Breaking News in the Industry: July 25, 2018

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Family-run store sold items shoplifted from big retailers

A brother and sister who own a Somerset County, New Jersey, store and four employees were charged with running a retail theft ring in which they sold items shoplifted from major retailers like Target, Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond. David Rubin, 59, and Sheryllee Rubin, 58, both of the Somerset section of Franklin, own Everything Wireless in Franklin, authorities said. They were charged with being the leaders of an organized retail theft enterprise and being the leaders of organized crime racketeering, the county prosecutor’s said in a statement.

Four employees of Everything Wireless were charged with receiving stolen property and dealing in stolen property. Lisa Rubin, 54, of Franklin; Batsheva Rubin-Rivera, 23; of New Brunswick; Andre Watts, 29, of North Brunswick, and Dunia Patricia Hernandez, 31, of Franklin. Lisa Rubin is David Rubin’s wife. Batsheva Rubin-Rivera is David’s daughter, according to prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Jeanne Trillhaase.

Everything Wireless knowingly bought items from shoplifters that were stolen from stores such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes and Bed Bath & Beyond before re-selling them either in their store or over the internet, authorities said. In all, the store took in about $14,000 in stolen goods. The six were arrested June 4 following a seven-month investigation. Anyone with more information is asked to call  the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force Unit at 908.231.7100 or Franklin police at 732.873.5533.   [Source:]

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Drugstore employee faces larceny charge

A drugstore employee has been arrested in Connecticut for alleged theft of prescription medications. Police say 39-year-old Samantha Jordan, of Norwalk, turned herself in Sunday in at police headquarters for an active arrest warrant in connection to prescription medications stolen at a Westport CVS pharmacy where she worked.

Officers responded to a report of employee theft of the drugs on June 25, and say Jordan stole four prescriptions from the pharmacy over the course of a month. She is charged with larceny and has been released after posting a $5,000 bond. Jordan is scheduled to appear in Norwalk Court in August. An attorney for Jordan could not be immediately identified, and a working number for her home could not be found.   [Source: WTNH News8]

Uber drivers accused of ‘Vomit Fraud’ by overcharged passengers

Several Uber customers are warning their fellow passengers to check their bill after their next ride. Customers of the ride hailing service in Florida told the Miami Herald they had been falsely charged for cleaning fees of messes they never made. Drivers are being accused of “vomit fraud,” as many of the Uber drivers allegedly claim their passengers threw up in the car after being picked up from a night of partying. “It was a total fraud by two different drivers. They have everything planned for the fraud,” Miami resident William Kennedy told the Herald.

Kennedy told reporters he was overcharged twice in the same night, after both drivers added $150 charges to his bill. Both Uber drivers, who each took Kennedy on a $20 ride, claimed he vomited in the two vehicles. The Miami man says it took “numerous emails” to Uber to get them to refund the $300.
“I immediately contacted Uber through the app. I told them that I was alone, sober, that I was not carrying any drinks and that it was impossible for me to have caused that damage,” Andrea Pérez also said to the Herald’s Spanish language reporters. “But every new email from Uber came from a different representative and always favored the driver.”

Uber had emailed Pérez a bill with a $98 cleanup charge and a photo of vomit on the seat of the SUV she had used. However, Uber reportedly never refunded the Miami woman’s money and instead her credit card company intervened to return her $98. “They’ve been doing it for a long time,” an anonymous Uber driver admitted to reporters. “Many people don’t review their emails or credit card statements, so the drivers wind up pocketing the $80 or $150.”

“My advice for other people would be to take a video when you get out of your Uber,” passenger Crystal Drake told CBS Miami in 2017 after being charged $150 for another fictitious mess. “With 15 million trips a day, Uber is unfortunately not immune to these types of incidents,” Uber officials said while claiming that the “vast majority” of cleaning charges were legitimate.    [Source: CBS New York]

Good Samaritan struck by vehicle during C-store theft

A man was knocked to the ground by a vehicle Monday as he attempted to intervene in a theft at a Topeka, Kansas, convenience store. About 4 p.m., the Topeka Police Department responded to a theft and aggravated battery call at Murphy’s Express, 1531 S.W. Wanamaker, Lt. Aaron Jones said in a news release.

Officers learned that a 58-year-old man attempted to intervene in the suspected theft. He was knocked to the ground by the suspect’s vehicle in the parking lot, causing minor injuries, Jones said. Authorities are looking for a person of interest who was captured in surveillance video. The vehicle involved is described as a late 90s dark blue Chevy Cavalier. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 785.234.0007.   [Source: The Topeka Capital-Journal]

Store manager stole thousands in cash and clothing

A 26-year-old man is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise and cash while employed as a manager at a clothing store in Southlake Mall in Illinois. Thomas S. Poston, of Olympia Fields, was charged Friday in Lake Criminal Court with seven counts of felony theft and three counts of misdemeanor theft.

Hobart police were contacted in May to investigate theft allegations at the DTLR clothing store in Southlake Mall, court records state. A loss prevention associates told authorities she learned May 16 the store was short $800 on its deposit. She reviewed surveillance footage, which showed Poston, a store manager, allegedly placing money from the store’s safe into his backpack during a May 13 shift.

The loss prevention associate said she also learned Poston rang himself up for thousands of dollars in merchandise and then manually changed the price of the items so they cost almost nothing. He also substantially reduced the price of merchandise for three other employees, records state. One employee, who purchased $694 worth of store merchandise on May 18, told police he paid Poston $300 in cash for the merchandise. He said he believed Poston was using his management discount and customer coupons to reduce the items’ prices.

Altogether, the store lost $11,788 in merchandise and cash through Poston’s alleged thefts, records state. Hobart Police Lt. James Gonzales said Monday his department did not pursue charges against the three employees who allegedly benefited from Poston’s thefts. “The employees thought they were just getting the manager’s discount, which is against store policy,” Gonzales said. “No state laws were violated that we could prove against them.” A warrant for Poston remained active Monday, records state. His surety bond is $50,000. A manager for the clothing store said Monday Poston and the three employees were all terminated.   [Source: NWI Times]

Jersey Shore town implementing ‘zero-tolerance’ shoplifting policy

One Jersey Shore town is trying to crack down on shoplifting after a “season uptick” of local businesses getting hit. Sea Isle City Police Chief Tom McQuillen, who was sworn in earlier this year and has already tried to tighten enforcement of drinking on the beach, said in a Facebook message Friday that the department has decided to alter its policy on how it responds to shoplifting calls.

“Our goal is very clear and straightforward: To reduce the incidents of shoplifting thru [sic] an educational program, followed by a zero-tolerance policy on offenders and working with the court system to hold offenders responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” McQuillen wrote. He also added that officers will be checking in with local merchants and giving them tips on how to prevent shoplifting in the first place.

He also encouraged parents to talk to their kids about the consequences of stealing. The crime, McQuillen explained, can take a huge toll on businesses. “These thefts, which can be for something as simple as a stolen item of clothing, can really hurt a small business owner’s ability to stay in business,” McQuillen wrote. As previously noted, McQuillen had started his tenure as police chief by preaching a tough, no-nonsense approach. Before Memorial Day weekend, the department warned that they’d be strictly enforcing quality of life issues like open containers of alcohol and noise violations.   [Source: Philly Voice]

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