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Breaking News in the Industry: June 28, 2018

Shoplifters steal $7,600 worth of clothing from sporting goods store [Viral Video]

Polk County detectives are searching for shoplifters who stole from a DICK’S Sporting Goods store in Davenport, Florida, and pried open the exit doors to run out with baskets filled with merchandise. Investigators released surveillance video on the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, showing the four suspects walking into the store in Posner Park, calling them the “fearless foursome.” Each person was seen grabbing a green shopping hand basket at the entrance.

Soon after, loss prevention associates tried to stop them from exiting the store, according to detectives, by shutting the automatic exit doors from opening. However, the suspects were seen prying open the doors, grabbing the items, including socks, that fell out of their baskets, and running out the store. Investigators said they stole $7,600 worth of Nike brand clothing.

One suspect, seen wearing a red shirt and pants with sandals was identified as 20-year-old Kierin Jaquarius Andre, who lives in Orlando, and they need help locating him. Detectives said they still need help identifying three of the suspects. The incident occurred in May. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Lockard at 863.298.6200 or 863.292.3300. An anonymous tip can be submitted to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 800.228.477.   [Source: Fox35 Orlando]

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Police officers injured during pursuit after reported shoplifting

A Connecticut  man has been charged after authorities said he put an officer in a headlock and threw him to the ground while attempting to flee a reported shoplifting incident at Stop & Shop in Meriden. Esteban Ortiz, 39, was charged with second-degree assault, assault on police, first-degree strangulation, interfering with police, and sixth-degree larceny. He was arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on Monday. Bond was set at $50,000 and Ortiz is due back in court on July 23.

Police were called to Stop and Shop around 5:45 p.m. after Ortiz was seen filling a cart with about $137 worth of energy drinks and leaving without paying, according to a police report. Ortiz ran from officer Garrett Ficara. When Ficara caught Ortiz, Ortiz put the officer in a headlock, preventing him from breathing, the report said. Ficara then struck Ortiz in the face and tried to break free, but Ortiz threw him to the ground causing Ficara to strike his head on the pavement. Ficara eventually deployed his stun gun, striking Ortiz in the abdomen. Ortiz ripped out the prongs and appeared to be unaffected, the report said. Officer Jason Welles also deployed his stun gun, but Ortiz was again not affected. When a third officer arrived, Ortiz stopped resisting and was handcuffed.   [Source: My Record Journal]

Suspects wanted in foiled attempt to steal merchandise

Police in Gwinnette Count, Georgia, say two women entered a Target retail store on Holcomb Bridge Road and nearly made off with more than $1000 worth of merchandise. The two women entered the store located in the 3200 block of Holcomb Road on June 21, and were in the store for a total of two hours. The women attempted to leave the store with the cart full of merchandise but were stopped by Asset Protection associates.

Seeing that their attempt was foiled, the women fled on foot through the parking lot. An escape vehicle was not seen. Anyone with information on who these women are should contact the police, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 404.577.8477. Tips leading to an arrest and indictment may be rewarded up to $2,000.   [Source: CBS46 News]

Game over for Toys ‘R’ Us

There is a certain sad irony that the very store that invented the concept of the retail monopoly will in just a few more days no longer pass Go and no longer collect $200 — from anybody. Toys “R” Us — the first category killer in retailing and the originator of the business model that had a big-box dominator creating a virtual monopoly in a specific product category — will be no more by the end of the week. No doubt somebody will resurrect the Toys name in some format and it will join Montgomery Ward, Sharper Image and Linens ’n Things — among many others — as a zombie brand in the land of the living retail dead. But the Toys “R” Us that can trace its origins back to a kids’ store in Washington, D.C., that under Charlie Lazarus transformed itself into one of the most innovative retailing concepts in history will be gone.

