Breaking News in the Industry: May 9, 2018

Police shoot, kill man tied to shoplifting incident

One person is dead after a midday police-involved shooting at a busy Orlando, Florida, shopping plaza. The shooting happened Monday at the Colonial Plaza shopping center at East Colonial Drive and Bumby Avenue. Orlando police chief John Mina said officers were conducting a crash investigation in the shopping plaza parking lot when a loss prevention officer informed them of a crime in progress. Two officers confronted the people involved and at some point opened fire on the driver of a car. Mina said it appears officers were in fear for their lives. The officers hit the driver, who drove away from the shopping plaza and crashed near Celia Lane and Washington Street, where he was found dead. Two women were also believed to be connected to the incident were taken into custody nearby. They were identified as Jocelyn Villot, 32, and Brittany Chandler, 26. Another person was taken into custody at the shopping plaza. [Source: WESH2 News]

Police accuse employee of stealing more than $15,000 in iPhones

A Target employee in Florida was arrested last week on grand-theft charges after West Palm Beach police said she stole 15 iPhones worth more than $15,000. City police said Erin Todd, 20, of Lake Worth expected to be paid $7,000 for the phones, according to a report released last week. The store, on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard just west of Congress Avenue, reported the theft April 21. West Palm Beach police reviewed surveillance camera footage from that day and reported seeing Todd put multiple iPhones inside an empty cardboard box, according to the report. In an interview, Todd admitted to taking 15 phones, worth a total of $15,499.85.

In the security footage, Todd is seen writing on a FedEx Airbill, a tracking receipt. At 12:45 p.m., a FedEx employee scanned the package and left. Afterward, Todd hid the scanned paper in her pocket and took a second tracking receipt out from under her keyboard. At about 2 p.m., Todd gave her supervisor the second receipt and said it was scanned. The actual receipt that Todd had the FedEx employee scan was traced to a home in Royal Palm Beach. West Palm Beach police said Todd confessed to taking the phones in return for a $7,000 payment, which she said she did not get. Todd was charged with larceny grand theft greater than $10,000. She was released from the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday after posting $3,000 bail. [Source: myPalmBeachPost]

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Company president apologizes to black teens accused of shoplifting

The president of Nordstrom Rack, Geevy Thomas, flew down to St. Louis, Missouri this week to offer a face-to-face apology to three Black teens who were wrongly accused by store employees of shoplifting, KMOV reported Monday evening. “We did not handle this situation well and we apologized to these young men and their families,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “We want all customers to feel welcome when they shop with us and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.” Local NAACP leaders say they’ve talked to Thomas as well, and plan to work with him on what to do with the employees moving forward, according to CBS News. “The discussion has to have some sustenance, it needs to be strategic, and it needs to have some measurable outcome,” Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis NAACP chapter, told the outlet.

The controversy began on Thursday last week, after Mekhi Lee, Dirone Taylor, and Eric Rogers II said they noticed several store employees following them around the Brentwood Square Nordstrom Rack, where they were shopping for prom clothes. Although the teens ended up making a purchase, they say several Brentwood Police officers, who told them the store employees had accused them of theft, stopped them outside the store anyway. “Being a young, Black male, you experience certain things — you experience being watched. But no one ever takes it to the next level, as much as they did,” Taylor told KMOV. Police conducted an on-the-spot investigation, the three teens said, and later let them go without charges. Rogers said the officers appeared to be sympathetic to their version of events. “The police were actually good,” he said. “They understood where we were coming from and they showed us that they were just doing their job.” The three teens said they were also confronted inside the store earlier that day by another customer who called them “punks” and asked if their parents were “proud of [them] for what you do.” Managers stepped in after an altercation broke out between the customer and teens, who said they were defending themselves. “I knew it was coming, but at the same time I was feeling embarrassed, agitated, mixed emotions with the whole situation,” said Taylor, “because I know we didn’t deserve it.”  [Source: ThinkProgress]

