Breaking News in the Industry: October 30, 2018

Convict accused of stealing thousands of dollars while in jail

An Alachua County, Florida, jail inmate arrested for credit card fraud was caught committing the same crime behind bars, deputies said. Justin Lee Williams, 28, of Joelton, Tennessee, is accused of stealing about $2,800 to add to his commissary and phone account in late August, according to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. Several people called Williams to give him credit card numbers, expiration dates, security codes and billing address zip codes during the last week of August, the report said.

On Aug. 23, a woman called Williams twice to give him credit card information, deputies said. Williams used one card to add $300 to his commissary and $50 to his phone account and another to add $1,350 to his phone account. Williams called another woman multiple times over the next couple days to talk about finding card numbers to use, deputies said. At one point, Williams told the woman, “Don’t do anything to kill the card, or I’ll kill you.” He also attempted to bond out two other inmates with the stolen information, the report said.

Williams was charged with 20 counts of identity theft, nine counts of committing fraud under $300, three counts of committing fraud of $300 or more and one count each of providing false information, possessing five or more identities and possessing multiple counterfeit credit cards, the report said. He remains in jail in lieu of a $760,000 bond.  [Source: The Independent Florida Alligator]

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WATCH: Two suspects charged in connection with armed robbery

The Union County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina said two suspects have been charged in connection with an armed robbery in Indian Trail. Officials said they were able to successfully arrest and charge the suspects with the help of multiple law enforcement agencies including Union County Sheriff’s Office, Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, Mint Hill Police, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, Waxhaw Police, Locust Police and the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspects were identified as 31-year-old David Bradley Webber, Jr. and 53-year-old John Anthony Rowe. Webber faces charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony fleeing to elude arrest, and resist, delay and obstruct. Rowe faces charges of second degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and resist, delay and obstruct. The suspects were wanted for their alleged involvement in the armed robbery of a Verizon Wireless store in Indian Trail on Sunday morning. The sheriff’s office said one of the suspects entered the store with a gun and began stealing several iPhones.

Officials said officers pursued the suspects, but the pursuit ended in Midland, North Carolina, near Hartsell Funeral Home.  “The report from earlier was that they were armed at the time of the robbery so whether or not they’ve thrown or ditched the weapon, we don’t know at this point, but we have to assume he is still armed,” Union County Public Information Officer Tony Underwood said. Authorities said the suspects then fled on foot and were wearing hoodies at the time.

Neighbors received reverse 911 calls telling them to stay inside during the search. “I saw those police cars driving crazy and the sirens on and I was like oh my gosh what’s going on,” neighbor Ayla Hartsell said. I’ve never seen anything like that in this area because it’s so clam and peaceful here.”

This Union County Verizon store has been targeted before. In July, deputies said four suspects including two teenagers robbed the Verizon Wireless in Indian Trail when customers were inside. All four suspects were caught after a two-county police chase. Investigators say stolen phones are often sold online or on the Black Market.  [Source: WSOC-TV News]

Halloween costumes are created in ‘good fun’

The controversial retailer responsible for some of 2018’s most eyebrow-raising Halloween costumes, including a “Native American Seductress” getup and a “Brave Red Maiden” costume seemingly inspired by “The Handmaid’s Tale,” says all of its items are simply created in “good fun.” In an interview with Bustle, Pilar Quintana-Williams, the VP of marketing at Yandy.com, claimed that the company never sets out to offend. “Everything that we do is in good fun,” she told the site. “Nothing is ever made to mock or poke any fun.”

“The biggest thing we want to put out there is that, you know, we’re supporting women and a fun night and they can rock whatever it is they want to rock that day,” she added. Yandy has come under fire in the months leading up to Halloween for items including the aforementioned Native American and “Handmaid’s Tale”-inspired costumes, as both drew criticism from the online community.

In the case of the former, critics posted an online petition to get the retailer to remove its skimpy Native American-inspired costumes from sale. As of Monday, nearly 25,000 people had signed the Change.org petition asking Yandy to stop the “sexualization” of the culture. When asked to comment specifically on these costumes, of which Yandy currently offers dozens, Quintana-Williams said the designs are “never meant to mock” any culture.

