Breaking News in the Industry: January 22, 2019

Grand theft charges brought against 80-year-old employee

It should have been a normal Friday morning trip to the grocery store for Travis Bernitt, but his day shopping at the Publix store at 500 East Lake Road took a turn when he lost a money clip containing five $100 bills. Upon review of store surveillance video, it appeared that a Publix employee found the money clip inside the store. Further review of the video showed that employee take the clip outside of the store and conceal it behind the license plate of his personal vehicle.

Publix staff asked the employee, 80-year-old Joseph Casola, about the missing money clip but he did not admit to having seen it. When interviewed by Sheriff’s Deputies, Casola admitted to having the clip and having concealed it behind his vehicle tag. Casola was arrested and charged with one count of grand theft.   [Source: Fox13 News]

Toddler ‘arrest’ viral video addressed by PD

The Tallahassee Police Department released body camera footage of a traffic stop after a video of a toddler walking up to police with her hands in the air went viral. The video compilation, posted on Facebook by the police department, shows a snippet from a witness’ video, then the chief of police addressing the incident, along with body camera footage showing the officers’ actions during the traffic stop.

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On Thursday afternoon, Tallahassee Police officers were called to a Bealls Outlet after shoplifters were reported. “Information was received from the store regarding one of the suspects having what appeared to be a gun in their waistband,” police said in a statement. “Based on this information, the loss prevention officers did not stop the suspects, but provided officers with a description of the suspects and their vehicle.” That’s when officers arrived on scene and asked the suspects inside a blue pickup truck to get out of the car.

In the witness video, a toddler is seen walking barefoot with her hands up over her head toward officers with their guns drawn. Police said the child’s actions were unexpected, and that she was imitating her parents, who were suspects. Body camera footage showed officers working to get the toddler and her 1-year-old brother safely away from the truck and into their mother’s arms. “Are there any other adults in the car?” the officer is heard asking in the video. “C’mon, sweetie, you’re OK,” the officer told the young girl. “Come on over here. Mommy is right here, go to mommy. Put your hands down, you’re fine, sweetie.” Police said two men, identified as Chad M. Bom, 34, and James W. McMullen, 38, were charged with the theft. The gun they were in possession of was actually a pellet gun, cops said.   [Source: Police One]

Grocery retailer testing ‘smart shelves’

Kroger’s smart shelving pilot is in its very early phases. The massive grocery conglomerate, which is the parent firm behind some 2,780 stores in the U.S., has so far fewer than 100 stores carrying the digitally-equipped shelves Kroger co-developed with Microsoft. But according to Kroger’s leadership, the shift to digital shelving and other new features starting to make their entrance into Kroger today are part of a bigger transition the brand is making as it seeks to better serve the needs of its customer base.

The shelves are designed to offer a few kinds of digital supports, reportedly they will be able to show ads, digital coupons that consumers can easily add to their mobile devices and change prices on the fly. The shelves will also reportedly be built atop of a network of sensors that keep track of products and keep in-store inventory counts accurate and up-to-date in real time. The system made its first in-store appearance last fall, and can now be found in 92 Kroger locations. At Kroger’s two high-tech test stores in Cincinnati and Redmond, Washington (near Kroger and Microsoft’s respective HQs) the shelves can interact with the Kroger’s mobile app to guide them through the store to the items they’ve selected. “Together we can create something that, separately, we could not,” Kroger Chief Executive Officer Rodney McMullen said in a joint interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

The two companies have worked on projects before but deepened their collaboration over the last 18 months. Amazon already grabs about 50 cents of every dollar spent online, but that dominance doesn’t extend to groceries, which are still mainly bought in stores. To break into the market, Amazon acquired upscale grocer Whole Foods Market, a deal that sent Kroger’s shares plummeting. The eCommerce king now offers free grocery deliveries from Whole Foods stores for its Prime members. The 2019 the grocery market is an incredible space in terms of potential. The question for Kroger is if it can level up its digital game, with a little help from its friends, enough to stay alive in a race where everyone is looking to draw and delight consumers.   [Source: PYMNTS]

Employee couple arrested; charged with grand larceny

Two former employees of the Target store in Queensbury, New York, were arrested this week for allegedly stealing nearly $4,500 worth of merchandise from the store, according to police. Edward K. Marshall, 21, and Fiona L. Nolan, 19, both of William Street, Granville, were charged with two felony counts of fourth-degree grand larceny for alleged thefts of $4,479 in Apple product merchandise on Saturday and Tuesday as they worked at the store.

Police said the couple, who are boyfriend-girlfriend, took iPads, Apple watches and earbuds while working. Some were sold online, and some were recovered when the Warren County Sheriff’s Office was called and began investigating. Both were arraigned and released pending prosecution in Queensbury Town Court. Sheriff’s patrol officers Tyler Morse and George Carpenter made the arrest.   [Source: The Post Star]

Suspect escapes after punching asset protection member

A California Target asset protection member was punched Friday evening after confronting a suspected shoplifter, police said. About 6:45 p.m., the suspect entered the store at 401 Kenilworth Drive. The man concealed some items in his pants and tried to leave the store, according to police.

When a AP member tried to detain him, the suspect dropped the merchandise and punched the employee, causing a minor injury, officials said. After that, the suspect fled. No information was released about what the suspect was trying to steal. Police released surveillance photos of the suspect and urges anyone who recognizes him to contact Officer Robert Sutherland at the Petaluma police department at 707.778.4372.   [Source: KPIX5 News]

Employee sues PD for shoplift incident injuries

A store employee is accusing five Henderson, Nevada, police officers and a sergeant of punching, kicking and jolting him with a stun gun after he became sandwiched between them and an armed fleeing shoplifting suspect. City spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said Friday that Henderson officials will assess James Herndon’s claims before responding to a lawsuit alleging he suffered lasting head and face injuries in the January 2018 incident at a Sportsman’s Warehouse store.

The lawsuit filed January 8 in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas says Herndon was hit with a rifle butt and beaten after he jumped on the fleeing suspect, despite telling the officers he wasn’t the suspect. The document says closed-circuit TV showed the suspect had a gun in his belt before he ran as officers approached and Herndon jumped on him to stop him.   [Source: News3 LV]

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