Breaking News in the Industry: March 21, 2018

Utah case could be tied to $500K underwear theft

Three people who investigators believe may be tied to a Chilean theft ring responsible for stealing more than $500,000 worth of merchandise from Victoria’s Secret stores in Las Vegas  have been convicted in Utah.William Orlando Pinzon Galindo, 41, pleaded guilt y on March 6 to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony. He was placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution.Omaira Reina-Martinez, 24, pleaded guilty the same day to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony; and having a fake ID, a class A misdemeanor. She was also given a suspended prison sentence, placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution. Francisco Ugarte Garcia, 22, pleaded guilty on Feb. 20 to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3. The investigation into the trio began Jan. 24, when a car was pulled over on I-70 in Utah for doing 95 mph in a 75 mph zone and later 101 mph in an 80 mph zone, according to charging documents.

The car was searched by police because of a strong odor of marijuana coming from it, the charges state. Investigators reported finding “a large amount of new clothing, watches, bras, underwear” that still had their price tags and theft prevention devices on them. An agent from the State Bureau of Investigation was called to assist and served a search warrant on the vehicle the next day. That warrant was unsealed late last week. “It was discovered there had recently been a $500,000 theft ring in Las Vegas from Victoria’s Secret stores,” the warrant states. After contacting the head of security at the store, Utah investigators made a discovery. “These individuals are most likely part of a Chilean ring that has been committing thefts all over Las Vegas,” he warrant states. Reina-Martinez initially told investigators that the trio had purchased the clothing items with cash and thrown away the receipts and “that they planned to go to South America to open a store,” the warrant states.  [Source: KSL News]

Arrests made after mob steals $48K of handbags

San Francisco Police have arrested six suspects in connection with a snatch and grab robbery of over $48,000 worth of handbags from a store at San Francisco’s Union Square. Three suspects are still wanted for the robbery that happened on February 6 at a high-end fashion store located in the 100 block of Geary Street, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Within seconds of entering the store, nine suspects snatched more than 20 handbags and wallets from the display area. An employee attempted to close the door to stop the thieves but was unsuccessful, police say. He was rushed by the group and sustained an injury to his knee, and the assailants fled with over $48,000 worth of merchandise. Utilizing the store’s security surveillance system, police were able to arrest two of the wanted suspects, and arrest warrants were obtained, which led to the arrests of four additional suspects. One other suspect has not been identified. If you have any information on the outstanding suspects’ whereabouts, identities, or additional information related to this incident, please call the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message. You may remain anonymous.  [Source: KRON4 News]

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Six charged with identity theft scheme using card skimmers

Six Florida residents are accused of using card skimmers at Chicago-area gas stations to commit identity theft to the tune of more than $200,000.

 The group is accused of attaching skimming devices to gas station pumps in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. They used information stolen from customers’ cards to make fraudulent credit cards, which they used to spend $210,000 on gift cards and retail purchases. The suspects have used similar skimming devices in Michigan and Georgia, the attorney general’s office said.

An American Express fraud investigator noticed suspicious activity on multiple accounts in 2015 and traced all the cards back to a gas station in Glencoe. 

Charges of identity theft, financial institution fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, computer fraud and mail fraud have been filed in Cook County against 45-year-old Caridad Chacon; 23-year-old Jordan Chacon; 24-year-old William Hernandez; 26-year-old Jose Molina; 23-year-old Claudia Chung Prieto; and 25-year-old Katerine Ramirez, prosecutors said. All of the defendants live in Tampa, Florida, except for Ramirez, who lives in Miami.

”This scheme is nearly impossible to detect by a customer, so it is critically important that people regularly monitor their bank and credit card accounts and report any unauthorized charges,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the statement.   [Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News]

Employee accused of stealing $18K from store

A Glen Rock, New Jersey, woman, who was an employee at Kilroy’s Wonder Market, is accused of stealing nearly $18,000 from the store, police said.Police began an investigation March 9 into the theft of cash from the  store. Detective Lucas Doney arrested an employee Wednesday who police identified using the store’s surveillance system, said Chief Dean Ackermann. Store managers reported that the 26-year-old employee, Erin Marciniak, may have stolen the money by conducting fraudulent transactions at her register, Ackermann said. Detectives determined that slightly more than $12,000 was stolen, the chief said. Marciniak was charged with third-degree theft and released from police custody pending an appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack March 30.  [Source: Ridgewood Patch]

Police looking for 3 suspects who stole over 100 lottery tickets

Police in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, are looking for three people who stole more than 100 lottery tickets from a gas station. The theft happened just before 5 a.m. Saturday at the Speedway gas station, located at  N87W17245 Main Street. According to police, a woman entered the gas station and started talking to the clerk at the back of the store. She created a distraction by dropping and breaking a glass bottle. Meanwhile, two men entered the store. One of them went behind the counter and removed 18 “Crossword Craving” Wisconsin Lottery scratch-off tickets, then they both fled the store. A short time later, the woman exited the store without making any purchases.  If you have had similar incidents or can identify the suspects, please contact PO Eric Hansen with the Menomonee Falls Police Department at 262-532-8700 and refer to MFPD case 18-007274.  [Source: WTMJ4 News]

Two Ex-Florida Gators reach plea deal in credit card fraud scandal

Former Florida Gator linemen Jordan Smith and Kadeem Telfort both accepted plea deals Friday from the credit card scandal that ensnared nine football players last season. Both Telfort and Smith pled no contest to one third-degree felony charge of scheming to defraud, according to Alachua County court records. They each received two years of probation and must pay $521 in court costs. Telfort initially faced 30 felony complaints. The former four-star recruit and Miami native was accused of using stolen credit card information from at least 10 individuals to add $1,450 to his school bookstore account and purchase $89.48 in food from 352 Delivery. “Mr. Telfort is  very remorseful for the pain that his actions have caused,” his attorney, Peter Schoenthal said in a statement. “However, he is also grateful for the learning experience and for being given the opportunity to make those affected by his actions whole. Mr. Telfort looks forward to continuing his studies and his football career. Mr. Telfort will use this experience as a teaching point and be a positive influence going forward.”

Police accused Smith of being a possible “ringleader in the fraud case.” Smith faced nine formal felony complaints, according to court records. Police alleged that he used stolen credit card information to add $3,570 to his bookstore account and settle debts of $1,450 (UF transportation / parking) and $1,008 (apartment lease). Smith was a four-star prospect from Georgia who redshirted in 2016. Both left the program without playing a down. Telfort plans to continue his playing career at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. Smith and Telfort were the only two players accused of wrongdoing who did not receive pre-trial intervention in the case. Five of the nine players — running back Jordan Scarlett, linebacker James Houston, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, receiver Rick Wells and linebacker Ventrell Miller — have rejoined the team. The other two have either left for the NFL draft (receiver Antonio Callaway) or to pursue a transfer (lineman Richerd Desir-Jones). [Source: TBO.com Sports]

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