Breaking News in the Industry: March 22, 2018

Employee stole rings worth $3,600, police say

Police said a former employee of the Decatur, Georgia’s, eastside Walmart store stole jewelry worth more than $3,600 before she was caught. The 20-year-old woman was arrested Monday afternoon, according to a sworn affidavit from Decatur Police Officer Sarah Kilton. She said the store’s “asset protection assistant manager” told her the thefts had been captured on video surveillance tape.  “(The manager) indicated that the employee had stolen multiple rings (approximately 14 rings) from the business during the hours she worked,” Kilton said. The former employee told police she wasn’t sure how many rings she had taken from the store, but she confessed to stealing them “over a two-week span,” Kilton said. The woman was booked into the Macon County Jail on a preliminary charge of retail theft; preliminary charges are subject to review by the State’s Attorney’s Office. She has since been freed after posting $5,000 bond. A spokesperson for the store could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. [Source: Herald & Review]

Atlanta Police will no longer respond to some shoplifting calls

The Atlanta Chief of Police said her officers will no longer respond to shoplifting calls at stores in Buckhead. Erika Shields said staff shortages, in excess of 300 officers, has forced her to reevaluate how to deploy officers. In the affluent section north of downtown, Shields said, the APD Zone Two officers frequently get calls from merchants to do a report on a shoplifter who has been caught by loss prevention personnel. After filling out the paperwork, the officer then must arrange a transport to the Atlanta City Jail in downtown. All that can take up to an hour and a half to complete. The chief believes that time can be better spent by having those officers handle serious crimes, from burglaries to carjackings. Shields said if a shoplifting takes place, the larceny can still be reported and will be counted in the APD stats. The chief puts the onus on the merchant to file the incident and, if necessary, spend the funds to hire an off-duty Atlanta or metro officer who can make the sure the culprit is made to pay for his crime. A Buckhead resident and community leader, Roslyn Smith, is “disappointed” the city is in the position where staff shortages are leaving the chief with such a choice. “Personally, I am not going to feel comfortable going to shop,” Smith said. As for filling the gap in manpower, Chief Shields said, a pay study is being prepared that she will present to Mayor Keisha Bottoms in the hopes of making her officers among the highest salaried law enforcement in the area.   [Source: Fox5 Atlanta]

Two men arrested, suspected of stealing high-value meds

Two Oakland, California, men arrested in Folsom on Monday night are suspected of committing a string of thefts from stores in Sacramento and Placer counties, possibly as part of an organized retail theft operation. Folsom police officers, assisted by Walgreens loss prevention associates, arrested Vernon Posey, 24, and Travon Adkins, 25, on suspicion of theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy, according to a Police Department Facebook post.

- Sponsors -

The two men allegedly had opened security cases and taken high-value medications and beauty products from another Walgreens in Folsom before entering another Walgreens store. When officers arrived, the men allegedly had just taken merchandise, and other similar items were found in their car, the news release said. The value of the stolen property was estimated at $5,000. Officers learned that several other stores in the area had reported similar thefts. Posey and Adkins were booked into the Sacramento County Jail. Although it is not known what the men planned to do with the items, multiple boxes of the same items often are stolen by organized retail theft groups for resale, the news release said. [Source: The Sacramento Bee]

Two men involved in multi-jurisdictional theft ring caught in the act

A surveillance team of four Sterling Heights, Michigan, police officers, along with Woodhaven police, arrested two men after they were caught walking out of home improvement stores with high-end merchandise. According to a Woodhaven police report, Sterling Heights police officers followed two men to the Home Depot, in Taylor, and watched as one man entered the store and the other pulled their vehicle up to the door.  The report said the man inside stole a Dewalt table saw, valued at about $600 and loaded it into their vehicle and fled the store. Police said they drove to Lowe’s in Woodhaven, and pulled up to the west entrance. One man went inside and, according to police, stole two Rinnai tankless water heaters with a combined value of nearly $2,000. While there officers from Sterling Heights notified Woodhaven police. Woodhaven officers arrived in time to stop the vehicle from leaving the parking lot. The police report said the license plate on their vehicle was registered in their data system as stolen out of Novi. One of the men heard the conversation about the license plate over the police radio and offered to clarify some information for police. According to the report, the man told police the plate was indeed stolen, but the real plate for the car was inside the vehicle. A background check on that man showed he has a conviction for embezzlement. His partner has convictions dating back to 1993 for criminal sexual conduct, retail fraud, felony false pretenses, two convictions of receiving and concealing and fraudulently using a financial transaction device. [Source: The News-Herald]

Firefighter facing charges for counterfeiting, forgery, and theft

A Carmel, Indiana, firefighter is facing criminal charges for counterfeiting, forgery and theft. Police say Erik Thordarson was caught on camera stealing electronics and other items from a popular department store.  13 Investigates uncovered a history of alleged deception against the firefighter and why the city of Carmel is just now taking action against him. On duty, Erik Thordarson worked as a firefighter/EMT at Station 46 in Carmel. Off duty, he is the man Westfield police identified behind a shopping cart allegedly “lifting” expensive items from Target. The 37-year-old firefighter was first caught on tape stealing from the sporting goods section last July. According to court records, Thordarson walked out of the store with a Fitbit and some wireless headphones without paying for them at the self checkout. Asset protection team members discovered the theft watching surveillance video. Investigators say Thordarson used his credit card to purchase other items, but left the store with $349 worth of stolen electronics. Thordarson told police, “He thought he had paid for the items but checked his credit card statement and realized he had not.” Four months later, Thordarson is again caught on tape at the same Target rolling a $599 Dyson vacuum cleaner out of the store without paying for it. Investigators say this time Thordarson went to a cashier where he unloaded and paid for a number of smaller items, but not the Dyson. Thordarson told police he had a warranty claim from the manufacturer for the vacuum, but he never presented it to the cashier. Worse yet the warranty document was a fake and so was the receipt. Thordarson told investigators, “He realized that he had stolen the vaccum” and returned it. But police say there’s no record of the return. He is now charged with felony forgery and counterfeiting charges and two counts of misdemeanor theft. [Source: 13WTHR News]

How CHP’s $500K cargo bust could affect you

Fifteen people were arrested in what investigators call an elaborate commercial burglary ring that could affect you the next time you go shopping. California Highway Patrol investigators served five search warrants across Los Angeles County in late February and recovered half-a-million dollars’ worth of stolen goods after stopping a crew of alleged cargo thieves. The thieves allegedly took truckloads of clothing, cosmetics, electronics and more. The CHP’s Cargo Theft Interdiction Program says members of an alleged theft crew would cut holes in the walls of businesses and load vans up with merchandise. Other times they were more brazen, picking up box after box of merchandise in broad daylight and driving away. Investigators say cargo thefts cost California $2 million per day and $15-25 billion a year nationally. The losses include jobs and sometimes even lives. The California Department of Insurance says companies that take a loss when their items are stolen will likely pass the cost on to consumers. The CHP says some of the stolen goods were resold at swap meets, where some shoppers may have unwittingly ended up buying those stolen goods.  [Source: NBC4 Los Angeles]

Stay Updated

Get critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.