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Breaking News in the Industry: July 24, 2018

Shoplifting arrests lead to seizure of guns, knives and drugs

In Georgia, the shoplifting arrests of two Jackson County men Sunday at Walmart on Lexington Road led to the seizure of methamphetamine, loaded guns and “countless ” knives, Athens-Clarke County police said. Police responded to the store about 5:15 p.m. on a report a shoplifter was fighting with a Walmart loss prevention associate, police said.

The LP associate caught 45-year-old James Hoyte Harvey trying to leave the store without paying for a speaker valued at $25, police said. When officers arrived, they found the suspect and associate struggling on the ground inside the store. Harvey resisted arrest and police said they took him into custody after threatening him with a Taser. Harvey told officers that he had driven to Walmart in a truck with another man who was still in the store, later identified as 40-year-old Mark Allen Little. Little was detained for shoplifting because he allegedly had taken an item from Walmart and attempted to return it for a cash refund, according to police.

When consenting to be searched, Little reportedly told police he had a knife and multi-tool in his pocket. He was found to also be in possession of “more than four knifes” and a small glass bottle containing suspected methamphetamine. When officers located the suspects’ truck, they searched it and found additional suspected meth, several syringes, two loaded guns and “countless knives.”

Little and Harvey, both Jefferson residents, were each charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug-related objects and theft by shoplifting. Police said Harvey was additionally charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office placed a hold on Harvey’s release for an unspecified reason, according to the local jail’s website..  [Source: Athens Banner-Herald]

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Internal theft arrest made at store

Officers arrested a Bridgeport, Connecticut, woman who was involved in a conspiracy to commit around $7,000 in internal theft from Forever 21, according to police. Corporate loss prevention reported in November 2017 that merchandise was stolen and that several employees were involved. Employees took sensors off of merchandise and a manager pretended to ring up items for sale. The items were put in a bag and left near the back door. Shameen Thomas, 33, of Bridgeport was charged with criminal attempt at third-degree larceny and conspiracy. She was arrested July 16. More arrests are expected.   [Source: Trumbull Patch]

A man wearing employee vest ‘person of interest’ in retail theft

Police say a man wearing an employee vest is a person of interest in the theft at one Eastern Carolina Walmart. Jacksonville police released surveillance photos today of the man. They say the felony larceny happened at the Walmart on North Marine Boulevard on July 3rd. When asked whether the man was impersonating a Walmart employee, police said that’s part of their investigation. Police say the man appeared to have been driving a light gray SUV with a light interior. Crime Stoppers offers a $2,500 reward for information that helps police. Anyone with information should call Jacksonville police at 910.938.6464 or Crime Stoppers at 910.938.3273.   [Source: WITN News]

Man stole $3.5K worth of electronics after he tricked employee

A Texas Crime Stoppers tip led to the arrest of a man who stole more than $3,500 worth of computers and video equipment from the Lufkin’s Sam Club store after he tricked store employees back in February. Todd Allen Lea, 40, of Lufkin, was arrested and charged with state-jail felony theft between $2,500 and $30,000 and two misdemeanors – theft between $100 and $750 and criminal mischief between $100 and $750.

According to the arrest affidavit, a Lufkin police officer was dispatched to the Sam’s Club store to take a theft report on Feb. 8. When the officer got there, they spoke to a loss prevention associate at the store. The LP associate told the LPD officer that a man stole electronics at the store. She also told the officer that the man went to the tire section and waited until the employee wasn’t paying attention and tried to walk out of the store. However, the store employee caught on and asked to see his receipt, the affidavit stated. At that point, the suspect said he was still shopping.

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Later, the suspect allegedly tricked store employees into thinking he was returning the merchandise. After he walked around the store for a bit, he walked to the exit door and told the employee there that he had changed his mind, and he didn’t want to return the items. The suspect then walked out of the store without paying for the items. Two photos of the suspect were placed into evidence, and investigators later obtained surveillance video from the store. Police also learned that the suspect was possibly driving a white, extended cab pickup.

