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Breaking News in the Industry: March 7, 2018

Chicago man accused of stealing more than $20K of lingerie

A 40-year-old Chicago man was charged with running a continuing criminal enterprise after police arrested him Feb. 15. Police said he is accused in the theft of about $3,500 worth of merchandise from the Victoria’s Secret store in the Harlem Irving Plaza, and police also tied him to six previous thefts of items totaling more than $20,000 from the same store. Ivan Hernandez, of the 4400 block of Cortez Street, was arrested by Norridge police after a short chase, according to police. He was charged with criminal enterprise, as well as aggravated resisting arrest after an officer was injured during the arrest, said Norridge Detective Sgt. Brian Loughran. Bond was set at $75,000 for Hernandez, who as of Monday morning remained in custody. He is scheduled to appear at the Rolling Meadows courthouse on March 9. The criminal enterprise charge is based on a series of felony violations in concert with other people, police said. On Feb. 16, Norridge police, acting on information obtained from Hernandez, received a search warrant and discovered stolen property, which had been taken from the Norridge Victoria’s Secret store, at a store on Belmont Avenue in Chicago, Loughran said.

Police recovered roughly $3,500 worth of Victoria Secret’s merchandise from the store, Loughran said. Also, Juan Balbontin, 28, of the 3000 block of New England Avenue in Chicago, was charged with possession of stolen property, Loughran said. Balbontin was issued a $25,000 I-Bond, Loughran said, and he is scheduled to appear in court March 9. In seeking the criminal enterprise charge, police connected Hernandez through surveillance with six previous thefts at the Victoria Secret’s Store, in the mall at 4132 N. Harlem Ave., before his arrest, Loughran said. The thefts occurred on Jan. 31, Feb. 4 (two times), Feb. 5, Feb. 6 and Feb. 10, Loughran said. He mostly focused on women’s panties, Loughran said. Police asked store personnel to be on the lookout for Hernandez, instructing them to call 911 and contact mall security if he made another appearance, Loughran said. In the most recent theft, a store employee spotted him and contacted mall security, who in turn contacted Norridge police, Loughran said. Responding officers chased Hernandez, capturing him behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken on the 3900 block of North Harlem Avenue, Loughran said. [Source: Chicago Tribune]

Woman accused of threatening store LP associate

A Hartford, Connecticut,  woman accused of shoplifting has been arrested on robbery charges after she threatened to use a needle to harm a store loss prevention associate, police said. The woman, Tammy Osga, 50, was charged Feb. 24 with second-degree robbery and sixth-degree larceny. According to a police report, officers were called to the Big Y store at 234 Tolland Turnpike on a report of a shoplifting incident that turned into a fight. Osga was detained in the store’s loss prevention office, police said. Store loss prevention associates told police Osga loaded cases of energy drinks, chips, and apples into a shopping cart, then walked out of the store through the floral department without paying for the items. When an LP associate confronted Osga, she attempted to push past him and he restrained her, police said. The associate said Osga told him, “Stay away, I have a needle.” Store LP staff said Osga was escorted to the loss prevention office while she attempted to dig through her purse for the needle, police said. Osga gave police her maiden name and told them she didn’t have a needle. She threatened the associate “in hopes of getting away because she did not want to go back to jail,” police said. Osga is held at York Correctional Institute in lieu of $15,000 bond on the robbery charge and $10,000 on the failure to appear charge. She is to appear in Superior Court on March 16.[Source: Journal Inquirer]

Three men arrested in connection with credit card skimming ring

Three men are behind bars after Wilmington Police in North Carolina received information from Myrtle Beach that a credit card skimming ring was operating out of the Port City. Police stopped a vehicle around 1:30 p.m. Monday and found more than $9,000 in cash, credit cards, pin numbers, debit card skimming devices and pin-hole cameras in the vehicle. The men arrested are 21-year-old Ricardo David Abdel, 22-year-old Diego Pablo Arostegui, and 31-year-old Walter Enrique Correa Cisneros. The men are from the Miami, Florida area. All three have been charged with false pretense, credit card fraud and identity theft. All three men are in the New Hanover County Jail each under a $200,000 bond. Authorities believe the ring was operating across multiple states. The Secret Service is also involved. [Source: WWAY3 News]

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Police officer resigns after allegedly shoplifting ‘AirPods’ from Apple Store

An New Orleans Police Officer resigned after allegedly shoplifting from the Lakeside Mall Apple Store while in uniform. According to The New Orleans Advocate, Officer Ayona McGilberry was picking up her phone from the Apple Store when she asked about some “AirPods” wireless headphones, which retail for about $160. McGillberry told the sales associate that she wouldn’t purchase them before allegedly walking out of the store with them while the staff watched. Staff contacted the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which then contacted NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau (PIB). McGillberry was issued a summons by PIB and then resigned from her position, according to NOPD. She was given a misdemeanor theft court summons. McGillberry joined the NOPD in July of 2016.  [Source: WWL4 News]

Three nabbed after $1.3K shoplifting incident at pharmacy

A trio was busted attempting to steal more than $1,000 worth of over-the-counter medication from a Westport, Connecticut, CVS, police said. Officers from the Westport Police Department were dispatched to CVS on Feb. 27, officials announced over the weekend, when there was a report of several suspects who had shoplifted the medications and fled the store. According to police, an officer who was nearby followed the only vehicle that was in the area, which was occupied by four men. The officer was able to stop the car on Riverside Avenue, where the occupants were found in possession of more than 90 pain and cold medications with a value of more than $1,300 inside the car. The driver was identified as Queens resident Kingdom Utin, and his passengers were Uniondale resident Jalen Gonzales, Jamaica resident Sterling Jones and a juvenile, whose name was not released by police. They were later positively identified as the suspects who shoplifted from the CVS location. Gonzales and Jones were charged with fourth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny. Utin was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny. Each was held on $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Norwalk Justice Court on Wednesday to answer the charges. The juvenile was issued a summons to appear in court and released on his own recognizance. [Source: Norwalk Daily Voice]

Employee processed $1.4K in fraudulent returns

A worker at the Belk store in Pecanland Mall is facing charges of felony theft after she allegedly processed over $1.4K in fraudulent returns.  According to an arrest report for Rebecca Ford, 23, Wilson Drive, Monroe Police were dispatched to Belk on Friday to speak with a loss prevention associate. The associate said Ford falsely returned various children’s clothing articles between Jan. 12 and March 2 and placed a total of $1482.03 in refunds on gift cards. Ford kept the gift cards for her personal use, according to the report.  Officers said Ford provided a written statement admitting to the theft. She was booked into Ouachita Correctional Center on Friday.  Bail was set at $2,500, and the suspect bonded out Saturday morning. [Source: The NewsStar]

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