Survey: The products—and brands—most likely to be stolen from stores are…

Shrink costs U.S. retailers a staggering $42.49 billion during 2017-2018. That’s according to the 2018 “Sensormatic Global Shrink Index” from Tyco Retail Solutions, which found that the most likely to be stolen from U.S. stores included clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and confectionery, as well as consumer electronics. The brands targeted the most included Guess, Gap, Revlon, Apple (and Beats), Samsung and Sony. U.S. fashion and accessories stores had the highest rate of shrink by retail vertical, the survey found. Office equipment stores had the lowest. Tyco commissioned global retail market intelligence provider PlanetRetail RNG to conduct the report, which included over 1,100 retailers across 14 countries representing the world’s leading economies and 13 vertical markets. They operate over 229,000 stores. On a global scale, shrink cost retailers nearly $100 billion globally last year. Shrinkage was highest in the U.S. at 1.85%, of sales during 2017-2018, while Europe (1.83%) ranked second. Key U.S. findings include:

  • External theft/shoplifting (including organized retail crime) make up the most significant percentage of losses, at 35.55% of lost sales, slightly above the global average. Internal shrinkage (24.54%), including employee theft, was the second largest source of losses, followed by vendor and supplier losses (21.47%).
  • The average value of each ORC incident in the USA during 2017-2018 was $1,401.68 (or $131.72 more than the global average). Other external incidents, including shoplifting, amounted to $89.80 (or $16.86 more that the global average) compared to all other countries surveyed. Internal sources, including employee theft, were worth $12.75 more in the USA, at $71.75, compared to the rest of the world.
  • After electronic article surveillance (EAS), alarm monitoring is the next most popular loss prevention investment, followed by access control systems, exception-based reporting and closed-circuit television (CCTV).
  • The country ranked fifth for overall shrink, but has the highest shrink dollars based on being the world’s largest economy.
  • Fashion and accessories have the highest rate of shrink by retail vertical, with shrinkage as a percentage of revenue coming in at 2.43%. Convenience stores and home, garden and auto stores had a rate of 2.05%, followed by drug stores, at 2.03%.
  • The sector with the lowest amount of shrink (as a percentage of revenue) was office equipment, at 1.26%.

“Best in class retailers are optimizing their physical stores by ensuring that operational controls are in place for growing problems such as retail shrink,” said Catherine Walsh, VP and general manager, Tyco Retail Solutions. “The Sensormatic Global Shrink Index benchmarks retailer performance globally and sheds light on other factors affecting loss prevention. Click here to view the full report’s findings.  [Source: Chain Store Age]

Shoplifting investigation leads to meth lab

A shoplifting investigation led Kaukauna, Wisconsin, police to a meth lab. Officers were called to the Piggly Wiggly store on E. Ann St for a report of shoplifters. Store employees were able to hold one of the alleged shoplifters, but another was able to get away. The second suspect ran to the Konkapot Trail area. Police found the man hiding in a wooded area near the trail. They also found evidence of “hazardous meth making material.” The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation was called to dispose of the clandestine meth lab and clean up waste. Part of the Konkapot Trail was closed during cleanup. It has reopened to the public. A 28-year-old Oshkosh man was taken to jail on an outstanding warrant.  [Source: WBAY2 News]

Equifax confirms data breach included driver’s licenses and passports

Equifax has been dribbling out updates to the scope of its 2017 data breach for months, but how much information was compromised, exactly? You now have a better idea. The credit reporting firm has submitted a statement to the SEC explaining how much data was compromised across numerous categories. And… it’s not pretty. The most common data taken involved names, dates of birth and social security numbers — each between 145.5 million and 146.6 million. Other giant losses included home addresses (99 million), genders (27.3 million) and driver’s license numbers (17.6 million). However, it’s the smaller numbers that may matter the most. The SEC filing confirmed that the intruders compromised key government IDs held at its online dispute portal, including full driver’s license info (38,000 people), social security and taxpayer ID cards (12,000) and even passports (3,200). More limited data was also stolen in the main set, including payment card numbers (209,000), tax IDs (97,500) and a driver’s license state (27,000). Equifax provided the statement in response to multiple congressional committees investigating the breach, which mostly affected the US. Provided this represents the final tally, it’ll help officials understand the scale of what happened and shape their response.  [Source: Engadget]

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