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Breaking News in the Industry: March 8, 2018

Organized retail crime ring targeted home improvement stores

Four people were arrested Tuesday in relation to an organized retail crime ring, which had been targeting home improvement retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, according to Bellingham, Massachusetts, police. Police identified Paul Licciardi, 49, of Brockton, and two others who remain unnamed, as being responsible for committing regular thefts from home improvement retailers. Liccardi and the two other individuals were supplying the merchandise to Shawn Monteiro, 46 of Brockton, for reselling purposes, investigators discovered. Following five search warrants by Bellingham police, tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and cash were discovered between the two Brockton residences, along with three vehicles. Liccadi was charged with larceny worth more than $250, aggravated shoplifting by organized retail theft, and conspiracy. Monteiro was charged with receiving stolen property over $250, aggravated shoplifting by organized retail theft, and conspiracy. Police said both men were arrested and brought to the Milford District Court, where they were arraigned and held on $50,000 cash bail.  [Source: WCVB5 News]

LP Worldwide: Thieves steal $5M in cash from Lufthansa plane in Brazil

A group of thieves stole $5 million in cash, which had been due to travel from Brazil to Switzerland aboard a Lufthansa jet, at a large freight airport near Sao Paulo, police said Monday. The spectacular heist, which took place late Sunday, was completed in a matter of minutes, and authorities have yet to arrest a suspect. The crooks entered Viracopos International Airport’s freight terminal using a pickup on which they had “placed stickers mimicking the runway security company’s logo,” federal police said in a statement. Germany-based Lufthansa’s plane had been traveling from Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo and was making a stop at Viracopos — Brazil’s biggest freight terminal — with Zurich as its final destination. The stolen money had been held under the auspices of secure transport provider Brinks, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. Reports said five men had threatened security agents on the runway before taking off with the cargo, in barely six minutes. There was no immediate sign of injuries, the airport said. Cargo theft is on the rise in Brazil, where most targets are semi-trucks, especially those serving Rio de Janeiro.  [Source: Capital News]

Suspect used receipts from garbage can in store theft

Police said the suspect walked into a Lowe’s store in Commack, New York, loaded a shopping cart with a bunch of merchandise, then used receipts he’d taken from a garbage can outside the store to return the items… and get cash. Now, Suffolk County police are asking the public’s help identifying the suspect, who made off with the money, but left behind pretty good surveillance images of himself. The theft occurred on Dec. 12 at about 8:30 p.m. at 100 Long Island Expwy., police said. Police did not detail what items were taken or how much cash was involved. Images released by police show the suspect pushing a shopping cart loaded with a pail, then standing at a store counter holding a pail, a shovel and other items. Police asked anyone with information about the theft or the suspect to call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477. Tipsters can also submit tips by texting SCPD and CRIMES (274637), or by emailing police by visiting All calls, texts and emails will remain confidential, police said. [Source: Newsday]

Robbers with assault rifles target high-end men’s store

Two men armed with assault rifles robbed a high-end Metairie, Louisiana, clothing store Wednesday morning, making off not with cash but several armfuls of expensive merchandise, including shirts that retail for $400 to $500 each. “They knew what they were targeting: high-end clothing that has a high retail value and a high street value,” interim Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said. No one was injured during the holdup, which occurred about 10 a.m. at Jeff’s Haberdashery, 3321 Severn Ave., Metairie. Two employees and a customer were inside the store, which had just opened for the day, Lopinto said. One robber rushed inside and ordered everyone onto the ground, according to employee Warren Purvis, 30. The second robber then walked in and began grabbing clothing from the racks, including shirts, jeans and shoes. “They went for the most expensive stuff,” Purvis said, noting the men even took shirts off two mannequins. “It was very specific.”

