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Breaking News in the Industry: July 13, 2018

Employee steals packages worth more than $100,000

Port Arthur Police in Texas say a man working at a UPS Hub stole packages worth over $100,000.
 According to a probable cause affidavit, Matthew Thai Pham is accused of taking cargo destine for a local AT&T store. Pham is accused of taking multiple boxes; some containing Samsung or Apple phones valued at between $400 and $1,100 each and other stolen boxes had accessory watches. In all, the stolen cargo is worth $100,193. The affidavit says Pham admitted to stealing and selling the items. Pham was indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury on a charge of second-degree felony theft.  [Source: ABC12 News]

Prolific thief jailed for shoplifting spree

When David Peterson made more than 30 trips to Lower Bucks hardware stores in 2017, he wasn’t stockpiling $20,000 in weed-wackers and leaf blowers for a backyard-landscaping project. The 37-year-old New Jersey man was stealing the items, along with generators, hedge trimmers, drills and other pieces, and pawning the equipment in the Garden State. Peterson, of Trenton, pleaded guilty to the string of thefts Wednesday in Bucks County Court, admitting that between May and October of last year he stole from three Home Depot and two Lowe’s stores in Bensalem, Falls and Middletown on 36 occasions.

He also admitted to a 2015 theft from a Bensalem Kohl’s, where he made a return for bedding he had never purchase, according to Assistant District Attorney Vanessa Konoval. His new pleas add to a long history of convictions for thefts, drug offenses and robbery, according to court records. In addition to stealing a “hardware store’s worth of merchandise,” President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley wondered aloud how many times Peterson stole and didn’t get caught. “You’re a career criminal. It’s what you do,” Finley said. “You’re a professional.”

Finley ordered the man to serve 1½ to five years in state prison for the thefts consecutive to a five-year sentence he is already serving in New Jersey. The judge said he fashioned the sentence in part to balance the impact of the man’s numerous crimes against his already lengthy incarceration. Asked what he did with the tools he snatched, Peterson explained to the judge that he took them to a pawn shop, usually one in Bordentown, New Jersey, where he was paid about half the retail price for items still in their original packaging. He said the shop has since closed. Peterson pointed to a Percocet addiction that spiraled out of control in the wake of his mother’s death as the driving force behind his prolific shoplifting spree. “I never though it would happen to me,” he said. “I was always the athletic player.” Peterson’s attorney Suzette Adler noted that the man has been largely cooperative since he was caught, waiving court appearances to speed along the process of closing his cases. When Peterson is eventually released from prison, he will have 60 days before he must begin making payments of at least $100 a month toward his $20,518 in restitution costs.   [Source: Burlington County Times]

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Police searching for thieves accused of shoplifting ring [Viral Video]

Police in Centralia, California, are hoping surveillance video will help catch a group of five young men believed to be tied to a shoplifting spree at the outlet malls next to Interstate 5. At least three stores were hit on Tuesday. Police said the five are brazen because of their attitude of not caring if clerks see what they are doing. Surveillance video shows them walking in and simply walking out with goods.

At the Polo Ralph Lauren store, police said the group was hanging out just feet from the store clerks and then they all leave with the last one grabbing clothes and tossing them over his shoulder, and walking out as if nothing is wrong. None of the stores involved would speak about it the thefts, but in general, stores across the country are often not willing to risk the safety of their employees over the loss of merchandise. However, employees did provide a car description of a white VW SUV, which a police officer saw and chased towards downtown. But the officer was told to break it off when speeds reached 90 miles per hour. Hitting two stores is a misdemeanor, but police say three stores makes it a felony.    [Source: KOMO News]

Five-time convicted shoplifter arrested for sixth offense

A Warner Robins, Georgia, man was arrested Sunday for his sixth shoplifting offense, according to a Bibb County police report. A deputy responded to a call at the Kroger on Forsyth Road in Macon on Sunday. Upon arriving at the scene, an employee described the shoplifting suspect who started walking south on Forsyth Road. The deputy found the suspect who identified himself as JaRodney McCoy, 43. McCoy was transported back to the Kroger where employees confirmed he was the shoplifter. The report says McCoy stole four packages of shrimp and five steaks, worth a total of $125.87. McCoy was previously convicted of theft by shoplifting five times, and was taken into custody at the scene.   [Source: WMAZ13 News]

Shoplifting suspects with children arrested after high-speed chase

Diona Murray has had her child endangering charge cleared, according to Miami Valley Ohio Jail records. She is awaiting court action for her failure to comply charge. Murray’s bail is set at $50,000. Englewood police pursued a 43-year-old woman, her daughter and her 7-year-old grandson during a high-speed chase into Trotwood after the woman stole items from a Walmart on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

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Officers were dispatched to the business, located on Hoke Road in Clayton around noon, and were told by a store detective that two females and a child paid for some items at a self-scan but attempted to sneak several out the door, according to an Englewood police report. The detective confronted the suspects, but they resisted and began their escape in a black Hyundai Tucson. Officers spotted the vehicle in their cruiser and pursued the suspects. The suspects drove south on Hoke Road, exceeding 75 mph at several points, repeatedly swerving into oncoming traffic before crashing into a barbed wire fence on Moss Creek Boulevard, according to the report.

The driver, Diona Murray, 43, and her daughter fled the scene on foot toward Moss Creek Golf Club; and in the process, left the 7-year-old boy behind. The boy, who was reportedly not wearing a seat belt, provided officers with information about his grandmother and aunt. He was later transported to his mother.
Murray and her daughter were found hiding in weeds in the 6500 block of Westbrook Road, and were placed in handcuffs. Murray was arrested for failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, child endangering and receiving stolen property for a license plate and a stolen car, according to the report. Murray’s daughter was arrested for failure to comply and theft, according to the report. Murray was processed Tuesday at Montgomery County Jail and charged with failure to comply but has not been formally charged with child endangering, according to Montgomery County Jail records.   [Source: Dayton Daily News]

Police take ‘zero tolerance’ stance on shoplifting, shame suspects on Facebook

The Auburn Maine Police Department says they are embarking on an anti-shoplifting campaign due to skyrocketing shoplifting numbers. “In the first five months of 2018, we have seen an 84% increase in shoplifting thefts as compared to the first five months of 2017,” said Chief Phil Crowell in a press release. “Local businesses are looking to us to help find solutions.”

In 2017, police say only 25 percent of the adults arrested for shoplifting were Auburn residents, 40 percent of the arrested adults were from Lewiston and 31 percent were from other Maine towns. The remaining 4 percent were from out of state. “These retailers are willing to work with us to try and lower the occurrences,” said Deputy Chief Jason Moen. “So, moving forward, businesses will be taking preventative measures and the Auburn Police will be taking a ‘zero tolerance’ stance on shoplifting.”

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Police say anyone caught shoplifting in Auburn stores will be arrested and taken to the Androscoggin County Jail. Once a week, Auburn Police say they will post booking photos on their Facebook page “for the world to see.” “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. Millions of dollars in property is lost every year to shoplifting and we will do our best to prevent it,” said Crowell. “We want people to know that Auburn is open for business but closed to shoplifting.”   [Source: WGME13 News]

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