Breaking News in the Industry: April 9, 2018

Two suspects nabbed in million dollar jewelry store burglary

An extensive, multi-jurisdictional police investigation into a million dollar jewelry store theft in New Rochelle, New York, has led to the arrest of two men, according to police investigators. New Rochelle Police Capt. Robert Gazzola announced on Friday morning that early on Thursday, April 5, members of the New Rochelle Police Department, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Investigators Office, the Bergen County, N.J. Prosecutor’s Office and the Port Chester Police Department executed search warrants at various locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan in connection to the Feb. 5 burglary of New Rochelle Coin & Jewelry on Division Street, leading to the arrests of Brooklyn residents Kevin Lyde and Kevin Young, both 55. Gazzolla said that during the execution of the search warrants, “several items of evidentiary value were located,” and the two men were taken into custody. Each was subsequently charged with first-degree grand larceny and burglary, both felonies.

Officers were dispatched to New Rochelle Coin & Jewelry shortly before 9 a.m. on Feb 2, when the owner opened for the day and found that “the premise was ransacked and numerous pieces of jewelry were missing.” It was later determined that the suspects allegedly accessed the building through the roof.  “These arrests are the culmination of an extensive, month’s long investigation into this and similar burglaries in other communities believed to have been committed by these individuals,” Gazzolla stated. “The professionalism and cooperation among the above-mentioned department’s led to the successful conclusion of this case.” Both men have been booked and are currently being held pending arraignment. Police officials said that the burglary investigation remains open, as a third suspect still has not been located. “These arrests are the culmination of an important multi-jurisdictional effort involving our criminal investigators, the New Rochelle Police Department, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Port Chester Police Department,” Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. said in a statement. “We want to thank all of our partners for this seamless collaboration to bring this two-state burglary spree to an end.” [Source: Mount Pleasant Daily Voice]

Alleged thefts end in high-speed chase with couple’s child in car

A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, couple has been arrested after they allegedly struck an officer attempting to arrest them and led a chase after thefts from a Lowes store. Ray, 34, and Cathrine Miestchovich, 32, were both arrested after the car they were fleeing the store in, along with their young child, became disabled. The incident began Thursday when Ray Miestchovich was spotted in the Lowes Home Improvement location at 1777 Millerville Road and identified as a suspect in previous thefts from the same location. He eventually wheeled a cart out of the store filled with $2,821 worth of merchandise without paying, according to booking documents. As he was headed to his truck in the parking lot, an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy asked him to stop. Ray Miestchovich then began running to his truck, where he was met by the deputy. The deputy, in a clearly marked vest, yelled “stop, you’re under arrest,” according to booking documents. Miestchovich put the truck into drive as the officer attempted to stop him. His wife, Cathrine, struck the deputy in the arm as her husband drove away and the officer was also struck by the vehicle’s open door. Ray Miestchovich proceeded to flee in the truck, at times exceeding the speed limit in the area by more than 25 mph and driving on the wrong side of the road, according to booking documents. It’s unclear how the truck became disabled, or if the responding officer was hurt when he was struck by the truck. Ray Miestchovich was booked on counts of theft, flight from an officer, aggravated assault of a motor vehicle upon a peace officer and battery of an officer. Cathrine Miestchovich was booked on counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and battery of a police officer.  [Source: The Advocate]

Employee accused of fleecing grocery store

A former Hudson, Wisconsin, grocery store employee pocketed more than $9,000 in transactions, according to charges filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Prosecutors allege 50-year-old Marty J. Borash, who managed the Family Fresh’s Caribou Coffee stand, would load up gift cards and then use those cards to pay for customer transactions. Borash kept the cash customers would hand her and did so for more than two years, according to a criminal complaint. The Hastings woman made her initial court appearance March 27 on one count of felony theft. St. Croix County Judge Scott Needham released her on a signature bond in advance of an April 10 preliminary hearing. According to the complaint, Hudson police were called in June 2017 to the store, where a parent-company investigator reported an internal theft. Officers learned she had just been fired. The company reported a $13,580 loss, though Borash said she wasn’t responsible for the full amount. She confessed to stealing $9,000 since June 2015, the investigator told police. Family Fresh employees work the in-store stand at Caribou Coffee, which contracts with the grocer. Transaction programs used by Caribou weren’t initially compatible with the grocer’s cash-auditing programs. Borash, who had worked for Family Fresh since 2008, was questioned after company officials identified a variance in a gift card audit. The complaint notes a 2007 St. Croix County misdemeanor theft charge against Borash had been dismissed.  [Source: RiverTowns.net]

