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Breaking News in the Industry: May 26, 2017

Memorial Day weekend cargo theft trends and security tips

CargoNet is issuing a cargo theft advisory for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. We know that organized cargo theft groups exploit the nighttime hours and weekends because more trucks will be parked and unattended. Major US holidays are a force multiplier for cargo thieves because there are more unattended trucks to choose from and the trucks will be unattended for a longer period of time, affording the offenders more lead time to get away with their crimes. In preparation for this, CargoNet examined its cargo theft data from the Wednesday before Memorial Day to the Wednesday after Memorial Day for 2012 to 2016.

During that time period, 126 cargo theft events in the United States and Canada were reported. Reports were most common in California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and New Jersey, respectively. However, there were 23 states or provinces in total that experienced some cargo theft in this reporting period. Cargo was most commonly stolen on Wednesday, with 24 reported thefts, and Saturday, with 23 reported thefts. But we note this analysis included two Wednesdays and just one Saturday. They expect that most thefts occurred from Friday to Tuesday morning.
Food and beverage products were the most common commodities stolen; and produce items like fruits, nuts, and vegetables were the most targeted food and beverage items. Food and beverage products were followed by household products, such as major appliances and furniture, and then by electronics products. Noteworthy thefts from previous Memorial Day weekends: $2,920,000 in communications equipment stolen from Memphis, Tennessee; $1,500,000 in computer tablets stolen from Wilmington, Delaware; $1,200,000 in seafood stolen from Elizabeth, New Jersey; $900,000 in video game systems stolen from Carson, California, and $600,000 in communications equipment stolen from West Memphis, Arkansas.  [For more: American Journal of Transportation]

Here’s what the DOJ says the L.A. area credit card-skimming ring bought with stolen numbers

As we reported yesterday in LP Insider, Federal and local authorities said they busted a ring of thieves Tuesday that used credit card information stolen from customers at local restaurants to make more than $500,000 worth of fraudulent purchases over the last two years. A multi-agency raid hit locations in La Mirada, Whittier, and La Habra to search for evidence of the scheme and to arrest 12 suspects. One final suspect remained on the run.

- Digital Partner -

Federal officials said the scheme affected more than 500 credit cards. A US Department of Justice indictment detailed some of the hundreds of credit card charges, ranging from $300 to $3,000 at stores including Nordstrom and Samy’s Camera and dating back to 2013. The document also lists specific items that were purchased in order to be resold at a later time. Other items were noted as gifts to family members, like jewelry for one of the suspect’s mothers; another suspect bought a wetsuit for another member of the ring, according to the document. Here’s a list of some of what was bought, according to the document:
• Tory Burch jewelry
• A gold purse
• Two Nikon D 750 DSLRs and a Cannon 5D mark 3 DSLR
• A wet suit
• Beats by Dre headphones
• GoPro cameras
• A stroller
• A crossbow for $2,000
• An Epson Projector
• A Uniden Walkie-Talkie
• Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Tory Burch purses
• Designer belts
• An air conditioning unit  [For more: Whittier Daily News]

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Toys”R”Us employee accused of making fraudulent returns

A Hudson Valley woman employed at a local Toys”R”Us is accused of making 14 fake returns and keeping the return money for herself.

The Ulster Police Department arrested 31-year-old Adrianne N. Grassi of Kingston following a complaint of employee theft from the Toys”R”Us store located at 401 Frank E. Sottile Blvd. in the Town of Ulster, New York.   According to Toys”R”Us Loss Prevention, between January 2017 and March 2017, Grassi completed 14 fraudulent merchandise return transactions totaling $928.16. After completing the transactions, Grassi then took the money and kept it for herself, police say. Grassi was charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor. She was issued an appearance ticket to appear in the Town of Ulster Justice Court.  [For more: Hudson Valley Post]

The world’s largest retailers 2017: Amazon & Alibaba are closing in on Walmart

Amid a rash of retail bankruptcies and store closings, online giants Amazon and Alibaba are continuing to swiftly and apologetically gain ground. Amazon is now the world’s third-largest retailer and ranks No. 83rd on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the world’s biggest and most powerful public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value. The e-commerce juggernaut jumped a whopping 154 spots from last year.

Amazon has been pushing further into areas like fashion, where it has rolled out private labels, snapped up online retailers and introduced the Echo Look that can take full-length photographs and suggest different outfits. It has doubled down on online groceries and is also now reportedly thinking about getting into the pharmacy business. Walmart (No. 17) and CVS (No. 66) are still the two largest retailers on the planet, but Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (No. 140) isn’t far behind in sixth place. Jack Ma’s empire is the only foreign retailer to appear in the top ten and has leapfrogged Target (No. 227).  [For more: Forbes]

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$75,000 bond for alleged shoplifter involved in shooting

A man suspected of shoplifting at Walmart on Tuesday, before an officer fired a shot in the Cheddar’s parking lot while attempting to stop him, is held on $75,000 bond. Christopher Parker, 29, was seen in Walmart taking a pack of razors, a set of headphones and a car charger from the store without paying, according to court documents. Parker was not immediately taken into custody. Court documents say Parker was seen in the Cheddar’s parking lot, and officers gave him commands to stop. Parker opened and closed the driver’s door as an officer approached the car before driving away, court documents say.

