Breaking News in the Industry: March 27, 2018

Department store LP spotted 2 women taking clothes…. Then it got ugly [Viral Video]

Video has been released by Lexington, Kentucky, police of a physical altercation between two alleged shoplifters and loss prevention personnel at Dillard’s in Fayette Mall. On a Friday night in January, loss prevention personnel noticed two females placing unpaid merchandise into a large Dillard’s shopping bag and hiding it inside a clothing rack. They concealed more than $1,000 of merchandise in an hour and loss prevention associates attempted to stop them as they were leaving, police said. The LP associate was kicked, shoved and ganged up on as he attempted to keep the bag of clothing in the store.  At one point, the video shows, he unsuccessfully tried to trap the bag and one of the women in the store by blocking the glass doors with his hands.The suspects escaped that night, Jan. 5, and Bluegrass Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information that could lead to their arrests. Anyone with information can call Bluegrass Crime Stoppers at 859-253-2020.  [Source: The News Tribune]

Women who threatened to kill LP associate after retail theft still at large

Police are looking for two women who they say stole items from a Walmart store in East Marlborough Township, Pennsylvania, and then threatened to kill the LP associate who tried to stop them. According to state police at Avondale, the incident took place Feb. 27. Two unidentified women tried leaving the Walmart in East Marlborough Township at 5:27 p.m. without paying for items in their shopping cart. A loss prevention associate noticed the theft, and stopped the pair at the door as they tried to exit. However, they forced their way past and the two fled without the merchandise. The two got into a black Jeep Cherokee and, just before leaving the area; one of the women reached into her purse and yelled that she was going to kill the associate who stopped them. The two women were described as black females in their 30s, one with black braids the other wearing a head band. Surveillance footage is being examined in an effort to identify the suspects.   [Source: The Mercury]

Lapel video captures alleged shoplifter cry, slip handcuffs, then attempt to run from police [Viral Video]

Lapel video captured an alleged shoplifter cry during his arrest, then cause a scene when he tried to run after slipping his handcuffs. He didn’t get very far, however. Jorge Gonzales was stopped by Albuquerque Police as he allegedly tried to leave the Walmart at Coors and I-40 back in February with just under $12 in items he had not paid for. On the way to the loss prevention office, Gonzales tried to make a deal with police. “I have money, I have five bucks,” Gonzales said. He also had five credit cards, none of them his, as they were reported stolen in a recent home burglary. As an officer typed up a report, Gonzales slipped out of the handcuffs and darted for the exit. He did not get far, though, when he tripped and the officer caught up to him. Police said Gonzales threw fists then reached for the cop’s gun and taser but ended up grabbing a tourniquet instead. An LP associate jumped in to help get Gonzales back into cuffs.ou got real skinny wrists, man, that’s probably how you slipped your cuffs in the beginning,” another officer said. Gonzales told officers he was just trying to get home, and that is why he ran and put up a fight. Gonzales was arrested and faces multiple felony charges. He appeared before Judge Michelle Castillo Dowler in Metro Court, who chose to release him on his own recognizance. He has a history of felony charges related to theft. Since then, Gonzales has not checked in with his probation officer. He now has warrant out for his arrest. [Source: NBC4i News]

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Trio accused of retail theft across six states

Three Twin Cities residents are accused of operating an organized retail theft ring at Walmart stores in six states. The trio took nearly $47,000 in merchandise from the Eau Claire Walmart store on two occasions last fall, police say. They are responsible for more than $360,000 in losses from several Walmart stores, police said. Tashanda J. Boclair, 31, and Lasonya D. Miles, 30, both of Minneapolis, and Ezekiel O. Brown, 18, of St. Paul, are each charged in Eau Claire County Court with a felony count of retail theft. An arrest warrant was issued for all three people. According to the criminal complaint, Eau Claire police were contacted by officials at Walmart, regarding a large theft involving an organized group. Walmart surveillance video showed a systematic approach that led to the theft of 56 new cellphones from a locked display case valued at more than $40,000. The video shows three people entering the store and going directly to the electronics department.

