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Breaking News in the Industry: October 1, 2018

Multiple employees arrested after stealing more than $45k from department store

Multiple Tallahassee JCPenney employees were arrested after admitting to stealing money from the store, totaling over $45,000. Taylor Andrews, 18, and Ryanne Eckerberg-Wings, 18 were arrested by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Kyle McMillian, 18, was arrested by the Tallahassee Police Department on Friday.  Andrews’ mugshot has been exempt due to Florida Statue 119.071. Anthony Forrest, 23, and Khaleb Coleman, 19, have not been arrested yet.

On Sept. 10, an asset protection associate of JCPenney sent TPD an email listing the suspected employees involved in stealing money from the store. The next day, the associate told officers how the fraud was taking place. According to the AP associate, when a customer would come in and make a purchase with cash, the suspected employees would make a copy of the receipt. The following day, they would enter the information into JCPenney’s system from the sale’s receipt and pocket the refunds in cash.  All of the suspected employees each had their own login for the system and JCPenney did not become aware of the situation until some customers returned to the store to return their items. When JCPenney checked the sold items, they learned they had already been returned with the refunds given back. JCPenney did reimburse the customers for the items. The AP associate turned over files for the five suspected employees, which included receipts, statements, and the amount of each person’s theft, which are as follows:

  • Andrews total amount of theft: $12,671
  • Eckerberg-Wings total amount of theft: $8,000
  • Forrest total amount of theft: $5,309
  • McMillian total amount of theft: $15,208
  • Coleman total amount of theft: $4,504

The total amount of theft from the five employees was $45,692. TPD then conducted interviews with each of the five employees. Andrews admitted to officers he took $7,671 in cash and either taking or giving to friends or family $5,000 in merchandise. Eckerberg-Wings admitted to either taking or giving friends $6,000 in merchandise and taking $2,000 in cash. According to Eckerberg-Wings and Andrews, the theft didn’t start until June 2018 and continued to Sept. 11. Forrest admitted to taking $1,809 in cash, $2,500 in merchandise, and $1,000 worth of merchandise that he passed off to friends. McMillian admitted to taking around $4,000 in cash, $1,500 worth of merchandise, and giving away around $3,000 worth of merchandise. Of the $15,208 he’s accused of stealing, McMillian only admitted to taking $8,500.  Coleman admitted to taking $4,104 in cash theft involving returns and around $400 in merchandise.  Based on their admission, they are all being charged with organized scheme to defraud under $20,000.  Andrews, Eckerberg-Wings, and McMillian were all taken to the Leon County Detention Facility and placed on $2,500 bond. All three have since bonded out.   [Source: WTXL27 News]

WATCH: Armed men steal cellphones from store

Detectives are hoping clear surveillance video would lead to the arrests of two men who took off with some iPhones in an armed robbery of a MetroPCS store in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. The Broward Sheriff’s Office on Friday released over six minutes of footage showing before, during and after the robbery at the store located at 2460 N. State Road.

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The two men are seen casually strolling into the retail store just before 7 p.m. on Monday. One of the men starts walking toward the back of the store and pulls out a gun, pointing it at the employee behind the counter. The other man jumps over the counter and shoves the employee off her chair before he ushers her to the storage room.

Another employee is seen in the storage room loading iPhones into a safe when the armed robber walks in and demands her to put the phones into his backpack. The second robber enters the storage room with the first employee and shoves her into a chair before they take off with the phones. Anyone with information should contact BSO Robbery Detective Trevor Goodwin at 954-321-4270. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Broward Crime Stoppers at 954.493.TIPS or online at Anonymous tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.   [Source: NBC6 Miami]

New security measure stops woman from stealing at grocery store

A new security measure stopped a woman from stealing more than $300 worth of groceries from a Smithville Road Kroger in Ohio Tuesday afternoon. According to a Dayton police report, the cart a female attempted to push out of the store filled with more than $300 in stolen meats locked once she reached the entrance.  The new security measure prevents shopping carts from leaving the store if they have not been through a checkout line, a loss prevention associate told police. The suspect, described as a heavy-set white female, fled the scene in a tan Ford Escape with Ohio plate number HGU8198 once confronted, the report says. A cellphone video of the suspect was sent to police.    [Source: WHIO7 News]

Mugshots released of suspects arrested in $1M Apple Store robbery scheme

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office released mugshots of the seven suspects arrested in connection to a $1 million robbery scheme targeting Apple Stores. These crimes allegedly hit 19 counties, including the thefts in Santa Rosa, Emeryville, and Corte Madera over the last month. The Apple Store in Fresno was also hit. At this time, nine other arrest warrants have been given to remaining suspects.

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Police Departments in San Luis Obispo and Oakland conducted an investigation in order to make these arrests. “The successful collaborative efforts of law enforcement has resulted in dismantling a large criminal ring,” Oakland Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick says. The California Department of Justice eCrime Unit assisted.

According to Attorney General Becerra says they will continue to work with local law enforcement authorities to bring in the criminals and hold them accountable.
“Organized retail thefts cost California business owners millions and expose them to copycat criminals,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Ultimately, consumers pay the cost of this merchandise hijacking.”  Last month, five people from Fresno, Sacramento and the East Bay city of Antioch were arrested on suspicion of being an organized retail theft crew after a weekend heist at a Southern California Apple store led to an altercation with mall customers. More information, as well as the mugshots can be found at the website.   [Source: YourCentralValley]

Woman who bit employee during robbery gets two years

A Cambridge woman who bit a store employee while attempting to flee with stolen merchandise was sentenced to two years in prison. Haylie Dennis, 22, pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to one count of robbery, a second-degree felony, and one count of theft of less than $1,000, a first-degree misdemeanor. Prior to sentencing, Dennis stated “In my defense, I was acting in self-defense because he was hurting me.” Judge Kelly Cottrill reminded Dennis that she had just tried to flee the store with stolen merchandise and was being detained by a store employee until officers arrived to take her into custody. Dennis admitted that she has also stolen merchandise from another store and thought she had stolen merchandise from yet another store. She is currently facing aggravated drug possession charges in Guernsey County.   [Source: Times Reporter]

Facebook says breach affected about 50M accounts

Facebook said it discovered a security breach earlier this week that affected almost 50 million accounts, the latest in a series of missteps that are undermining confidence in the company’s social network and business model. The social-media network said in a statement Friday that it has fixed the breach, which allowed hackers to take over people’s accounts. Law enforcement authorities and regulators including the Irish Data Protection Commissioner have been told about the incident.

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The Facebook accounts of Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg were among those targeted by the hack. Shares of the company fell 2.6 percent to close at $164.46 in New York, leaving them down 6.8 percent this year. There was a loophole in Facebook’s code for a feature called “View As” that let people see what their account looks like to someone else. The vulnerability allowed hackers to steal access tokens — digital keys that keep people logged into Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter passwords. Once logged in, the attackers could take control.

“This attack exploited the complex interaction of multiple issues in our code. It stemmed from a change we made to our video uploading feature in July 2017, which impacted ‘View As,’” Facebook said. “The attackers not only needed to find this vulnerability and use it to get an access token, they then had to pivot from that account to others to steal more tokens.” While access codes were taken from 50 million accounts in the recent breach, Facebook said it doesn’t know whether any personal information was gathered or misused from those accounts. The vulnerability let the attacker use a Facebook account as if they were the account holder, executives said during a conference call. “We need to do more to prevent this from happening in the first place,” Zuckerberg said.   [Source: Bloomberg]

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