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The robbers made at least two trips to their getaway car and were very calm throughout the holdup, according to Purvis, telling the victims they did not want to hurt anyone. Investigators aren’t yet sure how much merchandise the suspects stole. The store is still performing an inventory, according to Lopinto. Sheriff’s Office robbery detectives were at the scene Wednesday morning speaking to witnesses and working to identify the suspects. The robbers were described as being two men with dark brown skin tones who were in their 30s. No other information as available about them.  “Come turn yourselves in quickly or keep running because we’re on your tail,” Lopinto said. Anyone with information about the robbery of Jeff’s Haberdashery is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office investigations bureau at 504.364.5300. The public can also call Crimestoppers at 504.822.1111 or toll-free at 877.903.7867. Tips can be texted to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637); text TELLCS then the crime information. Callers or texters do not have to give their names or testify and can earn a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an indictment.  [Source: The Times – Picayune]

Police arrest employee for allegedly stealing money from store

Police in St. Matthews, Kentucky, have arrested a man authorities say stole more than $2,000 from the Kroger store where he was an employee Ross Head, 21, was arrested Tuesday morning at the Kroger store, located at 291 North Hubbards Lane. An arrest report says officers responded after someone reported an employee theft at the store. Police say loss prevention associates held Head in their office and questioned him about the alleged theft. According to authorities, Head gave loss prevention associates a statement in which he admitted to stealing the money. Investigators say Head was a cashier at the store and he loaded money on a Kroger card and then overrode the charge on a register. Head stole the money between Dec. 6, 2017 and March 4, 2018, according to police. Officials say Head stole a total of $2,067.97. According to police, $500 of the money was cash taken from a register. Authorities say when Head was taken into custody, an arresting officer recovered a small jar containing about 17 grams of marijuana. Head is charged with theft and marijuana possession. Louisville Metro Corrections officials say Head was released Tuesday evening on bond. [Source: WBRD News]

Customs hit a record for counterfeit goods seizures in 2017… and apparel made up the most of it

Last year U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hit a record high for seizures of counterfeit goods, and the crackdown will continue.  According to a new report, CBP and ICE seized 34,143 shipments of goods found to be in violation of Intellectual Property Rights. IPR seizures increased 8 percent over fiscal 2016 and for the second year in a row, CBP and ICE seized more than 30,000 shipments of counterfeit and pirated products. The total estimated manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP) would have been $1.2 billion had the products been genuine, the agencies said. Wearing apparel and accessories was the merchandise category accounting for the highest number of IPR seizures, making up roughly 15 percent of all IPR seizures in the year. “The theft of intellectual property and trade in counterfeit and pirated goods causes harm to an innovation-based economy by threatening the competitiveness of businesses and the livelihoods of workers,” said CBP acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “Another record-breaking year of IPR seizures highlights the vigilance of CBP and ICE personnel in preventing counterfeit goods from entering our stream of commerce and their dedication to protecting the American people.”

CBP and ICE have been worked in close partnership on IPR-related enforcement, and their cooperation led to 457 arrests, and ICE pursued and obtained 288 indictments with 242 convictions related to intellectual property crimes last year. “The illegal importation and distribution of counterfeit goods not only threatens the economy, but also presents significant health and safety hazards to consumers and funds international criminal organizations involved in forced labor, drug trafficking and other illicit activities,” ICE deputy director Thomas D. Homan said. “ICE agents are committed to effectively collaborating with CBP, industry representatives and law-enforcement agencies around the world to ensure the integrity of the American supply chain and the agency will move to prosecute those who violate IPR laws and regulations.” E-commerce shipments pose the same health, safety and economic security risks as containerized shipments, according to the agencies, but the volume is higher and continuing to grow. Of the more than 34,000 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods in fiscal 2017, roughly 90 percent were found in the express carrier and international mail environments. China and Hong Kong were the top two sources of goods seized over IPR issues. At roughly 48 percent of the IPR violation seizures, CBP seized 16,538 shipments from China with a total estimated retail value of $554.6 million, while 39 percent of IPR violation seizures, or 13,357 shipments with an estimated retail value of $386.2 million, came from Hong Kong[Source: Sourcing Journal]

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