“I personally have lived in the Southwest my whole life and a great deal of my inspiration for all my designs comes from that,” she told Bustle. Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image,” the company said in a statement in September. “Given the sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories we’ve received, we are removing the costume from our website.” Yandy also made headlines for selling a costume seemingly inspired by Meghan Markle’s wedding gown, albeit much shorter and tighter.

Quintana-Williams, who has been with the company for six years, also told Bustle that the public’s idea of a controversial costume is ever-changing, and that the company wants to make sure it is offering items that women might want to wear.  She added that employees are dreaming up costumes every year, and the more controversial ideas go through an internal review process.”We’re working really hard at supporting women to have a fantastic Halloween each year,” Quintana-Williams said. Yandy sells around a half-million Halloween costumes each year, Bustle notes. The company has not returned previous requests for comment from Fox News.   [Source: Fox News]

Suspect accused of shoplifting; hitting LPA’s vehicle to get away

In Mississippi, Biloxi Police are looking for a woman accused of stealing from a store at Edgewater Mall then hitting a loss prevention associate’s vehicle to get away. The woman reportedly stole $179 worth of clothes from a store on Tuesday at 3:25 p.m. After leaving the store, she drove away in a blue Honda Civic. When backing up to escape, an LP associate from the mall attempted to block the car. The woman then sideswiped the associate’s car and drove away, said police.

She is described as being in her 20s and standing 5’6″ with a tattoo on her upper right arm and several tattoos on her back. Anyone who can identify the suspect in the picture on the website is asked to contact Biloxi Police Department at 228.435.6112. Callers can also leave tips anonymously.   [Source: WLOX13 News]

Five arrested after shoplifting incident

Deputies arrested five people after an alleged shoplifting incident Tuesday afternoon in Thousand Oaks, California, authorities said. Employees at Dick’s Sporting Goods at 176 West Hillcrest Drive reported the incident around 3 p.m., according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies learned several suspects were seen running out of the store carrying merchandise they had not paid for, police said. The subjects fled the scene in a vehicle.

Authorities later spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle and pulled it over. Five people were found inside the vehicle, as well as merchandise from Dick’s Sporting Goods, police said. All five suspects were taken into custody and booked on suspicion of felony burglary and felony conspiracy to commit a crime. Authorities could not confirm the gender of the suspects or if they were juveniles or adult.   [Source: VC Star]

Sam’s Club is opening its own version of Amazon Go with no cashiers or registers

Sam’s Club is opening a futuristic new store in Dallas, Texas, without registers, checkout lines, or cashiers. The store, called Sam’s Club Now, is about a quarter the size of a regular Sam’s Club warehouse and will serve as a testing ground for new technologies, including self-service returns, digital price tags, and Scan & Go, which lets shoppers check out using a smartphone. “This club is going to be unlike any other club we have in our portfolio,” Sam’s Club president and CEO John Furner said on a call with reporters. To shop the store, customers must download the Sam’s Club Now app.

The app is where customers will build their shopping lists and pay for items. The app also has navigation software that can route shoppers directly to the items they need. This is meant to address what Sam’s Club executives said is customers’ top question. “The No. 1 question we get from our members in the club is: ‘Where is an item?'” said Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com. The app will generate a map of the best route through the store’s aisles for shoppers to find everything on their shopping list. It will also answer shoppers’ verbal inquiries about the location of specific products.

In addition to helping customers find items, the app will also serve as a checkout register. As customers add items to their shopping carts, they will scan the products’ barcodes with their smartphones. Scanned items will be automatically removed from customers’ shopping lists. This is meant to make it easier for shoppers to see which products they have left on their lists.

Once customers are finished shopping, they will present a barcode to a Sam’s Club Now employee. The employee will scan the code to complete their purchase. Since the store will have no registers, it won’t have any need for designated cashiers. Instead, Sam’s Club employees called “member hosts” will roam the store to assist shoppers with their needs. “Think of these associates as the concierge of the club,” Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com, wrote in a blog post on the new store. “We’ll empower them with new technology that will allow them to serve members better and faster.”

Sam’s Club executives say there are no plans right now to replicate the store, which Furner referred to as an “innovation lab” and “tech incubator.” Instead, the company will use the format to test new technologies and determine whether to roll out those services to its stores nationwide. “We’re out to win,” Furner said. “This means we have to keep eliminating friction for both associates and for our members.”  [Source: Business Insider]

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