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By this point, the usual suspects who did this evil thing have been rounded up and identified, if not exactly held accountable. Greedy private equity owners, managers who never understood what the internet would do to physical retailing and a host of other bad decisions made by a cast of thousands all played their part, as did the Great Recession, which took its toll on a wide swath of retailing, and aggressive competitors like Walmart and Target, whose take-no-retail-prisoners strategies left little margin for error — not to mention little margins of any sort.

Right now the online world is full of social laments on the late great store as all of those Toys “R” Us kids bring up endless happy-memory tweets. At the same time, more recent customers scramble to get their store credits and returns in order. But for the retailing world, it’s a lesson painfully learned. Even the most innovative market leader out there eventually runs into the new kid on the retail block that does it better, faster and with more pizzazz. A lesson, mind you, that today’s retailing hotshots should not ignore. So at this point it’s all over except for wiping away those last few tears. Another retail meltdown that didn’t have to happen, another iconic brand headed for the afterlife. Proving once again that there’s no such thing as free parking when it comes to retailing.   [Source: Forbes]

Supreme Court defends AmEx business model in blow to retailers

American Express’ practice of barring stores from steering shoppers to using cards with lower swipe fees than its own is legal, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, handing the retail industry a setback. The Justice Department and 12 states had challenged the AmEx policy that blocks retailers from offering discounts or other incentives to use a different charge or credit card, calling it anti-competitive. That approach is one of the key pillars of American Express’ business model, predicated on its ability to charge the higher fees because AmEx has the higher income shoppers retailers and other businesses covet.

Stores, restaurants and other businesses pay card issuers swipe fees anytime a consumer pays with a card. AmEx charges higher fees, which are the biggest component of its revenues, and as a result is accepted at fewer establishments than Visa or MasterCard. Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion, said the government had not proved that AmEx policy had “anti-competitive” effects. “Amex’s business model has spurred robust inter-brand competition and has increased the quality and quantity of credit-card transactions. And it is “[t]he promotion of inter-brand competition,” he wrote in the decision posted to the SCOTUS blog site.

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The retail industry’s two primary trade groups, the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, panned the decision. They bemoaned a practice that they said raises costs for consumers.“By denying merchants the right to simply ask for another card or offer an incentive for using a preferred card, the Supreme Court has undermined the principle of free markets where one company should not be allowed to dictate the practices of an entire industry in order to protect its business model,” Stephanie Martz, the NRF’s senior vice president and general counsel said in a statement.

The case dates back to 2010, when the Justice Department and a number of states sued AmEx, saying its practice led to higher retail prices. The Supreme Court decision was split along ideological lines, with Thomas joined in the 5-4 decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, all seen as conservative justices on many issues.   [Source: Fortune]


Stolen metals fuel NJ opioid crisis

Drug addicts are paying for their next fix by stealing tens of millions of dollars worth of metals ripped from cellphone towers, power stations and even cemeteries, then fencing them at scrap yards and thrift stores, according to a report from a state agency. The thefts are so vast, they lead to breakdowns in cell service and electrical power, and also create higher cost for taxpayers who foot the bill for manhole covers and other metal stolen from communities and businesses, according to a recent report by the State Commission of Investigation, a watchdog agency.

The stolen metals are fueling the state’s opioid crisis, according to the report, which is titled “Corrupt Commerce: Heroin, Thievery and the Underground Trade in Stolen Goods.” More than a third of overdose victims in two counties are in databases of people who had sold materials to thrift and to secondhand stores, scrap-metal yards and pawn dealers. The report also indicates some owners or employees of the businesses ask addicts to steal the metals, the commission reported. The reports also cited the case of a Galloway Township man and woman who led a ring that stole $100,000 by shoplifting from local Target and TJMaxx stores, returning the goods for gift cards and selling them at half price all so they could feed their heroin habits. Sandy Androckitis, clinical director for Cape Assist, a Wildwood-based organization preventing and treating substance abuse, said it’s not uncommon for addicts to resort to theft. “I think the phrase is ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures,’” Androckitis said.   [Source: Press of Atlantic City]

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