Breaking News in the Industry: March 4, 2019

Suspected shoplifter assaults 2 cops

A Jersey City woman is said to have gotten combative with police after being apprehended for shoplifting on Saturday. According to Lt. Eric Amato, members of the Bayonne Police Department responded to Walmart at approximately 4:22 p.m. after being notified of the alleged theft by the store’s loss prevention associates.

During the on-scene investigation, the report states, Chapman-Odum became “highly agitated and belligerent and refused to cooperate with the investigation.” After being placed under arrest Chapman-Odum reportedly struck one officer with an open hand and violently resisted being placed in handcuffs, refusing to accompany officers out of the store.

Once outside, the report continues, Chapman-Odum attempted to prevent police from placing her in a vehicle by kicking two officers. Once they were able to secure the suspect in the vehicle officers transported her to Bayonne Medical Center to be treated for respiratory issues. The two assaulted officers also received treatment at the Bayonne Medical Center.   [Source: TapIntoBayonne]

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Employee trio charged with thefts over $100,000

Vanessa Horvath, 29, admitted being the “ringleader” of a group of now former Meijer employees accused of stealing merchandise worth nearly $100,000 from the Illinois store, according to court documents. Lindsey Smallwood, 27, said her participation in the thefts was “dumb” and she gave items she took as Christmas gifts. Helena Washington, 62, said she had just started participating in the scheme in January.

That’s what the Rockford women told Rockford,  police officers in probable cause statements filed in Winnebago County court. The three women were indicted by a Winnebago County grand jury, according to a Thursday news release issued by the Winnebago County state’s attorney’s office. Horvath told police she was responsible for $94,293.55 of the theft from May to October. Smallwood said she was responsible for $1,522.62 of the loss but a time frame was not noted in the court filing. Police said Washington’s theft totaled $1,345.58 in January.

The scheme benefited the women’s families, friends and other employees who were customers. Here’s how it worked, according to the probable cause statement: Before a customer would go to pay for items, one of the women at the checkout would void the transaction and give the voided receipt to the customer so the customer would get the items for free. The women also would “under-ring” the price of items for one another. Horvath “admitted she was the ringleader for it,” the probable cause statement said. Smallwood told police “money was tight,” and “she used the items as gifts” for Christmas.

Police were dispatched to Meijer just after midnight Feb. 1 “in reference to three female shoplifters in custody,” according to the court report. Meijer’s loss prevention manager provided video footage of the women involved in the transactions. Each of the women was charged with retail theft, and Horvath also was charged with theft.   [Source: rrstar.com]

Delivery robots being tested by FedEx

FedEx is planning to test delivery robots this summer for customers including Walmart and Pizza Hut, while others including Target and AutoZone are looking at the capability, according to a report in Reuters. The cooler-sized robots are from Segway founder Dean Kamen’s DEKA Development. They can top out at 10 mph and have cameras and sensors to identify and avoid obstacles.

Approval is needed from the city of Memphis, and the initial test would be between FedEx offices there. As with autonomous vehicles, some states are calling for regulations requiring human backup of delivery bots for safety reasons. Starship Technologies, which has a similar cooler bot, deployed tests last year in San Francisco and at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with deliveries running $1.99 per order – an unheard of sum in the expensive last mile which accounts for half or more of delivery costs.

Amazon has also been testing its own delivery bot, dubbed Scout, which began delivering packages to customers in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington in January. UPS is not believed to be testing delivery robots but has been active in drone testing for the past couple years, as are Amazon and Google.  Israeli drone platform company Flytrex has been involved in a pilot program in North Carolina, part of a series of tests sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration.   [Source: MultiChannelMerchant]

C-store shoplifting teen in possession of stolen handgun

Smyrna Police in Delaware arrested a teen over the weekend during a shoplifting incident in which they said the juvenile had a gun. Police received a call for a report of shoplifting at approximately 1:45 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Wawa at 500 Jimmy Drive in Smyrna. Upon arrival, officers were provided with a description of the shoplifter, and they located a boy matching that description in the 600 block of Carter Road. The suspect was stopped and during his detaining officers found a .380 caliber pistol concealed in his waistband.

Surveillance footage from the convenience store later confirmed the detained suspect as the shoplifter. The investigation revealed that the handgun had been reported stolen to Delaware State Police Troop 7 in April of 2018. The suspect was charged with possession of a stolen firearm by a person prohibited, possession of ammunition by a person prohibited, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, receiving a stolen firearm and shoplifting under $1,500 before being committed to Stevenson Detention Center.   [Source: WDEL News]

Teen ice cream bandit hit by car

A teen in Texas was hit by a car Saturday while he was fleeing a north Harris County store from which he had just shoplifted, according to deputies. The crash was reported about 8 p.m. at the corner of Louetta Road and Fireside Drive.

According to an employee of the store, the teen grabbed some ice cream and then ran out of the store just before the crash happened. Deputies said the teen, who is between 14 and 16 years old, was originally taken to Houston Northwest Hospital but was then flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The teen’s condition was not immediately released.   [Source: Click2Houston]

ORC ring busted; 3 arrested for over $6.000 theft

Three Virginia men are accused of stealing more than $6,000 worth of merchandise from an Armstrong County Walmart and are suspected in similar thefts at other Walmarts and stores in at least two other states. State Police in Kittanning filed felony theft charges Friday against Shawn Terrance Acklin, 27; Adarrus DePriest Ferguson, 27, and Brandon Laroy Franklin, 23. All three are from Norfolk, Virginia.

“They were doing this at multiple Walmarts across the east coast,” state police Corporal Curtis Guntrum said Friday afternoon. “They also have charges out of Maryland that they have to respond to.” The men also were arrested on similar charges February 4 in Luray according to police. Guntrum said they are in jail in Virginia.

Troopers said the three men, along with another unidentified man, went to the Walmart store in East Franklin, Armstrong County, on Jan. 26. They allegedly grabbed carts and filled them with various high-price items, such as robot vacuum cleaners, routers and other electronics. According to troopers, the men allegedly stole $4,000 to $6,000 worth of items from other Walmarts and stores across Western Pennsylvania. In Armstrong County, the men face charges of organized retail crime and retail theft.   [Source: TRIB Live]

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