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Breaking News in the Industry: November 12, 2018

LP Manager is facing prison for $130K fraud refund scheme

The loss prevention manager at the  Neiman Marcus store in D.C. is facing prison time for fleecing the store of more than $130,000. Alexander Gulino is scheduled to be sentenced in a D.C. court on Friday for a three-year scheme to pocket store money. According to memos submitted by prosecutors, Gulino used his authority as LP manager and supervisor of the store’s customer service department to create hundreds of fictitious returns. Prosecutors said Gulino gained access to Neiman Marcus computer systems to enter fraudulent returns and take cash from the registers for himself. “[Gulino] used his status as loss prevention officer to access Neiman’s retail tracking computer system, which stores sales data for every item sold, returned or otherwise at any retail location in the United States,” according to prosecutors.

To execute his scheme, prosecutors said Gulino identified older purchases and those handled by salespeople who no longer worked for Neiman Marcus, assuming they would be less likely to get flagged. According to prosecutors’ memos, Gulino entered those purchases fraudulently into a store computer system, removed cash from store registers and shredded refund receipts to conceal the crimes. According to court filings, Neiman Marcus uncovered Gulino’s scheme through “elaborate measures to catch [Gulino] in the act,” including through the use of surveillance cameras to monitor Gulino’s movements in back offices, and through a “key stroke” device that recorded his computer usage. Prosecutors are recommending a 10-month jail sentence and an order for Gulino to make $132,054 in restitution.   [Source: NBC4 Washington]

Three arrested after $7.5K of stolen goods recovered

Police say they recovered $7,560 worth of goods allegedly stolen from a dozen stores in Massachusetts and arrested three shoplifting suspects. The alleged stolen merchandise, ranging from clothing, silverware and dog food, was found in a car stopped by police around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday on South Main Street, prosecutors said Thursday. Police say the car was so filled with merchandise, they questioned how three people could fit in the vehicle, according to court records. The suspects, Jazmine Scott, 26, and Gerald Cooper, 27, both of Boston, and Cynthia Scott, 43, of Acton, faced charges Thursday in Attleboro District Court. All pleaded innocent to receiving stolen property and larceny. Jazmine Scott faces additional charges of resisting arrest, intimidation of a witness, participating in an organized retail crime, being disorderly and disturbing the peace, according to police.  Cooper and Cynthia Scott were ordered held in jail on $1,000 cash bail. Jazmine Scott was released on $500 cash bail.

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Police were called to the Family Dollar Store in Attleboro Crossing at 217 South Main St. around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday for a reported shoplifting. The clerk told police the three suspects entered the store and one of them asked her to help at the rear of the store when she heard the door alarm activate. The suspects allegedly left the store. One of the suspects, identified as Jazmine Scott, allegedly grabbed the clerk’s cellphone when she tried to call police, according to police.   [Source: The Sun Chronicle]

Say ‘thanks’ to a veteran if your supply chain is running well

Veterans are a crucial part of the supply chain. At minimum, they exit the service with valuable skills and experience for the industry. But the link between the military and the supply chain is deeper than shared personnel. In many ways, the supply chain we have was built to serve the men and women we celebrate on Veterans Day. Later, civilians borrowed the military’s management strategy to create an industry, which continues to benefit from the purposeful, research-oriented way much of the military supply chain was developed. Here are few examples of lessons the private sector is still learning from US military supply chains:

Customer-centric performance metrics
Modern inventory management is about having the right product in the right place at the right time… no sooner and certainly no later. The concept of “just in time” inventory stems from a trend toward lower overall inventory levels, which allow retailers to keep margins in check by speeding up lead times and keeping less stock on hand. Whether it’s building a base or engaging in combat, military gear needs to be where it is needed, when it is needed and likely not too far before, a group of Wharton School researchers found in an analysis of military supply chains.

