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Breaking News in the Industry: January 2, 2019

Security guard who shot shoplift suspect charged with murder

The security guard who police say killed a suspected shoplifter at a Hollywood, California, pharmacy has been charged with murder, prosecutors announced Monday. 28-year-old Donald Vincent Ciota II, of Covina, was scheduled to be arraigned later Monday on one count of murder. The charge includes an allegation that he used a firearm “as a deadly and dangerous weapon.” Police say Ciota opened fire inside the Walgreens at Sunset & Vine back on December 2nd after getting into a fight with the man he suspected of shoplifting. Prosecutors say he shot 21-year-old Jonathan Hart in the back as he ran away.

Hart, whose friends called him Sky, was homeless. Those friends told CBS2 that Hart was not shoplifting prior to the altercation. Hart’s family has filed a $525 million lawsuit against Walgreens, saying Hart was targeted and that the pharmacy chain’s security policies contributed to his death. Ciota’s bail is expected to be set at $3 million. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison if convicted.   [Source: CBS9 Los Angeles]

One hundred juveniles swarm mall, 1 injured in fracas

A mall security guard sustained facial injuries after several fights broke out inside the Arden Fair Mall Wednesday and spilled over into the parking lot. The mall was scheduled to close early at 6 p.m. and, according to Sacramento Police, the fighting started just before closing time. Police detained 10 individuals but say as many as 100 juveniles swarmed the mall parking lot, jumping on the hoods of cars and damaging property.

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Police set up a skirmish line and moved the crowd out to Arden Way where they eventually disbursed. Sacramento Police already had extra officers on scene to provide additional security for the day after Christmas shoppers and were aware that similar incidents had taken place during this time in year’s past. “We didn’t have any arrests yesterday, however, our detectives are now looking into any video that was taken on scene at the mall,” a police spokesperson said. Police also say if they can identify any of the individuals on video, they will hold them accountable.   [Source: CBS13 Sacramento]

Can a 11th hour, 4.4 billion bid save the day?

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund said it submitted a last-minute bid Friday valued at $4.4 billion to keep the struggling retailer from being liquidated. Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of the ESL Investments hedge fund that Lampert heads, said it hoped to keep 425 stores open. The bid includes $1.3 billion in financing from three institutions, ESL said in a statement. The iconic retailer, once the nation’s largest department store chain, faced a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely.

The retailer that began out as a mail order catalog in the 1880s has been in a slow death spiral, hobbled by the Great Recession and then overwhelmed by rivals both down the street and across the internet. The 80 stores are due to close by March. That’s in addition to 182 stores already slated for closure, including 142 by the end of 2018 and 40 by February. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, saying at the time it would close more than 20 percent of all stores, keeping open only its 500 most profitable locations. [Source: TIME]

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LP team praised for their efforts by local PD

Another holiday tradition unfortunately reared its head recently at North Point Mall in Alpharetta, Georgia. Several women went into the Von Maur store and helped themselves to roughly 30 coats off the racks, Channel 2 Action News reported. They weren’t Christmas shopping, and they weren’t trying to help less fortunate people stay warm.“Obviously they were looking to profit from this theft,” Alpharetta police officer Howard Miller said. “You’re looking at several thousand dollars worth of coats they were stealing.

However, the store’s loss prevention team wasn’t fooled. “One of the strategies of loss prevention is they watch people on camera,” Miller said, “able to confront someone. And so it was with these people, Miller said. The women left the store quickly when they learned they had been found out. And they dropped the coats in the process. That happens at lot during the holiday season, according to a retail industry worker. “The amount of theft this time of year is just astronomical,” retail worker Yvonne Akers said. “When you have a big theft like that, the store has to absorb it, and it takes away hours from employees,” she said. “I’ve seen that happen.”   [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Shoplifting spree comes to a halt with the arrest of two

Two Washington state residents are in jail in connection to multiple thefts in the past several months. Mary Ruiz, 28, and Charles Williams, 38, were booked into Grant County Jail Friday for organized retail theft and second-degree theft. Ruiz was also booked for second-degree burglary, according to Moses Lake police on Monday.

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Moses Lake police responded to Walmart on Thursday after a male and female suspect tried to steal a hoverboard. Police obtained photos of the two suspects, identified as Ruiz and Williams, which reportedly also linked the two to thefts dating back to late September from several stores including Walmart, Safeway, Rite Aid and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

On Friday, officers again responded to Walmart after a theft of another hoverboard. Ruiz and Williams reportedly fled the store on foot before police arrived. Officers located the suspect’s vehicle and reportedly found several stolen hoverboards inside. Both Ruiz and Williams were later located at two nearby businesses and taken into custody. The two allegedly stole or “under-rang” more than $1000 worth of items from Walmart over the past two weeks.   [Source: Fiber One]

A retail bankruptcy list for 2018

There is no doubt that 2017 was a tough year for many retailers, with industry icons such as Toys R Us, RadioShack, Gymboree and Payless shoes all filing for bankruptcy— but 2018 wasn’t much better. Despite record holiday sales, relatively high consumer sentiment throughout the year, a strong economy and low unemployment, more than a dozen retailers had to file for bankruptcy this year.

While retailers such as Sears, Mattress Firm, David’s Bridal and Brookstone made the biggest news when announcing their liquidation, other smaller chains like Claire’s, Nine West and Bon-Ton also helped contribute to the downward spiral of some shopping malls. Here are more retailers that filed for bankruptcy in 2018:
David’s Bridal – Filed in November
Mattress Firm – Filed in October
Sears – Filed in October
Brookstone – Filed in August
Nine West – Filed in April
Claire’s – Filed in March
Bon-Ton – Filed in February
Other small retailers that filed for bankruptcy in 2018 include:
A’gaci – Filed in January
Kiko USA – Filed in January
The Walking Company – Filed in March
Rockport – Filed in May
Gump’s – Filed in August
National Stores – Filed in August [Source: Yahoo! Finance]



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