Breaking News in the Industry: December 19, 2018

Outlet employee accused of stealing designer goods valued at $50,000

An employee at the Gucci outlet store in Secaucus, New Jersey, has been charged with stealing more than $50,000 in wallet, scarves and handbags from the store, Secaucus police said Monday. Jerry Almazan, 40, of Jersey City, was charged with theft after his arrest on December 15, Secaucus police Capt. Dennis Miller said.

The thefts had occurred between October and December 12, Miller said. But at some point the loss prevention team became aware of the thefts and caught Almazan on surveillance video, Miller said. Secaucus police responded to the store on December 15 and arrested Almazan, who was served his complaint summons and was released from custody. He is due in Hudson County Superior Court to answer to the charge on January. 2. Officials with the Gucci store in Secaucus could not be reached. [Source: NJ.com]

Faster fast food service with facial recognition

South Florida-based BurgerFi is betting you like to be recognized.“Who doesn’t love the convenience of walking into their favorite restaurant, where they’re recognized immediately and asked if they want the usual?” said Mariah Kulkin, a company marketing representative. Turns out there’s an app for that.

Pioneered for law enforcement and border security uses, facial recognition applications are beginning to enter shopping and dining spaces, helping companies use your purchasing histories to customize your customer service experiences. The BurgerFi chain has installed touchscreen ordering kiosks with facial recognition capabilities at 22 of 108 locations, including in Boca Raton, Doral, Jupiter, Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach. It started rolling out the technology about two and a half years ago.

The company says facial recognition can help speed up orders when customers who previously allowed their photos to be taken at an ordering kiosk make a return visit. Actual photos are not stored in the company’s system, he said. “Instead we store their facial geometry for the purpose of looking up previous orders.” Also called biometrics, facial geometry measures the unique characteristics of individuals, shapes of noses, distances between eyes, widths of mouths, lengths of ears, and stores those measurements as data that can later be matched, just like fingerprints.   [Source: The Virginian-Pilot]

Hundreds at risk due to card skimmers found

Twelve credit card skimmers have been found at gas pumps in seven different Florida locations across Pasco County, and the sheriff’s office says there could be hundreds of potential fraud victims. The devices were located during a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office operation targeting scam artists who prey on local drivers. The sheriff’s office says some of those skimmers were equipped with Bluetooth technology, allowing the suspects to get victims’ credit card information right away.

With no arrests and little information about how many people are impacted, the sheriff’s office is working to find the people responsible, but they are facing some challenges. “A lot of these gas stations do not check their pumps on a daily basis. Unfortunately, some check them monthly. Some check them quarterly,” said Detective Shawn Rozankowski with the Pasco Economic Crimes Unit. The Pasco County sheriff says these skimming devices are almost impossible to detect because they’re on the inside of the machines.   [Source: WTSP10 News]

ORC ring busted after chase ends in crash

Police have arrested three suspects in an alleged crime ring targeting retail stores in Wrentham, Massachusetts, over the weekend. Wrentham police said two women and a man from New Haven, Connecticut, were arrested Saturday night after police found them huddling together under a deck.

Officers had been conducting surveillance at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets when they saw the suspects enter their car around 7:30 p.m. and drive toward the exit, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. An officer in a Wrentham police cruiser with flashing lights and siren activated tried to block the car. Instead, the driver swerved around the cruiser and out onto Rt. 1A toward Plainville, but officers broke off the pursuit in the interest of safety. Police said the car’s occupants started to throw bags of merchandise out of the windows, and police stopped to retrieve them.

Plainville police contacted Wrentham moments later, saying the car had just crashed in the town center, knocking down a traffic signal and hitting a building. The car’s occupants jumped out of the car and ran behind a nearby church, where police from both towns swiftly found them. Maria Denise Perez, 29, Erika Lorenzana, 40, and Hector Bauza-Mercado, 40, are now charged with shoplifting, receiving stolen property, possession of a magnet device to defeat inventory control, possession of a “booster bag,” and trespassing.   [Source: WPRI12 Eyewitness News]

The family that shoplifts together gets arrested together

Holiday shopping is often a family affair. Just ask Clemmie Hutchins who was shopping with her son near Triangle Town Center on Monday. “It’s family time that you enjoy the season and get out and meet other people and have fun and smile,” she said.

But police in Raleigh, North Carolina, said one family made shoplifting a family affair… and a profitable one. On Saturday, police served warrants on five females at Triangle Town Center’s Belk store. Police arrested 42-year-old Karen Massenburg, 16-year-old Jalia Massenburg, and two 21-year-olds, Keshauna Massenburg and Kiera Massenburg. All four list the same address in Nash County near the town of Whitakers. Police said it’s not clear how they are related.

A fifth female, 39-year-old Tamika Alston of Rocky Mount, was also charged. Each faces multiple charges, but they all have one charge in common… organized retail theft. According to the court documents, police believe the women stole almost $2,000 worth of merchandise from Belk stores in Raleigh and Roanoke Rapids. Police believe they planned to sell the stolen items for cash.   [Source: ABC7 News]

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