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Breaking News in the Industry: November 30, 2018

ORC trio arrested

Allentown, Pennsylvania, police arrested a trio of New Jersey women Monday night for allegedly shoplifting more than $1,300 worth of cosmetics from a Rite Aid. Police were dispatched to a Rite Aid for a theft in progress. When officers arrived, they found Destiny Harris-Parker, Shaquan King, and Tiffany Banks outside the store, according to court records.

Store loss prevention told police they saw the three filling their bags and walking out the door but King told an officer that everything in her bag belonged to her and gave police permission to look inside. An officer alleges he found boxes of merchandise with the security tags removed and no other personal belongings in the bag. Police said King had nearly $340 worth of merchandise in her bag. Police also allege they found $745 worth of merchandise in Banks’ purse and almost $231 worth of merchandise on Harris-Parker.

After taking Harris-Parker into custody, Allentown police said they discovered a bench warrant for shoplifting out of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Department in New Jersey. Authorities in New Jersey said outstanding warrants also existed for King, so Allentown police later charged her with being a fugitive from justice. Police charged Harris-Parker from Vineland, New Jersey, with retail theft, conspiracy and being a fugitive from justice. District Judge Charles Crawford arraigned the 27-year-old Tuesday morning, setting bail at $25,000 on the shoplifting charges and $25,000 on the fugitive charge.  [Source: WFMZ69 News]

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Shoplift suspect bites clerk; throws milk

A Coatesville, Pennsylvania, woman was arrested after police said she attempted to steal $14 worth of merchandise from the Giant supermarket and bit an employee on her hand and threw a container of milk at her when the employee tried to stop her. Dana Brandon, 45, of Coatesville, was charged with robbery, simple assault, harassment, retail theft and receiving stolen property in connection with the Oct. 13 incident.

Police filed the charges after a brief investigation. Police said a store employee allegedly observed Brandon conceal at least $14 worth of merchandise in her purse. The employee approached Brandon to recover the merchandise. Brandon allegedly bit the employee on her the hand and threw a container of milk at the employee.  [Source: Daily Local News]

Avoid these 5 retail tricks

Shoppers should proceed with caution this holiday season. Retailers have some tricks up their sleeves to entice consumers into spending more, including free shipping offers and too-good-to-be-true financing. And if Cyber Monday is any indication of the demand for gifts and deals this year, consumers will have plenty of opportunities to see these tactics in action.

Retailers have long used various strategies to sway shoppers. One classic ploy is to price everything one cent short of a whole number, as in selling a product for $19.99 instead of $20. Another is to make bargain hunting into a game (where shoppers have to dig around to find what someone else may have missed). Stores also display a lot of low-priced “impulse buy” items, like candles and magazines, near the cashier line, so it’s easy for a shopper to pop something into his cart on the way out the door, but there are a few new tricks to be aware of this holiday season:

Know when “free shipping” isn’t really free
Consumers really value free shipping — nine out of 10 people say it’s the No. 1 reason they shop online more often, according to the Walker Sands Future of Retail report. But free shipping can come at a cost. Some retailers require shoppers to spend minimum purchase amounts before offering free shipping, and consumers tend to add more to their cart to get to that limit, said consumer-savings expert Andrea Woroch. In fact, some shoppers would rather spend $25 or $30 more on an item they don’t need than pay the $7 or $8 for shipping, she said.

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Read the fine print on 0% financing offers
If that no-interest offer sounds too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is. In an effort to convince customers to make larger purchases, many retailers will advertise so-called 0% interest financing offers. In reality, many of these financing plans are actually deferred-interest financing.

Consumers may be better off skipping any form of credit from retailers entirely. Another common bonus retailers offer this time of year is a one-time discount if a consumer signs up for the store credit card. However, these credit cards have some of the highest interest rates out there, meaning that consumers who don’t pay their balance in full each month could end up owing more in interest than the discount they received at sign-up.

Beware the pop-up shop
The spotlight is no longer on Santa Claus and his elves at the mall. Shopping centers work with their retailers to host pop-up shops and events that complement their businesses, said Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State University. Doing so brings customers to the area, where they’ll typically wander around and go shopping. “It draws a whole variety of people who wouldn’t normally come to a mall,” he said.

