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Breaking News in the Industry: September 6, 2018

Employee admits to stealing more than $11,000

A Jefferson County grand jury in Texas indicted one Port Arthur woman for stealing over $11,000 from her place of work. Port Arthur Police were called out to the Walmart Supercenter located on Twin City Highway in reference to a possible internal theft. When officers arrived they were met with an Asset Protection Associate who said they had launched their investigation and found that Cynthia Ann Mosley, 60, had been stealing money from the store.

Mosley was employed by Walmart Supercenter as a cashier and often handled the money for various reasons, and she admitted to stealing almost $11,000 in just the month of June. Police say that the theft had been occurring since February and most of it had been caught on camera. She was arrested and charged with theft, a first-degree felony, and was indicted in the 252nd District Court of Jefferson County for stealing more than $2,500 but less than $30,000.  [Source: 12News Now]

Two accused of using pepper spray while shoplifting ID’d; charged with robbery

Two Alabama women who police say used pepper spray on a store asset protection associate who tried to stop them from leaving with items for which they didn’t pay have now been identified and arrested. Authorities on Wednesday identified the suspects as Khadijah Greenwood, 23, and Santoria Quinn, 21. Both are charged with second-degree robbery.

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The incident happened about 10:38 a.m. Aug. 6 at a store in the 2300 block of Eastern Boulevard. The females passed the last point of sale of the store without paying for merchandise, said Crime Stoppers of Central Alabama Executive Director Tony A. Garrett. As they were confronted by an AP associate of the store, the females used pepper spray on the employee and fled the business on foot. Greenwood was arrested Aug. 28 and released from the Montgomery County Detention Center the following day after posting $30,000 bond. Efforts to obtain the arrest date for Quinn weren’t immediately successful.   [Source: News]

Amazon adds a third ‘Go’ store in Seattle

Amazon has opened its third Amazon Go store in Seattle in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood in a building that also contains Amazon offices, just days after opening the second location for its cashier-less convenience store concept, according to the Seattle Times.
 The third store location is listed on Amazon’s website as 300 Boren Ave. N. in the e-commerce giant’s home market. That spot is about 1.5 miles from the second Amazon Go store, which opened last week at 920 5th Ave., and less than one mile from the first Amazon Go store at 2131 7th Ave.
 The newest store reportedly is the largest Amazon Go location yet, at about 2,100 square feet, according to the Seattle Times story.    [Source: RetailDIVE]

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Energy drinks, vacuums top shoplifters’ hit list

If theft trends reflect the personal preferences of the modern shoplifter, police should be looking for a highly caffeinated, well-shaven culprit with shiny white teeth and clean carpets possibly looking to kick a cigarette habit. Red Bull energy drinks, Crest whitening strips, Nicorette gum and Dyson vacuum cleaners are making their way up on the list of most sought-after items to snag and turn over for a quick profit, police and retail officials say.

The common thread between Red Bull and Dyson vacuum cleaners may not seem very obvious to the average shopper. Yet they are among very specific, small and high-value items for which there is a demand on the black market, police and retail officials report. From baby formula to teeth whitening strips to razors, thieves are swiping these household items, reselling them and costing retailers — and consumers — billions, national retail loss prevention experts say.

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A recent study by the National Retail Federation showed a spike in thefts reported by national retailers in 2017, with the average loss totaling $726,000 per $1 billion in sales — up from $700,000 in 2016.The average cost per shoplifting incident doubled in 2017 to $798.48. Overall, 67 percent of retailers surveyed reported an increase in thefts in 2017.

“When retail crime is growing, consumers suffer,” said Robert Moraca, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation (NRF). “The bottom line is they will pay higher prices for products, since loses have to be built into the pricing structure.” Whether a shoplifter is looking to turn a profit or feed a drug habit, many are becoming “boosters” that feed into organized retail crime groups with very specific demands for products that are easy to sell and difficult to track, such as designer clothing, high-end handbags and household items — such as laundry detergent or small electronics — that are “high in value and easy to take,” experts said.

They then “fence” the stolen goods at pawn shops, kiosks, vans on the street and online auction sites, Moraca said. Some return the goods to the retailers they were stolen from in a form of “return fraud.” Moraca said even without receipts, thieves can get gift cards which can be sold for cash. According to the NRF, these are the top ten most shoplifted items:

  • Designer Clothes
  • Teeth-whitening strips
  • Laundry detergent
  • Jeans
  • Infant formula
  • High-end liquor
  • Razors
  • Jewelry
  • Cigarettes
  • Handbags

[Source: Burlington County Times]

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Two charged with theft at department store

Two people were arrested for theft at the Belk Department store after one of them received a refund for an item they had not bought, police said. Jody Len Brant, 48, and Sandra Cresong Tumbleston, 50, both of Lake Placid,  Florida, were seen entering the Belk Department Store on Wednesday with no merchandise on their persons, a probable cause affidavit said. The store’s loss prevention associate told a Tallahassee Police Department investigator that Tumbleston selected a bed comforter on the second floor and then met Brant on the first floor.

Brant and Tumbleston then went to the second floor to a register. There Tumbleston placed the unpaid bed comforter on the counter and requested to return it without a receipt, the court document said. Brandt handed the Belk employee his identification for the return. After the Belk employee collected Brant’s information and handed Tumbleston a gift card for $107.50, the loss prevention associate stopped Brant and Tumbleston and escorted them back to the loss prevention office.

Officers on scene found Tumbleston’s vehicle and saw possible stolen property from Belk in plain sight. Searching the vehicle the next day, an investigator recovered the property. Then, that day, Tumbleston and Brant were charged with dealing in stolen property. Both people remained in the Leon County Detention Center on Monday. Brant had a $5,750 bond. Tumbleston, who is wanted on a Polk County warrant for failure to appear, had a listed bond of $750.   [Source: WTXL27 News]

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