end, all you can do is keep a close eye on your credit card statements.   [Source: engadget]

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