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Breaking News in the Industry: November 6, 2018

Man shot, killed inside store; suspect in custody

A deadly shooting inside a busy North Carolina Walmart on Monday night sent panic rippling through the store. Police swarmed the store, inside and out, on Bryton Town Center Drive for hours. Huntersville Police Chief Cleveland Spruill told Channel 9 one of his officers was on-duty and working inside the store when the shooting happened. Spruill said a man was shot and killed near the produce section. The shooter is in custody, police said, but no names have been released.

“At this point, we’re still trying to piece together exactly what his involvement was and what role he played,” Spruill said. Police blocked every entrance to the store and checked the IDs of terrified shoppers wanting to go home. They were getting people’s information in case they were a witness. Walmart released this statement: “We are deeply saddened by what has happened.  We are thankful for the quick actions by the Huntersville Police Department that has resulted in an arrest. We are working closely with law enforcement. Since this is an active investigation, we will refer additional questions to them.”   [Source: WSOCTV9 News]

Two suspected in c-store theft of $10,000

Two men who created a diversion are suspected of stealing a cash bag containing nearly $10,000 from the office of a convenience store Friday morning, Niagara Falls Police in New York reported. An assistant manager at the 7-Eleven store at 7610 Buffalo Ave. told police that after the men walked in about 9:15 a.m., one lingered near the office while the other asked questions about medications on a shelf. During that time, a plastic bag holding $9,696.88 was removed from an unlocked safe. The two men left separately without making a purchase, the employee said. Store officials told police they believe the men may have been trying to steal cigarettes, which are kept in the office area. Clear pictures of both their faces were captured on store surveillance video, police said.   [Source: The Buffalo News]

Two dead in retail warehouse collapse

Amazon is grappling with tragedy at one of its warehouses this weekend. A 50-foot wall at the company’s southeast Baltimore fulfillment center collapsed on the night of November 2nd in the midst of a large storm, killing two people. They worked for an external company, an Amazon official told the Baltimore Sun. The online retailer’s senior operations VP, Dave Clark, was thankful for emergency response teams and said the company’s “thoughts and prayers” went out to those affected. The storm was a particularly violent one that had torn roofs off apartment buildings and collapsed a ceiling at a TJ Maxx store, injuring three people. Amazon was caught up in extreme weather that unfortunately led to fatalities.  [Source: engadget]

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Daring duo uses pickup truck to burglarize store

Surveillance video shows why a Lexington County, South Carolina, store is missing its inventory and its door after two people used a truck to pull out the entrance and rob the place. The robbery happened at the Punkaj Party Shop in Leesville. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department posted video of the robbery, showing two men, concealing their faces with hoods, in what appears to be an older model GMC pickup. They connect the front door of a liquor store to the rear of the vehicle and rip off the doors.

The men proceed to fill the bed of the truck with bottles of liquor. At times they throw the bottles into the truck bed and grab up whole displays worth of merchandise. They also tore down lights from the front of the store. The robbery took thousands of dollars worth of alcohol, LCSD said.   [Source: The State]

Law enforcement and retailers crack down on theft during November

Under the November retail theft crackdown, if a person is ticketed at a retail business for a trespassing violation, returning to that business would result in an elevated misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass… it could mean up to a year in the county jail if convicted. The DA’s office said if a person previously ticketed for trespass or criminal trespass returns to that business again to allegedly steal merchandise or other property, the charge would be elevated to felony burglary.

In municipalities like Johnson City, police officers occasionally make felony third-degree burglary arrests in cases when a person is charged with stealing from a business — Walmart is among them — and that person had been previously banned from the store due to shoplifting. Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell said the enhanced trespass policy in November’s crackdown will be strictly enforced.

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The crackdown will also include an option for pursuing drug treatment if a person’s larceny arrest stems from his or her drug addiction, something authorities said would be decided on a case-by-case basis. Police handled 3,944 larceny cases across Broome County in 2017, according to records from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Out of those, 1,202 were petit larceny misdemeanor arrests… 152 were during November.   [Source: Press Connects]

Grocery chain expands pilot of time-saving robots in stores

Midwest grocer Schnuck Markets is expanding its pilot of autonomous robots that spot out-of-stocks, detect incorrect prices and help optimize planograms, among other tasks, to at least 15 of its stores, aiming to free up time for employees to perform other tasks. The deal continues Schnucks’ partnership with Simbe Robotics, which began piloting the Tally grocery technology in Schnucks’ stores last July.

For the St. Louis-based grocer, Tally can conduct autonomous product audits to help associates better serve customers; provide stock-related alerts, including information on misplaced products; deliver continuous in-store performance insights for brand and service partners; speedily update price tags based on promotions or price adjustments; and optimize product location to improve planogram and shopping flow organization, working in concert with other technology. At the moment, Tally robots in Schnucks stores scan roughly 35,000 products on store floors three times daily.

The increased number will grow average daily scans to more than 1.5 million SKUs. Currently, one Tally robot operates at each of four Schnucks locations: Ballwin, Woods Mill, Des Peres and Webster Groves, Missouri. Four more locations each will get a Tally this or next month, including Sierra Vista, Cross Keys, Twin Oaks, Missouri,  and Granite City, Illinois, with more to follow soon.   [Source: Progressive Grocer]

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