Breaking News in the Industry: October 9, 2018

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Suspect convicted of cargo theft

Almost two years after a semitrailer was stolen with $160 thousand worth of cargo, a Murray County jury has now convicted a man for two counts of cargo theft. Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) officials arrested John Patrick Donovan of southeastern Florida in March 2017 after he stole a semitrailer belonging to Sierra Transportation. Inside the trailer was carpet from Mohawk Industries with an estimated worth of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The trailer was found in Brownsville, Texas, at the US-Mexico border in January 2017, a month after it was stolen. Brownsville Police Department (BPD) discovered the semitrailer illegally parked in a parking lot with a tractor stolen from Kansas attached to it. The carpet and all its vehicle identification were gone, but BPD found multiple clues in the cab of the tractor.

A release says police were able to identify Donovan as the suspect by a pill bottle bearing his name and bills of sale for the tractor and semitrailer found in the floor of the tractor. After police towed the semitrailer and tractor away, Donovan called BPD three times to find out where they had been towed without identifying himself. After the calls, police say they were able to trace the phone used for the calls to a Walmart in Alabama, where security footage has him buying the phone and leaving in a tractor-trailer. Police say call records pulled from the phones in Donovan’s possession at the time of the arrest indicate he called Sierra Transportation twice the day before stealing their semitrailer.

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Conasauga Attorney General Bert Poston says Donovan has a record of theft, with prior felony convictions from Alabama, Kentucky and Florida. The Murray County jury met last Thursday to begin hearing evidence. The 12-person panel included two special agents with the GBI Major Theft Unit and two police investigators from the BPD. They returned a unanimous verdict on both counts that evening. Presiding Judge William T. Boyett set sentencing for November 14, 2018. Donovan faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of cargo theft and a minimum fine of at least $50 thousand on each count.  [Source: NewsChannel9]

Shoplifting suspect charged with assaulting police officer

Samuel Mills, age 35, of East Falmouth, Massachusetts, is being held on $1,000 cash bail, charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, shoplifting over $250 and furnishing a false name. Around noon Sunday, Walmart employees reported a shoplifter in the store’s hardware department.

According to Wareham Police Department officials, Officer Nate Aronson responded and told an uncooperative Mills that he was under arrest. Mills allegedly ran and Officer Aronson chased him, collided with a store display, but kept pursuing Mills. The scene reportedly became chaotic as by-standers were alarmed by Mills’ aggressive behavior and refusal to cooperate.

Aronson had ordered Mills to the ground three times when the suspect confronted the officer in a fighting stance. He attempted to subdue Mills with a Taser, but missed. Officer George Chandler then arrived and Mills was arrested. Aronson was treated and released from Tobey Hospital with minor injuries. Acting Police Chief John Walcek praised his officers for their actions, “The officers of this department will continue to aggressively and relentlessly pursue criminals who not only want to steal from a business in our community, but are willing to fight with us when confronted.”   [Source: CapeCodToday]

Eighty-one percent of consumers plan to shop direct-to-consumer brands

Direct-to-consumer brands are capturing more of the American retail market, based on their differentiators of convenience, product quality and fast and free (or low-cost) shipping, according to new research from Diffusion emailed to Retail Dive. A third of U.S. consumers plan to do at least 40% of their shopping from D2C companies in the next five years, and 81% say they’ll make at least one purchase from a D2C brand within the next five years, Diffusion found in its “2018 Direct-to-Consumer Purchase Intent Index.”

But there are limits, according to Diffusion. Just 9% of Americans say customer service from D2C brands is superior to that of traditional brands, and 7% find their returns process easier. Replenishment doesn’t help much: Just 6% of Americans prefer D2C brands because they automatically send products they use regularly.
 Just 2% to 3% of newer D2C brands have more than $1 billion in online sales, demonstrating that sales still mostly occur through traditional retailers, according to another study from e-commerce solutions firm PipeCandy.   [Source: RetailDIVE]

Shoplifter threatens, punches LPA

More than $500 worth of merchandise was stolen from Home Depot in southwest Evanston, Illinois on Wednesday evening. At 6:24 p.m., a 61-year-old male Evanston resident removed merchandise from the store, at 2201 Oakton St., and passed the last point of sale, said Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew. The man then encountered a loss prevention associate.

“He said ‘I have a gun’ and reached into his waistband,” Glew said. “He also struck the loss prevention officer in the head, causing injury.” Glew said the man knew he was being approached by an on-duty loss prevention associate. He was arrested a block and a half away on Oakton Street on three felony counts, Glew said: aggravated robbery, aggravated battery of a loss prevention agent and felony retail theft.   [Source: The Daily Northwestern]

Two charged with credit card fraud

A pair of Oktibbeha County men in Mississippi are behind bars, accused of using credit cards that did not belong to them. Brian Bonds, 20, and Curtis Anderson, 18, both of Starkville, were arrested Thursday by the Starkville Police Department on multiple warrants. Anderson was charged with three counts of felony credit card fraud and one count of misdemeanor credit card fraud. His total bond was set at $16,000.

Bonds was charged with three felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, one count of misdemeanor credit card fraud, and one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit a crime. His total bond was set at $17,000. According to Starkville police, additional charges may be pending. Both men had initial appearances in Starkville Municipal Court Friday and remain in the Oktibbeha County Jail.   [Source: Daily Journal]

Witness reportedly jumps on shoplifter’s car

A witness to a shoplifting Friday reportedly tried to stop the thief by jumping on the suspect’s car, the Ukiah, California, Police Department reported. UPD officers responded to Friedman’s Home Improvement on Airport Park Boulevard around 2:45 p.m. Oct. 5 when it was reported that two people had been hit by vehicles in the parking lot in an incident “related to a shoplifting.”

When officers, along with an ambulance and fire engine, arrived, they discovered that the incident was not as reported. Apparently, someone who saw another person stealing items from the store “jumped on the thief’s vehicle” in an attempt to stop them, damaging the windshield in the process.

Both the alleged shoplifter and the person who reportedly jumped on their vehicle were gone when officers arrived, however. When asked if the witness would be responsible for damaging the windshield, officers said they could not charge anyone unless the victim comes forward and reports the incident. Officers said at the time that they did not know what items had been taken from the store.   [Source: Ukiah Daily Journal]

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