They watched for employees while forcing the display case open. One person, later identified as Brown, pushed a shopping cart with a large plastic storage container up against the display case. Brown and the other two people, later identified as Miles and Boclair, grabbed the phones and placed them in the plastic container. The trio covered the container and pushed the merchandise out of the store without being stopped by employees. Walmart loss prevention said the same three people stole $6,700 worth of tablets on Sept. 27 using a similar process. While investigating the two Eau Claire cases, police learned that Walmart corporate investigators had been tracking Boclair, Brown and Miles. The trio has been identified in surveillance video, phone information, Facebook images and other sources as being responsible for more than $360,000 in losses from Walmart stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. Through the installation of a trap and trace device and pen register, law enforcement officers obtained conversations  between Miles, Brown, Boclair and a fourth person regarding coordinated efforts to plan these thefts across the region. Pen registers are surveillance devices that capture the phone numbers dialed on outgoing telephone calls. Trap and trace devices capture the numbers identifying incoming calls.  [Source: Leader-Telegram]

Police break up major shoplifting ring

In Ontario, Canada four men are facing dozens of charges after Halton police dismantled an organized shoplifting ring. Various retailers in Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and the surrounding area have been targeted since Oct. 2017. The suspects would enter stores and select items such as small appliances, perfumes, and clothing. They’d run out – past employees – without paying for the merchandise and in some cases, multiple offenders would work in teams to distract the employees or act as the lookout in the parking lot, investigators allege. Burlington’s street crime unit teamed up with loss prevention associates – who aren’t police but work in the stores – and identified one of the suspects. Three more suspects were positively identified, along with two homes where stolen property was being stored. The suspects were arrested on March 20. Search warrants were executed in Mount Hope and Stoney Creek, along with a vehicle.  More than $17,000 in property was seized, which police are linking to retail thefts, along with a 2009 Hyundai Elantra. Items range from purses to tools to an espresso maker, plus pots and pans. Anyone with additional information is asked to phone Det. Dwayne Perron at 905-825-4747 ext. 2342. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stopper’s “See Something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stopper’s “at 800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca [Source: InHalton]

Retail watch program works to reduce shoplifting

Shoplifting is a growing problem Chico, California, and community leaders say they’ve had enough. Matt Smith, owner of Sports LTD – has been in the retail business since 1985. One ongoing economic challenge he says he continually faces …shoplifting.”We’re seeing it at least weekly, and mostly, several days a week,” said Smith. And when product isn’t taken, he says it is sometimes destroyed. “They’re coming in, destroying products, to get the security tags off, just being a real nuisance,” said Smith. Smith is not alone. Many local retail businesses, from clothing stores, big-box outlets, and supermarkets to downtown shops – many are reporting huge losses. Some outlets are seeing upwards of $250,000 a year worth of products, walk out the door.  So In efforts to combat the criminal activity, the Chico Police Department, the Downtown Chico Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce have partnered – forming a “Retail Watch” program. Katie Simmons leads the Chico Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of larger stores will have loss prevention officers, a lot of smaller stores won’t so we see a lot of ‘best practices’ sharing in this meetings, for the larger community when we have some much theft, we calculated is in the millions in our community, you’ll see prices going up to try to compensate for some of that loss, you’ll see a suppression of job growth because the retailers aren’t able to hire because they’re covering those losses,” said Simmons. The Retail Watch program is designed to educate local retailers on how to protect themselves, with advice and direction directly from Chico Police Department’s Chief O’Brien. “He’s encouraged us to cite and arrest everyone that we catch … I love catching guys that have other things going on in their life that are illegal so maybe we can get them off the street, and it gets the words out that we don’t tolerate it at all,” said Smith. Downtown business owner Teri Dubose -says her store has also been affected by shoplifting. She supports the efforts. “We all have different issues and I think it’s getting better by putting these type of things together,” said DuBose. [Source: ActionNews Now12]

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