Breaking News in the Industry: May 23, 2018

Employee Theft Prevention, employee stealing, workplace theft prevention

Employee accused of stealing $30K in just 7 months

An employee for Bass Pro Shops in Memphis, Tennessee, is in serious trouble after allegedly embezzling more than $30,000 from the store in less than seven months. According to police, the store became aware of the theft after noticing that numerous items were missing that showed to have been returned by customers. All of the items, loss prevention investigators said, were processed by an employee named Alan Weems, but did not have the required customer signatures. Surveillance video further revealed Weems was in fact making the returns, but without a customer present, they said. He was reportedly seen on camera putting the cash amount of the return into an envelope and then taking it to a back room where it disappeared. During other instances, Weems allegedly even changed the video angle so it wouldn’t capture him making the returns. Weems only worked for Bass Pro Shops from September 2017 to April 2018. In that time period, he reportedly stole $30,955. He was arrested and charged with theft of property.    [Source: News Channel3]

Uniformed deputy is accused of shoplifting action figures

A 13-year veteran of the Broward Sheriff’s Office was in uniform when he swiped action figures and DVDs from a Ft Lauderdale, Florida, Walmart without paying for them, officials said Monday. Henry Guzman, 44, was arrested at the sheriff’s office headquarters on West Broward Boulevard at 11 a.m. Monday and taken to the Broward Main Jail, said Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokeswoman for the agency. Guzman is accused of shoplifting the merchandise, valued at nearly $200, on three separate occasions from a Walmart in Lauderdale Lakes, she said. Guzman faces multiple misdemeanor theft charges and has been suspended with pay.

“He is expected to be suspended without pay after the State Attorney’s Office formally files the charges,” Coleman-Wright said. The agency’s public corruptions unit began its investigation after getting notified by Walmart loss prevention associates. “Absolutely no one is above the law,” Sheriff Scott Israel said in a prepared statement. “His actions are disgraceful, and in no way are a reflection of the good, hardworking men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “I commend the work of the Public Corruption Unit for its commitment to hold deputies accountable for any criminal activity.”   [Source: Bristol Herald Courier]

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Three stores hit by one shoplifter in one day

Police are looking for a man suspected of shoplifting from three different stores in one night in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The suspect stole merchandise from Zagara’s, CVS and Family Dollar on Thursday. The first theft happened at about 7:30 p.m. at the CVS on Lee Road. The manager of the drugstore called police and reported that someone had stolen Monster Energy drinks, Boost Energy, and Ensure Nutrition drinks. The man apparently left the store with a cart full of the items and walked toward Cedar Road. He left through one of the store’s emergency exits, according to police reports. While police were still investigating the CVS theft, they got word that Zagara’s staff were reporting a shoplifting incident with a suspect matching the description of the CVS suspect. Officers rushed to the scene.

The suspect had been seen loading stolen items into the back of a tan Chevy. Officers found the vehicle and recovered the stolen merchandise, but the driver was not the shoplifter, police said. More than $600 of merchandise had been stolen from Zagara’s. Later that night, officers were sent to Family Dollar for another shoplifting report. Again, the suspect description matched the description of the suspect at CVS and Zagara’s. This time the man stole a shopping cart full of tampons, a clerk told police. He again had exited through one of the store’s emergency exits. A Good Samaritan saw the suspect running out of the store with the merchandise and chased him north onto Lee Road. He lost the suspect in that area, according to police. Anyone with information on the thefts or the identity of the shoplifter is asked to contact the Cleveland Heights Police tip line at 216.291.5010 or dispatch at 216.321.1234.   [Source: Cleveland Heights Patch]

Police seek public’s help identifying men in credit card fraud probe

Police in Manchester, New Hampshire, are asking the public to help identify two men they think used a stolen credit card to make more than $8,000 in purchases on May 5.

 According to a news release, the 55-year-old victim called police after being alerted to the charges on her Visa card. 

A detective went to Best Buy, Staples and Game Stop in the city and viewed surveillance video of two men making purchases at all three locations during the time the stolen card was used. 

The first man is described as Hispanic, 30-40 years old, with average height and build. He was seen wearing a blue denim button-down shirt, blue jeans, beige hat with a black emblem and tan shoes with white soles. 

The second man is Hispanic; 30-40 years old, with below average height and thin build. He was wearing black eyeglasses, black coat, blue jeans and black scally cap, black shoes with white soles and a silver watch on his left wrist.

 Police ask anyone who recognizes the men to call 603.668.8711, referencing case No. 18-6609, or Manchester CrimeLine at 603.624.4040.   [Source: NH Union Leader]

Man stole hundreds of flower baskets

Police said a Vancouver, Washington, man stole thousands of dollars worth of hanging plants and garden equipment from local retailers, which he then planned to resell from his home. Over the last several weeks, employees of the Vancouver Fred Meyer noticed the store’s outdoor plant inventory appeared to be dwindling. When an entire three-tired, metal rack of plants went missing overnight, the store’s loss prevention staff investigated. Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said security video footage identified the license plate of a vehicle allegedly used to steal plants left outside the store after hours. That vehicle was traced to Thomas M. Aldin, 41. On Saturday, police executed a search warrant at Aldin’s home and officers recovered 157 stolen plants, a garden cart and a display rack, in total worth about $6,000. Aldin was charged with possession of stolen property, theft with intent to resell, trafficking stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Some of the garden items may have been taken from other retailers who reported thefts, including Lowe’s and Wilco Farm Store, Kapp said. The investigation is continuing. Smaller-scale thefts of plants and other garden center items aren’t uncommon this time of year, Kapp said, but an “entrepreneurial endeavor” to this scale is unusual. Each flower basket sold in the store for about $30. Police say Aldin advertised flowers at a steep discount through online marketplaces like Craigslist. “There were a couple of people who stopped by (to buy plants) while we were serving the search warrant,” Kapp said. The recovered plants, mostly petunias, were in good condition and returned to their rightful owners, but many more were likely sold, Kapp said, to customers who didn’t realize they were purchasing stolen property. Kapp said it’s a good reminder to beware when buying from online sellers. “If this seems too good to be true, it could be,” Kapp said.   [Source: The Oregonian]

Mom tries to out run shoplifting arrest with kids in tow

Authorities allege a Monroe County, Pennsylvania, woman dragged her son through the parking lot as she tried to outrun police and a shoplifting arrest. Duana E. Loring, of East Stroudsburg, faces shoplifting and child endangerment charges after her arrest Sunday outside a Target in Lower Nazareth Township. District Judge Antonia Grifo arraigned the 38-year-old later that night, setting bail at $10,000 with a 10 percent cash option if approved by pre-trial services. Colonial Regional police were dispatched to the Target Sunday after store asset protection associates allegedly watch a woman stash DVDs and Blu-rays in bags. The woman reportedly had a 5-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl with her.

When stopped by store AP associates at the exit, the woman later identified as Loring allegedly handed over some of the merchandise, according to court records. But she then tried to run with her children and the remaining merchandise she allegedly pilfered, according to records. An officer was waiting outside, when he saw Loring trying to run. Police said she was carrying the girl and pulling the boy by the arm. When the boy tripped, she continued to pull him along and ignored orders to stop. Police said they found about $683 worth of merchandise in her purse. Authorities said Loring is facing three cases of shoplifting and child endangerment out of Monroe County. Court records indicate that her husband was waiting in the car and that police allegedly found a heroin needle. Loring failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 30.  [Source: WFMZ69 News]

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