Don’t assume that the “original” price is accurate
Getting 50% off the list price sure does sound good. But that list price may have never existed in the first place.That’s especially true of products sold at discount and outlet stores, according to a recent study from Donald Ngwe, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. He examined the prevalence of fake “discounts” and their influence on shoppers’ behavior.

- Digital Partner -

Don’t fall for FOMO — fear of missing out
Watch out for retailers hosting numerous flash sales, or extending their sales (as seen after Cyber Monday this year). “They’re doing more and more to create that sense of urgency, and people have a fear of missing out,” Woroch said. Some companies are offering daily deals this holiday season, while others are simply stretching the length of their sales — or offering similar new ones immediately after one sale ends.

Shoppers can protect themselves from over-shopping by unsubscribing to newsletters or opening a separate email account just for messages from retailers, Woroch said. At some point though, if you’ve been eyeing an item or you need to get a specific gift and you see it’s part of a sale, go for it, she said.   [Source: MarketWatch]

Employee admits to theft of $57,000

An employee of a Caalifornia Target store on McHenry Avenue faces charges of embezzlement from the nation’s eighth-largest retailer, Modesto police reported. Jeanette Trujillo, 32, has worked for the company 12 years. The store’s asset protection team discovered the theft and estimated Trujillo had taken several thousand dollars in merchandise, Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Bear said.

The suspect was interviewed and admitted to taking, by her own estimate, $57,000 in property over the years, Bear said. Primarily, the items were clothing and personal hygiene products.   [Source: The Modesto Bee]

Déjà Vu Shopliftings end in car chases

Two incidents of alleged Black Friday shoplifting with striking similarities were reported by Fairfax County Virginia police: each involved separate groups of suspected thieves who ran from stores with merchandise and drove away, refusing to stop. In both cases, police said, the cars crashed. A total of seven charges of grand larceny were placed in the two incidents, according to police. In addition, police said four women arrested in one of the two incidents were all charged with littering. No immediate explanation could be learned for the littering charge.

In one of the two incidents, police said on Monday that three women “ran out” of a Zara store with bags of merchandise. Police said they got into a car and “sped away,” disregarding officers’ efforts to stop them. The pursuit ended, police said, when the car hit other cars that were stopped at a red light. Three arrests on grand larceny charges were made in that incident, police said. No one was injured, they said.

An account given by police of an incident that occurred earlier on the same day seemed to show striking similarities. Police say officers saw four women “running out” of a Victoria’s Secret store in the Springfield Mall. They were carrying merchandise and being chased by an employee, police said.

The women got into a car, and drove onto Loisdale Road, “refusing to stop” for pursuing officers, the police said. At some point, police said, the vehicle being pursued crashed, striking another car. Police said the occupants of the vehicle officers were pursing jumped out of it, and ran through a parking lot.   [Source: The Washington Post]

Which local retailers call police most often?

As the holiday shopping center is in full swing, many retailers deal with thefts from stores throughout the year.  In 2017, the National Retail Federation said over 90 percent of retailers surveyed last year believed they were victims of organized retail crime. We asked our area police agencies how often they are called for thefts from several big-box stores and area malls. In our reporting, we asked for statistics from Walmart, Target, Meijer, Best Buy, and Kohl’s. Those retailers are each on the 2018 top retailers list from the National Retail Federation. We also asked for statistics from area indoor malls and received responses for the Dayton and Fairfield Commons malls.

  • Walmart: 156
  • Mall at Fairfield Commons: 115
  • Kohls: 109
  • Meijer: 93
  • Target: 25
  • Best Buy: 16

The top stolen items in 2017 included designer clothing, denim pants, razors, infant formula, designer handbags, laundry detergent, cigarettes, high-end liquor, jewelry and teeth whitening strips, according to the National Retail Federation. The retail federation also reported the average loss per $1 billion in sales in 2017 was $726,35. According to the organized retail crime report, 93 percent of surveyed retailers said they didn’t see a decrease in organized retail crime.  However, 67 percent reported an increase in activity, the report read.  [Source: WHIO7 News]

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