Breaking News in the Industry: October 8, 2018

WATCH: Suspects ram truck into 7-Eleven store, but fail to steal ATM

Anne Arundel County police in Maryland are searching for four suspects who used a pickup truck to slam into a convenience store in an effort to try to steal an ATM inside. The attempted ATM theft happened at around 2:40 a.m. Friday at a 7-Eleven store located in the 2100 block of Defense Highway in Crofton.

Surveillance video released by police shows a gold Ford F-350 truck backing into the front of the store. Three suspects dressed in black were seen entering the store and tried to lift and move the ATM machine out to the truck, but they were unable to. A fourth suspect was at the scene, but did not enter the store, according to witnesses.

The suspects ended up abandoning their efforts and left in the truck heading east towards Route 424, police said. Officers and a K-9 responded to the scene and searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspects. If you have any information about the suspects or a gold pickup truck with damage to its rear bumper, you are asked to contact Anne Arundel County police.   [Source: Fox5 DC News] 

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Second man nabbed in theft ring

Authorities have apprehended the second of two Rochester, New York, men accused of being part of an organized retail theft ring responsible for stealing more than $40,000 worth of merchandise from Walmart stores, including stores in Erie and Crawford counties, earlier this year. Darin L. Thompson, 28, was in the Erie County Prison on $80,000 in bonds Sunday following his arraignments Thursday night on charges in the theft ring and on drug charges related to his apprehension. Details on his apprehension were not available Sunday.

Thompson had been wanted since Aug. 15 on charges including felony counts of corrupt organizations, organized retail theft, receiving stolen property and retail theft in a Pennsylvania State Police investigation into a rash of thefts from Walmart stores in Erie, Crawford, and Bradford counties between March 17 and June 18. Investigators charge that a group of suspects targeted 24-hour Walmart stores in the early morning hours and would fill plastic storage tubs with printer cartridges and other electronic items that they would steal.

Investigators charge in Thompson’s criminal complaint that he was involved in thefts totaling $30,780 and attempted thefts totaling $27,555. The other person charged in the investigation so far, 21-year-old Rochester resident Todd L. Jackson, is accused of being involved in thefts totaling $7,226 and attempted thefts totaling $3,268, investigators reported.

Authorities reported previously that at least eight to 10 suspects are believed to have been involved in the theft ring, and that none of the suspects are believed to live in the Erie area. Jackson was apprehended and arraigned on Sept. 11 and waived charges including felony counts of conspiracy, organized retail theft, receiving stolen property and retail theft to court at his preliminary hearing on Sept. 25. He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond at the hearing.     [Source: GoErie.com]

Mattress Firm files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, will close up to 700 stores

Mattress Firm, which has been grappling with declining sales after an acquisition spree gone bad and a scandal at its parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday. The nation’s largest mattress retailer has been ailing amid a surge of bed-in-a-box online retailers, too many physical stores and an accounting mess at conglomerate owner Steinhoff International.

Houston-based Mattress Firm plans to close as many as 700 of its 3,230 company-owned stores. Those stores are located “in certain markets where we have too many locations in close proximity to each other,” CEO Steve Stagner said in a statement. More than 200 stores will close within days. (See the full list here.) The company has nearly 10,000 employees and another 125 franchised locations.

“We intend to use the additional liquidity from these actions to improve our product offering, provide greater value to our customers, open new stores in new markets, and strategically expand in existing markets where we see the greatest opportunities to serve our customers,” Stagner said. The company declined to make Stagner available for an interview.     [Source: USA Today]

Four charged with cellphone store armed robberies

Four people have been charged with stealing more than $13,000 worth of iPhones from T-Mobile, 7518 Wyoming Ave., Dearborn, Michigan. Two of the people, one armed with a handgun, entered the store Aug. 10 and committed the theft. They also were responsible for a similar theft at a Detroit location Aug. 16, according to police. After investigating, three men and a woman were arrested for their roles in the crimes, inside and outside of the store.

