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Breaking News in the Industry: November 27, 2018

Shoplift suspects ram deputy’s vehicle

Two suspects on the run after allegedly committing a strong-armed robbery and attempted theft at one Winter Haven, Florida, Walmart were caught by Winter Haven police officers and Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputies Tuesday.
 According to PCSO reports, 17-year-old Kyra Ploof, of Apopka, and 21-year-old Jamal White, of Orlando, were arrested and face numerous charges, including allegations of retail theft and battery, and battery at another Walmart store. The agency received a call before 3 p.m. Tuesday from the Walmart located at 7450 Cypress Gardens Blvd. in reference to two suspects who were caught shoplifting by the loss prevention team.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that according to Walmart personnel, White and Ploof tried to steal hoverboards, but were caught by anti-theft devices. After this, they allegedly then went to the electronics section, taking four streaming video devices. To conceal the stolen goods, reports say they perused the sporting goods section for a backpack.
When they tried to leave the store via the garden center, loss prevention personnel and four managers attempted to confront them. Ploof ran out to the parking lot, according to deputies, and White shoved one manager in the chest and struck another one.

Ploof brought a grey Nissan Altima around and allegedly yelled to White, who ran to the car and got in, according to reports. A PCSO patrol deputy spotted the vehicle leaving the parking lot. Reports say the deputy tried to stop the car, but instead, the vehicle fled, causing a crash on U.S. 27 in the intersection, striking two other vehicles.
 No injuries were reported in this accident, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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The suspects allegedly did not stop and continued to flee, making a U-turn on U.S. 27. The PCSO said the duo then headed westbound on Cypress Gardens Boulevard, “purposely hitting the deputy’s patrol car,” according to the Sheriff’s Office release. The deputy pursued the vehicle and stopped the car with a PIT maneuver. Both suspects were taken into custody without further incident, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
   [Source: The Ledger]

Fraudster from old job steals from new job

An Idaho Falls woman convicted of forgery has now pleaded guilty to larceny after she stole over $2,000 from her employer. Sierra Paige Snarr, 23, admitted to her supervisors that she stole money from Wells Fargo on 17th Street and Holmes Avenue on Dec. 1, 2016, according to court documents obtained by

Snarr was confronted with the fact that her cash drawer had significant sums of money missing since she started working at the bank in October 2016. Snarr told police she would take the money directly from the cash drawer and replace it with money from stolen cash deposits. She said she would take money deposited by The Dollar Tree because they made more than one deposit a day and it would make it more difficult for her to be detected.

Wells Fargo terminated Snarr and bank managers told police they lost at least $2,500 as of result of Snarr’s criminal activity. According to court records, Snarr was convicted in April 2017 for forgery after committing credit card fraud at The Roadway Inn, her previous employer. She is also facing a burglary charge for an incident in February 2017.   [Source: East Idaho News]

Retail recovery continues momentum

The “retail renaissance” continued its momentum this Thanksgiving Weekend, according to a new report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) which found that an estimated 151 million people visited a mall or shopping center over the weekend. As consumers hunt for the best deals of the season, ICSC’s Thanksgiving Weekend Consumer Survey found that physical retail remains the hub of holiday shopping.

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ICSC found that 49 percent of shoppers spent more than in 2017, and 30 percent spent the same as last year. Gift-buying claimed the largest share of this spending, with shoppers spending an average of $227.70 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The shopping is not expected to stop on Black Friday, as adults surveyed planned to spend $189.90 on the Saturday and Sunday after the big day.

“Black Friday kicked the holiday shopping season into high gear, driven by positive consumer sentiment and great deals from retailers,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers. “More shoppers visited their local mall or shopping center this year than last year, proving again that this holiday season is going to be strong and that consumers want to spend money on gifts for family and friends.”

Omnichannel retailers, those with a physical and online presence, were overwhelmingly the preferred destination for holiday shoppers, capturing 88 percent of spending on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, demonstrating once again that having multiple options for consumers to take advantage of is a winning strategy.   [Source: BusinessWire]

One jewelry store robber caught; one got away

State Police have made an arrest and had been searching for a second suspect in a jewelry store robbery. Police say as many as four suspects in two vehicles may have been involved in the heist. It all started around 9 p.m. Monday at the Jared jewelry store in Millcreek, Michigan. Police say two men used hammers to smash multiple glass cases and made off with a large amount of jewelry in excess of $200,000.

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Witnesses gave police a description of the getaway car – a red van stolen out of Detroit – seen speeding away. A few minutes later, State Police started a chase along I-90. It ended when the suspects crashed the mini-van along the interstate near East Springfield; no other cars were involved. Both people inside jumped out of the van.

Police arrested one suspect, who has since been identified as Roderick D. Brown, 19, of Detroit. The other robber took off into the woods. Brown admitted to police that he and another man were responsible for the crime as he was taken to the hospital to be checked out for injuries from the crash, according to the criminal complaint.   [Source: Erie News Now]

Shoplifter bites LP associate

A Tallahassee woman is facing multiple charges for biting a loss prevention associate and stealing more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from a local Belk store. Taylor Cullifer, 26, was arrested by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on Monday. When officers arrived on scene, they talked with the loss prevention associate (LPA), who identified Cullifer as the suspect.

The LPA showed deputies video surveillance of Cullifer putting several items in her purse, and the video surveillance also showed Cullifer taking hangers off of the items and placing the items in her purse. When the LPA asked Cullifer to come with him into custody, she began to resist and bit his hand as he was trying to arrest her. He told deputies that she had to be carried to the loss prevention office and was “kicking, biting, and resisting.”

According to police documents, Cullifer’s purses contained several items of clothing and two watches that had not been paid for, totaling more than $1,000.  Earlier that day, Cullifer was issued a trespass warning by LCSO from the entire Tallahassee mall property, which included Belk’s.   [Source: WTXL27 News]

LP associate pepper-sprayed

A Wilmington, Delaware, woman was charged with assault and robbery on Wednesday, after police say she pepper-sprayed a loss prevention associate (LPA) who saw her put merchandise in her bag. Sharnagia Watson, 23, was at the Christiana Mall Macy’s department store with another woman around 5:40 p.m., Master Cpl. Michael Austin of Delaware State Police said.

She tried to hide merchandise in a bag and leave the store without paying, but an LPA noticed. When the LP associate confronted Watson, she sprayed him with pepper spray, Austin said. He still managed to hold Watson until Christiana Mall police arrived, but the woman she was at the store with ran away. Watson was arrested and charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree assault, third-degree conspiracy, and shoplifting. She was released on an $11,000 unsecured bond.   [Source: Delaware Online]

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