Jackson Police Department spokesman Lt. Derick Tisdale said an officer fired a shot in the parking lot, but could not confirm if the shot was fired at Parker, his vehicle, or if the shooting was accidental. Tisdale said police are not confirming the identity of the officer involved. Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce confirmed Parker was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Gadsden after a deputy found the Pontiac G6 driven during the theft near Gadsden Elementary School. Parker ran into the woods off Young Cemetery Road, and he was later arrested near Antwine Road. Parker is on probation for manufacturing methamphetamine with intent to sell. A criminal history from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation shows an extensive history of arrests dating back to 2006, which include charges of simple possession of narcotics and possession with intent to sell narcotics, theft of property, multiple violations of probation, and failure to appear. Parker is considered a flight risk, according to prosecutors   [For more: The Jackson Sun]

eBay under fire again in media regarding buyer fraud

We’re all familiar with the eBay issues regarding Buyer Fraud. It takes a few familiar forms. The buyer claims an item hasn’t arrived and wants a refund and the item isn’t tracked. Or perhaps the buyer claims that the item hasn’t arrived (when it has under tracking) and gets a refund. Or, maybe, a buyer returns the goods and they aren’t at all what you the seller sent out. And once again the problems are under the microscope and, on this occasion, the Guardian has written a piece highlighting the issues called eBay accused of failing its sellers as fraudulent buyers manipulate the system.

What’s interesting in this piece is that eBay is contrite and appears to be planning changes. If you read the article you’ll see that the buyer in question was clearly a repeat offender on buyer fraud. And eBay is apologetic that they missed it: “This is not good enough on our part. We have a buyer abuse team that uses software to scan the site to spot this behavior. In this case, this buyer clearly has been abusing the system and it wasn’t picked up.” It’s admirable that they do have a team addressing the problem. And we should look forward to changes later in the year, according to further comment from eBay in the article: “Learning from the experiences of the 50,000 UK and US sellers in the pilot, we have created a different returns experience, including putting obstacles in the way of suspected fraudsters to prevent refunds, or even blocking a buyer entirely when we suspect fraud before they’ve been refunded. We’re also giving the sellers who offer free or 30-day returns the ability to allow partial refunds on faulty, damaged and lost item claims so that they can recover costs.”  [For more: Tameboy]

- Digital Partner -

Four arrested in connection to recent rash of counterfeit bills

Counterfeit $5 and $20 bills have slipped into the till at more than 16 bars, gas stations and restaurants over the past two weeks. But a detective with the Bismarck Police Department said the brief uptick in fake money, which has resulted in four arrests, is nothing out of the ordinary. So far this year, police officers have taken 25 reports of counterfeit bills; they took 16 by this time last year, according to Sgt. Roger Marks.

“It is very cyclic. It comes in spurts where it gets popular or easier,” Marks said. “It’s too early to say that this year is worse.” Counterfeit bills typically make it into circulation in two ways: Either people buy money online that is printed for use in movies or they print it themselves at home, Marks said. Banks often find the bills while sifting through deposits from retailers, who are out the money for the fake bill. This most recent batch of fake money was probably printed by locals, he surmised. In March, people were passing fake $100 bills of the movie variety. Typically, counterfeiting money is a standalone criminal act, often carried out by people looking for real cash to buy drugs or pay bills, Marks said.  “They’re cashing that $100 bill to clean it and get real money,” he said. “Then they’re using that clean money to buy their drugs.”

Bismarck, North Dakota, Police Department has made four arrests in connection with the recent counterfeit bills.  On Tuesday night, police arrested a 37-year-old Bismarck man allegedly carrying two fake bills in $10 and $5 denominations. Police found the man during a traffic stop after a clerk at the Mobil gas station on 1122 Tacoma Ave. called the police with a vehicle and suspect description. On May 18, 21-year-old Andrew Pochant and 30-year-old Jesse Jon Nielsen, both of Bismarck, were arrested on May 18 with several fake bills, a printer and meth paraphernalia. Duon Blair, 53, of Bismarck, was arrested May 16 with several fake bills, meth, heroin and pills. Even if police have caught the people behind these recently passed bills, others will come along to take their place soon, according to Marks, who recommends that people keep their eyes, and fingers, out. Fake money usually doesn’t feel right and, if viewed under a LED light, bills over $5 will lack a characteristic luminescent strip.  For more information about spotting counterfeit bills, click here.    [For more: Bismarck Tribune]

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