- Digital Partner -

Reverse logistics
Until the rise of e-commerce, in the eyes of the retail supply chain most sales were final. Today since so many consumers opt for the convenience of home delivery over the opportunity to test or try-on, retailers are overwhelmed with returns and are still developing systems and solutions to get them back into circulation. If taxpayers were funding the retail supply chain, this likely wouldn’t be the case. In addition to reverse logistics, the military also has formalized lateral logistics as some gear moves from base to base and not back to its origin. As retailers drown in returns causing a frankly shameful amount of waste (30% of returns end up in a landfill), the private sector could take a cue from the armed forces and get serious about formalizing these channels.   [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]

ORC ring busted; 1 arrested, 3 on the lam

Police in two states are looking for suspects who they say are a part of an organized theft ring targeting Macy’s stores in Ohio and now in Pennsylvania. Police said one suspect, Keyon Cleveland, 24, was arrested in Boardman, Ohio, Thursday night and is facing charges there and in Robinson Township. Cleveland and his sister, Kenya, as well as two other suspects, an unidentified man and a woman named Tashay Benford, are part of a group of shoplifters that steal high-end merchandise from Macy’s stores, according to police.

Police in Ohio told Channel 11 they are investigating the group in connection with a series of retail thefts including other stores, like Dick’s Sporting Goods. Police in Robinson Township believe the Clevelands and Benford are behind a well-organized attempted theft of $8,000 of high end designer merchandise at the Macy’s at Robinson Mall last week.

- Digital Partner -

Police say store loss prevention detained the two women until Keyon Cleveland assaulted a security guard and the trio jumped into a car and made their getaway. Once the suspects got onto the Parkway West, headed to Ohio, police said  the driver was driving close to 100 mph. Officers had to stop the pursuit when they saw the driver almost hit a tractor-trailer.   [Source: WPXI11 News]

Retired cop helps take shoplifter into custody

A South Jersey man helped police officers take down two shoplifting suspects at the Bass Pro Shop in Atlantic City. Retired police officer John Dollard walked into the store to find officers attempting to arrest two men, later identified as 21-year-old Marquis Harison and 20-year-old Kaleef Ardis. The situation quickly escalated and that is when Dollard jumped in to help.

While attempting to place Harison in custody, police say he began to punch one of the officers in the face, and dropped a handgun to the ground during the struggle. “As we were tussling on the ground, a gun shot out within reaching distance of all three of us. The suspect was reaching for the gun. The cops were reaching for the gun. I was reaching for the gun,” Dollard said. The two suspected shoplifters were eventually taken into custody. [Source: ABC6 News]

Retailers open on T-Day to kick-start Black Friday

More than a dozen national retailers will open their doors early for Black Friday, kicking off sales on Thanksgiving Day. At the same time, the list of brick-and-mortar stores that will remain closed for the holiday is growing, and lately stands at nearly 100 national and regional retailers, according to BestBlackFriday.com. The push for earlier Black Friday sales comes as consumers increasingly snub brick-and-mortar retailers in favor of online rivals such as Amazon. Yet many stores still count on a surge in sales during the annual shopping extravaganza. Those dynamics are putting pressure on retailers to offer more holiday “doorbusters” — or low prices on high-demand products like computers or home appliances — and to stay open on Thanksgiving.

Some retailers say they want to give their workers a break on Thanksgiving. Retailers ranging from Ace Hardware to Trader Joe’s are among those closing their doors on the holiday, according to BestBlackFriday.com . Consumers plan to spend an average of $554.90 during the holiday weekend, with $207.30 going towards gifts, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Seventy-one percent of shoppers will go to a shopping center or mall during the holiday weekend, with millennials leading the way, at 83 percent, a new survey by the group shows. The National Retail Federation estimated that 174 million people shopped in stores and online during last year’s five-day Thanksgiving weekend, which ends with Cyber Monday. A list of retailers open and closed, can be found on the website. [Source: CBS MoneyWatch]

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