Mall hit by 7-women shoplifting ring, $9K stolen
Seven women working together stole more than $9,000 in clothes from Victoria’s Secret and two other stores at Cross Creek Mall, Fayetteville police said. The women went into the stores in August, filled their shopping bags and left without paying, warrants say. The group stole from Lids by Locker Room on Aug. 17, followed by Justice 10 days later. They stole from Victoria’s Secret on Aug. 30, police said. Four of the women are from Robeson County. Warrants for their arrest say they’ll be charged with organized retail theft, possessing stolen property and conspiracy. They are believed to have stolen the property to resell it, said Officer Asia Cannon, a police spokeswoman.
Police identified them as Lumberton residents Twanda Elaine Faulk, 26; Rosheka Lenice Wooldridge, 20, and Raven Alexis Ingram, 24. The fourth is Jasmine Latasha McRae, 30, Three other women from Fayetteville are wanted on charges of larceny, possessing stolen property and conspiracy. They are Shekia Bianca McNeill, 27; Lena Genelda McNatt, 40, and Lequilla Lashanda McNeill. 41, Police said the women should turn themselves in. To share information with police, call Detective J. Casady at 910.748.8011 or Crimestoppers at 910-483.TIPS (8477). [Source: The Fayetteville Observer]
Shoplifters snagging liquid kratom from shelves
Thieves have been hitting convenience stores in Martin County, Florida, authorities said, stealing a herbal supplement connected with a series of overdose deaths. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is trying to find a man and a woman who stole liquid kratom from three stores during the last several days. Friday, detectives released surveillance photos of the suspects from a Thursday morning theft. The couple was driving a late model four-door car, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Kratom is a legal supplement that at low doses causes a stimulant effect. At higher doses, it causes an opioid-like effect, which can produce an intense euphoric state and has led to a steady growth in abuse worldwide, experts said. But it can also cause seizures, decreased breathing and, at times, death. The Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration warn against its use. For the first five months of this year, eight overdose deaths were linked to the herb on the Treasure Coast, including an inmate at the Indian River County Jail. Last year, nine deaths were linked to kratom. Anyone with information about the shoplifting, call the Martin County Sheriff’s Office at 772.220.7060. [Source: TC Palm]
Department stores’ fortunes rise as they shun inventory
Department store retailers in recent quarters have been able to improve both their top-line sales and margins through better management of their inventory, as well as creating a seamless shopping experience for customers, according to a recent Moody’s report. Analysts led by Christina Boni pointed to Kohl’s fourth straight quarter of comparable sales increases, and also strong sales performances at Macy’s and Nordstrom in recent quarters as evidence of sector improvement. During the same period, inventory levels at the stronger department stores have declined. But the trend is not universal among department stores. Boni described J.C. Penney, which Moody’s downgraded after its Q2 earnings release, as “a significant laggard on inventory management.” [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]
Cashier was hired to stop employee theft; steals over $35K in lotto tickets and merchandise
A c-store cashier in San Antonio, Texas, is accused of stealing more than $35,000 worth of lotto tickets, food, drinks and merchandise from the Step N Go where he worked. David Delagarza, 59, is charged with third-degree felony theft after police said the store’s video surveillance caught him scanning lotto ticket barcodes and keeping the winning scratch off tickets while throwing away the losers. Police said Delagarza didn’t pay for any of the tickets and that he was also captured taking food, drinks and merchandise without paying.
Ironically, Delagarza was hired out of concerns of other employees’ thefts. The owner told KSAT over the phone that Delagarza had been one of her salesmen, and she thought she could trust him. According to the arrest affidavit, Delagarza was hired in December 2017. In March, money loss was “getting out of hand,” and money had to be borrowed to pay for bills. When Delagarza was told of the money problems in May, police said, he told the owner to take out loans or he could provide one. His comments made the owner suspicious, police said, and after checking the video surveillance, it was discovered that Delagarza had been taking the tickets and other goods. Delagaraza said all the money from the tickets was gone when he was confronted, according to the affidavit. He also allegedly forked over $3,800 and asked that the charges be dropped. [Source: KSAT12 News]
Suspect charged in statewide ‘fraud ring’ targeting the elderly
An 18-year-old Tampa woman was arrested Wednesday after she was accused of defrauding at least eight elderly victims of more than $200,000. According to The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), an investigation revealed that between March and September 2017, Azalea Brown stole account and personal information of victims between the ages of 65 and 92 and contacted credit card companies as the actual account holders. Using the information, Brown got replacement credit cards or new cards mailed out, which were used to purchase merchandise and gift cards throughout the state.
According to Mark Brutnell, the agent in charge of the investigation, Brown was working with Junior Jean-Noel, 21, of Brandon. Jean-Noel pleaded guilty to federal charges relating to the investigation in February and was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison. Brutnell said it was a filing decision by the U.S. Attorney at the time to only charge Jean-Noel. However, FDLE brought the case to the Office of Statewide Prosecution, which decided to file charges against Brown. FDLE estimated the pair racked up more than $200,000 in fraudulent charges, as well as more than $31,000 in attempted charges. “Once they get those cards, it’s off to the races,” Brutnell said.
FDLE said the stolen information was used to make transactions across the state, including Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando, Alachua, Sumter, Lake, Orange and Marion counties. Brown is currently being held in Hillsborough County Jail in lieu of $51,000 bail. According to Hillsborough County Jail records, Brown is facing at least eight charges ranging from fraudulent use of identification of someone 60 years and older to organized scheme to defraud and more. She was arrested on warrants originating in Polk County. Brutnell said senior citizens are particularly susceptible to these crimes and advised people should safeguard their information. He said shredding mail and being wary of those asking for social security or account passwords helps. “It doesn’t take much for fraudsters these days,” he said. “If they take an inch, they can get a mile.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Amazon orders 20K vans for last-mile delivery program
Amazon ordered 20,000 vans from Mercedes-Benz as part of a last-mile initiative announced in June, which will recruit entrepreneurs and small businesses to deliver packages for the e-commerce giant. Amazon originally anticipated it would order 4,500 vans. Since announcing the delivery program, Amazon has received 10,000 applicants to deliver packages, The Seattle Times reported. “Thanks to the tremendous response … we are excited to increase our original order of branded Sprinter vans to 20,000 vehicles,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in a press release. The van order coincides with Mercedes-Benz Vans opening a new Sprinter plant in Charleston, South Carolina. [Source: SupplyChainDIVE]