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Breaking News in the Industry: October 5, 2018

New wave of cellphone thefts reported

Another series of cellphone store thefts have been reported in the East Bay area, days after authorities announced arrest warrants against 17 people in a rash of burglaries at Apple retail stores in California.

Concord police said three cellphone stores were burglarized on Tuesday, while a fourth was reported in Pleasant Hill. Two happened at the Sprint and AT&T stores at the Clayton Valley Shopping Center at Ygnacio Valley Blvd. and Clayton Road in Concord around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday. About 15 minutes later, another took place at a Verizon store at the Oak Grove Plaza on Treat Blvd. and Oak Grove Road.

Police said all three Concord burglaries had the same suspect descriptions of two black male adults wearing black or grey hoodies pulled over their heads, over six feet tall with thin builds. Surveillance video was not immediately available and police said investigators were working to obtain it from store management. The suspect vehicle was described as a black or grey Infiniti, possibly a G35, with black paper plates with yellow or white lettering.

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Last week, authorities announced the arrest of 10 alleged members of a snatch-and-grab robbery gang targeting Apple stores throughout 19 counties in California. Seven more suspects are still at large. Pleasant Hill police said the cases appear to be related to other thefts from Bay Area cellphone stores last month, as the suspects and vehicle have a similar description in each case.

The suspects enter the store and use force and/or tools to break the tether attaching the phones to the display before running away. The thefts have not been isolated to any one particular store, and most of the merchandise stolen has been newer iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones, and Apple watches, police said. Investigators are sharing information with other local agencies to find out if the cases are linked.   [Source: CBS SF Bay Area]

Suspect identified in shoplifting incident that injured police officer

Police have identified the suspect wanted in connection to a shoplifting incident that left a Brentwood, Tennessee, police officer injured on Monday night. Brentwood Police said Wednesday that Keydarius Simmons, 25, is alleged to have injured Officer Scott Willey while trying to flee from the TJ Maxx parking lot on Franklin Road.

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Police said Simmons was approached by officers as he left the store after being suspected of shoplifting. He fled on foot to a waiting vehicle and as he was attempted to drive away Willey was thrown from the vehicle and injured when his head struck the pavement. Police said Monday that Willey was treated on scene and taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is now recovering at home.

Simmons is 5’9″ tall, weighs 150 pounds and has multiple distinctive tattoos on his face, neck and arms. He was last known to be driving a 2018 Kia Optima with Maryland license plate 9DF8504. According to police, Simmons has numerous active warrants with Brentwood Police, Metro Nashville Police and other area agencies. If you have information about Simmons’ whereabouts, contact Brentwood Police at 615.37.0160, by email, or call Williamson County Crime Stoppers at 615.794.4000.   [Source: WSMV News4]

Trump’s China tariff binge is now affecting home specialty retail

Most people are used to hearing about how big-named retailers like Walmart and Target are getting hurt by President Trump’s tariffs on imported Chinese goods. There’s another area of the retail industry that’s feeling the burn of the tariffs. Home furnishings and flooring companies are getting their margins squeezed by elevated costs from the tariffs. “The home furnishings and flooring sectors have been the most directly impacted by the three rounds of implemented tariffs,” a team of Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note to clients.

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There have already been 10% tariffs put on Chinese imports of furniture goods in early July, but that tariff rate is set to increase to 25% January 1 2019. Roughly 88% of furniture imports come in from China, according to the Goldman Sachs note, which means most furniture retailers who import from China — and most of them do so — are felling the pain. The Goldman analysts do assume most of the companies impacted by the tariffs will be able to mitigate about 80% the cost-of-revenue increase, leading the analysts to reduce their operating profit multiples by only 20%. Still, that’s quite a downward revision.    [Source: The Street]

Mother and son accused of shoplifting

The Marana Police Department in Arizona is searching for a mother and son who are accused of shoplifting. According to detectives, the pair hit a Walmart last July, filled up a cart with about $1,000 worth of items and walked out the door. Marana Detective Mike Torres said Walmart loss prevention associates were able to get a license plate.  It came back to 22-year-old Jesse Callagy.  He was with his mother, 46-year old Dawnelle Logan. Detective Torres said the duo also hit a Target on Ina Road, stealing clothes and an Amazon Echo. If you have any information in this case, you are urged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.   [Source: KVOA News 4]

Accused shoplifter caught after fighting with LP

A man got into it with a loss prevention associate after being busted allegedly stealing $65 in merchandise from a Connecticut grocery store. Officers from the Milford Police Department took custody of a suspect shortly before 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, following an alleged shoplifting incident from Shop Rite on Boston Post Road over the summer. Police said that Milford resident Jayson Rotz, 28, allegedly shoplifted more than $65 of items from Shop Rite on July 22, and proceeded to engage in a physical altercation with the LP associate attempting to apprehend him. Rotz was arrested on Sunday and charged with robbery, larceny and breach of peace. He was released following his arraignment over the weekend and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 30 to answer the charges.   [Source: Daily Voice]

Sears, Kmart closing more stores as retailer’s struggles continue

Sears Holdings is closing at least three additional stores as the retailer faces serious questions about its future heading into the crucial holiday shopping season. The company is closing one Sears store in New York, a Kmart in New York and a Kmart in Virginia, according to layoff notices filed to government authorities.

Business Insider reported that the company is closing another five Sears and three Kmarts for a total of 11 locations in this latest round. The company has closed several hundred stores in recent years as it tries to stabilize its finances amid deteriorating sales. The most recent round, announced Aug. 23, involved plans to close 13 Kmart stores and 33 Sears locations in November. As of Aug. 4, the company still had 506 Sears locations, including 482 full-line department stores and 360 Kmart stores, according to a public filing.

Sears spokesman Howard Riefs declined to confirm the latest round of closures, referring instead to the company’s Sept. 13 statement: “We continue to evaluate our network of stores, which is a critical component to our integrated retail transformation, and will make further adjustments as needed.”   [Source: USA Today]

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