“Our number one priority is citizen safety,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said. “When that is jeopardized, we will do everything in our power to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.” Aaron Xavier King-Hudon, 29, of Detroit, was charged with 11 felonies, including armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, assaulting a police officer and felony firearm. He was arraigned in 19th District Court and issued a $500,000 cash bond.

Jacob Feagan, 21, of Ferndale, and Asndashawn Williams, 20, of Detroit, were each charged with 10 felonies. Charges include armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and felony firearm. They were arraigned in 19th District Court and each issued a $500,000 cash bond. Samreena Yed, 20, of Ferndale was charged with 10 felonies. Charges include armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and felony firearm. She was arraigned in 19th District Court and issued a $50,000/10 percent cash bond.   [Source: Press & Guide]

Employee theft case

An employee of at Family Dollar in Athens, Georgia, stole from the store on multiple occasions, prompting police to investigate on Sept. 27, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report. At the time police arrived, the employee in question was already filling out a confession letter, including how she committed the crimes, the report said.

The employee admitted that on various dates, she allowed friends to come into the store while she was working and only pretended to scan many of the items. The approximate value of the items taken by her friends was $1,000, the report said. The employee would only scan a partial amount of items she bought at the store, which amounted to an additional 89 items valued at $516, the report said.   [Source: The Red & Black]

Now boarding: On-demand food delivery at airport

The airport gate can be a point of frustration for travelers waiting to board a delayed flight — or, worse yet, the destination of a frantic last-minute run before the jetway closes. For those kinds of reasons, the gate can also be an ideal market for delivery. To serve hungry travelers waiting to board their flights, Airport Sherpa takes on the challenge of finding food options in a hurry at the airport. “I knew there were great options available at the airport,” Airport Sherpa CEO Patrick DellaValle, who co-founded the app after seeing the need as a business traveler, told PYMNTS. “[But] I simply knew that I was never going to have time to figure out where those stores might be and … have time to wait in line.”

To connect with customers, restaurants — or other airport retailers — can hook into Airport Sherpa’s system in two different ways. In one case, the app can be integrated with a retailer’s own point-of-sale (POS) system. For retailers that don’t want that connection, however, DellaValle allows retailers to connect with the app through a tablet-based system. Either way, airport retailers can generate incremental revenue by reaching customers throughout the airport. As it stands, travelers usually head straight to the gate after they leave security and tend not to leave that area.

After downloading Airport Sherpa, consumers can add their flight information to the app by either entering their flight number or finding their flight by providing their airline as well as destination. Alternatively, users can also choose not to add their flight information. Through the app, customers can browse different offerings and place orders for delivery along with any specialized instructions that they might have. For payments, consumers can add and save multiple credit cards to the app for convenience, but DellaValle is seeking to bring digital wallets to the app in the future.

In order to keep customers in the loop about their orders, Airport Sherpa sends notifications at different times, such as when a delivery person picks up an order and arrives at the gate. And, while customers are usually able to identify their delivery person without much of a problem, as they wear a purple vest with a unique number, DellaValle said he’s planning to add pictures of the delivery workers in the app in the future.

When it comes to customer preference between pickup and delivery, DellaValle has noticed an overwhelming trend: Three-quarters of customers want to have their order delivered. In addition, he was surprised to discover a new market when he rolled out the app. Originally, he focused on business and leisure travelers. But he later found that airport employees liked the app, too. Why? DellaValle said these workers have only a short time for a break and much ground in the airport to cover. At the same time, however, they enjoy the pickup option: “They want to go out and stretch their legs a little bit,” he said.

While Airport Sherpa currently runs out of Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI), a service dubbed AtYourGate operates at San Diego International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. Like Airport Sherpa, the app allows travelers to order items such as food and snacks from retail stores within the airport and have them delivered straight to the gate. In terms of appeal, AtYourGate counts business travelers, busy moms and millennials as customers, showing that on-demand delivery services can appeal to a wide variety of segments at the airport.   [Source: PYMNTS ]

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