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Breaking News in the Industry: June 29, 2018

Pair accused of beating loss prevention associate

A simple shoplifting case turned into a robbery when police say one of the suspects started assaulting a loss prevention associate. It happened June 4 at the JCPenney at 1450 Polaris Parkway in Columbus, Ohio. Police say a man and woman were observed shoplifting. When a loss prevention associate confronted the pair, the man threw the officer to the ground and beat her in the face and head. Police said the pair then picked up the stolen items and left in a light blue SUV.

The first suspect is described as a black male in his late 20s standing between 6’ and 6’2” and weighing between 150 and 160 pounds. The second suspect is described as a black female in her late 20s standing around 5’7” and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Beard at 614.645.2091.   [Source: NBC4i News]

Suspect caught on video threatening employee with gun [Viral Video]

Texas authorities are asking for your help in finding a man who pointed a gun at an employee during a theft at the Home Depot in Sugar Land.

 Police were called to the store on June 25 around 11:45 a.m. Employees told police that a man had left the store with power tools and pointed a gun at the cashier.

 While pointing the gun at the cashier, the suspect told her to remain quiet, investigators said.

Police believe the suspect is also responsible for a similar crime at another Home Depot in Houston hours earlier.

 The suspect is described as a white male, about 5’8″ tall and 140 pounds. He was wearing a long-sleeve blue colored shirt and light-colored jean shorts.

 Police believe he left the store in a black Dodge Durango. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sugar Land Police Department at 281.275.2540.   [Source: ABC13 Eyewitness News]

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Suspect arrested in theft of smartphones

Police have taken into custody a suspect in the theft of three Smartphones from a Denham Springs business in Louisiana, according to a police spokesman. Shawn Vezinat, 34, was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on felony theft, misdemeanor theft, possession of marijuana (under 14 grams) and criminal trespass. Bond was set at $11,500. On May 7, a man entered an AT&T store in Denham Springs, took three display smartphones and left in a black Infiniti G37. Denham Springs detectives released security phones of a man entering the store last week in an effort to identify a suspect.   [Source: Livingston Parish News]

Two arrested after impersonating an officer during theft

Sahuarita police officers arrested a man and woman involved in a shoplifting incident at a Walmart in Sahuarita, Arizona, in which the man impersonated an officer. Police say 35-year-old Darrick Thomas used a Walmart phone application to upload receipts for items he did not purchase before entering the store at 18680 S. Nogales Hwy. Thomas entered, gathered the items on the receipts, and left without paying, a news release said. Thomas returned with the items wearing a Arizona Department of Corrections uniform in an attempt to receive a refund. He was arrested along with 33-year-old Tiffany Weilburg in a parking lot south of the Walmart on Monday night. Detectives determined Weilburg acquired the uniform used by Thomas in the shoplifting. The pair was arrested on charges for impersonating a peace officer, organized retail theft, shoplifting and criminal trespassing, the news release said.   [Source:]

Attempted robbery leads to drug bust

An attempted robbery at a Troy, Michigan, Sak’s Fifth Avenue Thursday led a to drug bust in the parking lot. Troy police say a 43-year-old Ohio woman and 51-year-old Ohio man entered the store and attempted to steal $690 worth of items before being stopped by loss prevention. While Stacy Latasha Lattimore complied with loss prevention associates, Gerald Thomas Grooms did not and walked away. Grooms was later apprehended by responding officers. Police found a set of cars keys on the suspect that belonged to a tan 2008 Buick in the parking lot.

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Officers searched the vehicle and found a plastic bag in the center console with 17 smaller bags containing what was believed to be heroin. The substance was wrapped in lottery tickets. Police also found $880 worth of stolen merchandise from the store that Lattimore tried to hide. Lattimore also had wire cutters used to remove anti-theft sensors from merchandise. According to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, Lattimore was charged with first degree retail fraud and Thomas on second degree retail fraud. No word on charges for the heroin. Lattimore was given a $75,000 bond and Grooms was given $30,000 bond.   [Source: WXYZ Detroit News]

State senate approves anti-credit card skimming bill

The Pennsylvania Senate last week unanimously approved House Bill 1918 — legislation that will reduce fraud by criminalizing the use of credit card skimming devices. The measure, sponsored by state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill of York County, now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. Specifically, HB 1918 would criminalize the use of a scanning or skimming device, the use of a re-encoder, and the possession or sale of a skimming device — along with imposing stiff penalties. Currently, prosecutors can only levy theft charges against such crimes.

“We strongly urge Gov. Wolf to sign this important piece of legislation that will protect consumers and benefit thousands of Pennsylvania businesses by creating a strong deterrent for identity thieves,” PFMA President and CEO Alex Baloga said. Baloga said this is an issue that retailers and the legislature and governor’s office have been working on for some time to try to combat credit card skimming. “Our goal is to protect consumers,” Baloga said. “We are doing everything we can to combat credit card skimming. It’s a long-standing fight and we have several partners. We will continue to do all we can to increase awareness. This legislation is a step in the right direction.”

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Hard-to-detect credit card skimming devices are used to copy identifying information of credit cards at gas pumps, cash machines and other common points of payment. Nationwide, credit card fraud costs retailers $580.5 million in losses and $6.47 billion in prevention costs annually.The new crime would be graded as a third-degree felony for a first offense and a second or subsequent offense would be a second-degree felony. If signed into law, Pennsylvania would join 30 other states with similar laws on the books. The bill would take effect 60 days following the governor’s signature.“There is definitely more awareness today,” Baloga said. “Law enforcement, retailers, government agencies and the media are all telling consumers what to watch for. It’s been a group effort.”   [Source: Times Leader]

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