According to the affidavit, the Lufkin Police Department received the video on Feb. 9. As it turned out, the suspect’s face was clearly visible on Facebook, so the investigator on the case arranged for the video to be posted on the Crime Stoppers Facebook page. An anonymous tip identified the suspect as Lea. In addition, another LPD investigator recognized Lea from past dealings with him in his position with the police department. The investigator passed on information about what vehicle Lea was driving, along with his home address. Further investigation revealed that Lea posted on his personal Facebook page about the Crime Stoppers tip. Lea was arrested on the charges yesterday, according to jail records. He was released from the jail later Thursday after he posted an unspecified total bail amount on the charges.   [Source: KFVS12 News]

Counterfeit $100 iPhone X mimics $1000 original’s UI, features, and port

Counterfeiters have never been afraid to brazenly knock off Apple’s products, but they’ve rarely had as much success as a $100 iPhone X knockoff motherboard discovered in Shenzhen, China. From its use of a sophisticated iOS skin for Android to a chassis that clones the $1000 iPhone down to its Lightning port, the knockoff demonstrates the latest capabilities of China’s copycats — and the security risks involved in purchasing from them.

In almost every way, the counterfeiters behind the iPhone X knockoff succeeded in a “close enough” replication of Apple’s designs. The packaging looks basically identical, except for less saturated ink, even including a “Welcome to iPhone” instructional insert. And the device itself looks nearly indistinguishable from the original. It even includes a working Lightning port for data and charging, and both front and rear cameras — though advanced features such as TrueDepth 3D sensing and the Haptic Engine are missing.

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Interestingly, the processor inside is a MediaTek MT6580, a chip that’s commonly used in inexpensive Chinese Android phones. Apple was recently reported to be in talks with MediaTek for a 5G modem for iPhones, as well as integrated wireless chips for HomePod speakers. Similarly, while the underlying OS is based on Android 6 Marshmallow, the UI and apps superficially appear to be Apple’s. The same fonts and interface elements are found in the Camera app, while Calculator has the same circular buttons and numbers, and even the App Store appears almost exactly the same. However, Motherboard notes that some of the apps misbehave, and others — despite having iOS app icons — open third-party alternatives that aren’t the same.   [Source: VentureBeat]

Retailers compete early for seasonal workers amid strong U.S. jobs market

While the nation’s big retailers battle for consumer dollars they’re now also waging a fight for seasonal workers. Retailers such as JCPenney and Kohl’s already are posting help-wanted ads for their busy season, weeks or even months earlier than usual. That means Americans looking for a seasonal job with a retailer — starting with the upcoming back-to-school season and then through the Christmas holidays — are enjoying their best prospects in years, thanks to the strong U.S. economy and employment picture.

That’s put the onus on retailers to hire the best seasonal workers as early as possible because those looking for work have considerable employment choices, analysts said. Retailers have unveiled plans to hire thousands of seasonal workers, and those announcements “are a reaction to the job market,” said Penelope Brackett, practice development manager at RiseSmart, an outplacement-services firm. “Workers now have options to go somewhere else,” she said. That might seem surprising after two years of dreary headlines about certain brick-and-mortar retailers closing stores, laying off workers or filing for bankruptcy in the face of consumers’ massive shift to online shopping, notably to

The victims included Toys R Us Inc., clothing seller Gymboree Corp. and the Sport Chalet and Sports Authority sporting-goods chains, to name just a few. “There’s been a restructuring going on in a large part of retail” as many of the remaining chains resized their operations and widened their online offerings to complement their physical stores, and “I think we were misguided by some of the reports of the so-called apocalypse of retail,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation trade group. Now, with the U.S. economy showing solid growth, “the jobs machine in the United States has really kicked in and that includes retail,” Kleinhenz said.

Indeed, there were 776,000 retail job openings nationwide in May, up from 654,000 a year earlier and more than double the 352,000 openings in May 2012, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. jobless rate edged up to 4.0% in June from an 18-year low of 3.8% in May mainly because thousands of Americans started looking for work with the economy getting stronger, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. In California, unemployment in June was 4.2%, a record low for a survey that began in 1976, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Seasonal jobs can include not only sales and cashier positions but also jobs in customer service, in-store stocking and styling for chains with sizable beauty counters, such as the Sephora counters at JCPenney. There also are a variety of stocking and sorting jobs at the retailers’ distribution and fulfillment sites. JCPenney said it’s begun hiring 18,000 workers for the back-to-school season alone, including 350 in the Los Angeles area.   [Source: Los Angeles Times]

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