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Breaking News in the Industry: October 2, 2018

WATCH: Store employees brawl with shoplifting suspects

Two employees fought back when a pair of suspected shoplifters tried to steal from a discount store in the Bronx. Surveillance video shows the scuffle inside the Family Dollar on Clinton Avenue in the Belmont section of the borough. Police said the employees confronted the alleged thieves around 9 p.m. Wednesday as they tried to leave without paying.

One suspect threatened to stab the workers with a syringe, and the other brandished a knife, police said. The men eventually made off with 23 packages of boxers and 15 bottles of air freshener. Police described the first suspects as two Hispanic men in their 40s, 5 feet 8 inches tall. One had his hair in a ponytail and was last seen wearing a black and gray sweater, blue jeans and black and white sneakers. The other was seen wearing a gray sweater, blue jeans, black sneakers and a black backpack.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800.577.TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.   [Source: CBS2 New York]

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Woman alleges racial profiling after being falsely accused of shoplifting

An outraged Florida woman says she was the victim of racial profiling after being falsely accused of shoplifting at an H&M store at the Pembroke Lakes Mall this week. Daniela Taylor said the incident unfolded Tuesday when she went to H&M to return a pair of earrings and decided to purchase another pair. As she walked out of the store, that’s when she says two loss prevention associates approached her and accused her of stealing. She said the ordeal left her feeling “embarrassed.”

“It was a black thing. Period,” Taylor told CBS Miami. “I wasn’t the only person in there. Why me?” “I didn’t do anything,” she added, fighting back tears. “And I said that over and over again, I didn’t do anything.” Taylor said she was most upset by a comment made by one of the loss prevention associates, who was African-American. “I’m cursing because obviously I have already told him I didn’t do anything,” she recalled. “I said, ‘you should understand where I’m coming from. If you were on the other end of the table, you should understand how they do us these days.’ He said, ‘Don’t pull the race card on me.’ ”

It wasn’t until after they reviewed the store’s security tapes that the officers realized Taylor hadn’t stolen anything. The loss prevention associate later apologized for the incident, but the young woman says the damage is already done. “They need to be better at who they hire,” Taylor told the station. “They really need to look into people and do the extensive training that needs to be done.”

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H&M, who’s dealt with its fair share of controversy, released a statement addressing what it called a “misunderstanding.” The loss prevention associates in question have since been fired, the company confirmed. “We have since let go of the third party security company that was involved and we are reviewing our internal procedures to make sure this type of incident does not happen again and that our routines are properly followed,” it said. “We will be getting in touch with the customer to follow up on the steps we have taken.”   [Source: Atlanta Black Star]

Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 for all US employees

Amazon announced today it’s raising the minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15, effective next month. The new minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees — including part-time and temporary employees — as well as another 100,000 seasonal employees, the company said. Some employees who already make $15 per hour will also see a pay increase.

Amazon said the effect of the higher pay will be reflected in its forward-looking quarterly guidance. Shares of Amazon were trading a fraction of 1 percent lower before the market open. The company and CEO Jeff Bezos have been facing criticism for its pay disparity. Sen. Bernie Sanders last month introduced legislation called the Bezos Act to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.   [Source: CNBC News]

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Employee arrested for theft

A Bloomington, Indiana, T.J. Maxx employee was arrested after internal investigators found she helped steal $6,616.47 worth of merchandise. Police said they went to the store at 160 N. Gates Drive and arrested Adear Azzam, 21, charging her with theft. Officers are still looking for Azzam’s friends who were involved.

Azzam invited her friends into the T.J. Maxx store multiple times throughout July 2018 and helped them steal merchandise by removing security tags and acting as if they paid, police said. She would then have the friends come back in and return the items in exchange for gift cards, an investigator told police.

“This is an extremely common internal theft strategy,” Capt. Steve Kellams said. A T.J. Maxx internal investigation was launched after employees became suspicious of Azzam, but was put on delay after she went on maternity leave. Once she returned to work, the investigation was finished and police were contacted.   [Source: Indiana Daily Student]

Ten arrested for cloning credit cards to buy fuel

Ten people were arrested in Florida on various fraud charges and unlawful conveyance of fuel following a Lee County Sheriff’s investigation. The Economic Crimes Unit investigated fraudulent credit card transactions at local gas stations. Detectives discovered an elaborate organization responsible for cloning credit cards and purchasing high dollar amounts of diesel fuel. The suspects would then transport that fuel, in various vehicles, equipped with illegal, homemade fuel tanks, according to LCSO.

With the help of other units, LCSO identified and arrested Adrian Morales Hernandez, Pedro Pena Acosta, Danyer Enrique Padron Osorio, Eddy Yunior Cervantes Rabelo, Yoel Orlando Lopez Gomez , Andres Fernandez Izquierdo , Ronald Pareja Lago, Amilkal Teran Mederos , Aniuska Martinez Llanos and Yoan Manuel Sardinas Mederos. Their mugshots can be seen on the website. In total, the suspects were found to have more than 250 cloned credit cards, and made approximately $20,000 in fraudulent charges. Five vehicles were also seized, having been used in their operation, LCSO said.   [Source: WINK News]

Toys R Us owners to set up employee fund

Toys R Us’ private equity sponsors Bain Capital and KKR plan to create a fund to support associates and pay severance, according to media reports and confirmed for Retail Dive by Carrie Gleason, campaign manager for the worker advocacy group Rise Up Retail, which she said has been involved in talks with the private equity firms.

PitchBook reported Friday that Bain and KKR have had discussions with advocacy groups and former Toys R Us employees, who have been pushing for severance through a petition, the company’s bankruptcy process and by lobbying lawmakers, among other efforts. Talks between the firms and advocacy group revolved around a fund to pay back $75 million employees said they were promised by the company.

Also on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Bain and KKR were “putting together” a $20 million severance fund to “pay thousands of workers left jobless by the retail’s bankruptcy.”  Gleason would not comment on the amount that the firms have committed to but said workers were still in talks and were pushing for the full $75 million they say they are owed. A spokesperson for Bain Capital declined to comment.   [Source: RetailDIVE]

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