Overnight police chase ends with man arrested, 2 injured

An Ocean Springs man is in custody after leading police on a chase through Biloxi, Mississippi, and into Jackson County. Justin Michael Rhodes, 26, is charged with felony eluding. Authorities say the chase began on Hwy. 90 in Biloxi when an officer attempted to stop Rhodes for misdemeanor traffic violations. Rhodes refused to stop, driving into Ocean Springs and heading north on. The pursuit came to an end on Interstate 10 near the Cedar Lake exit when D’Iberville Police used spike strips to flatten the tires on Rhodes’ vehicle. The vehicle went off the road and flipped as it entered a wooded area located on the north side of the interstate. Rhodes was able to get out of the vehicle and tried to run away from the scene, leaving his two passengers still in the car. The passengers both received minor injuries in the crash and were taken to the hospital by ambulance to be treated. Rhodes was located in the area a few hours after the chase ended when a witness saw him leave the wooded area and try to enter a business. A $100,000 bond was set for Rhodes and he was taken to Harrison County Jail. Police say he was wanted on multiple charges from previous incidents in Harrison County, including one felony shoplifting charge and several misdemeanor shoplifting charges in Biloxi. [Source: WLOX News]

Man found guilty of robbing home improvement store

A Solano County jury on Friday found a Fairfield, California, man guilty of robbery involving the use of force or fear in connection with the Jan. 20 theft of more than $1,000 worth of items from the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Vallejo. The verdict against Lance B.H. Johnson came in the afternoon, just a few hours after the jury of seven men and five women received the case from Superior Court Judge Peter B. Foor. When sentenced at 8:30 a.m. May 4, Johnson, who is in his mid-30s and faced several other counts besides robbery, could receive 16 months to three years in prison for the robbery verdict alone. The jury also found him guilty of driving a stolen vehicle and possessing burglar’s tools. At the same time, the jury, which heard testimony and viewed evidence over three days, found true an enhancement for personal use of a deadly weapon, a large hunting-type knife; and, additionally, found that Johnson was out on bail at the time he committed the offenses. Fairfield defense attorney Vincent Maher did not respond to a request for comment after the robbery verdict, and Deputy District Attorney Andrew Wood could not be reached.

During closing arguments Friday morning, Johnson, wearing a light blue shirt and tie over gray pants, listened to Wood, who used a slide presentation detailing the charges and the chronology of events, recount witness testimony and restate some facts related to the robbery. One was that Johnson had in the front pocket of his pants the large hunting knife, which Wood showed the jurors, saying the handle and several inches of the shiny knife blade were visible when Johnson entered the Lowe’s store. While at Lowe’s, Johnson, visible in surveillance video, Wood recalled, placed several high-priced items on a flatbed cart and headed in the direction of the garden area of the store. After ducking behind a pot in the garden area, he drew the attention of a female Lowe’s employee, who asked him if he needed assistance. At that time, Johnson said, in a tone Wood suggested was somewhat threatening, “Does it look like I need help?” and appeared to make sure the employee saw the knife in his pocket. Johnson then left the store, walking quickly and gaining speed as he pushed the cart into the parking lot, the surveillance video revealed, without paying for the merchandise. Vallejo police officers responded to Lowe’s to investigate the crime. Eventually, Johnson was positively identified, leading to his arrest the next day.  [Source: The Reporter]

Another retailer says it was hit by same data breach as Sears and Delta

Best Buy said on Friday that some of its customers’ credit card information may have been compromised in a data breach that also hit Sears and Delta Air Lines.
All three companies use a third-party firm, called [24]7.ai, to provide online and mobile chat services for customers. Best Buy said in a blog post that [24]7.ai told the company that an “illegal intrusion” occurred between September 27 and October 12, 2017. “As best we can tell, only a small fraction of our overall online customer population could have been caught up in this [24]7.ai incident, whether or not they used the chat function,” the post said. Best Buy says it was hit in the same time period when Sears Holdings and Delta Air Lines customer data was exposed in a cyberattack. Sears and Delta were the first to say they were impacted. The companies said Thursday that some of their customers’ payment information might have been compromised during online chat support. Sears said that data from “less than 100,000” customers might have been exposed, but Sears-branded credit cards were not affected. Delta didn’t say how many people were affected. [24]7.ai said, in a statement after the Sears and Delta cyberattack was revealed, that it was “confident that the platform is secure.”   [Source: The Reporter]

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