Breaking News in the Industry: February 7, 2019

Dishonest employee gets probation in lieu of jail time

A former Best Buy employee who stole more than $14,000 in items from the store was sentenced Monday to four years of probation with a 30-day jail sentence. Brandon Hunt, 30, was able to pay restitution to the store with funds raised by his family. The prosecutor cited the restitution when recommending Hunt not be sentenced to prison.

The manager at Best Buy called police in May reporting inventory reviews showed several items were missing. Hunt admitted to stealing the items that had been discovered missing, including iPhones, iPads, laptops and smartwatches.

Hunt told District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. he stole the items because his family was struggling financially. He began with phone chargers before escalating to more expensive items, including two laptops that cost $1,999.99 each. Hunt was charged with two counts of grand theft, one of which was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.  [Source: Post Register]

Armed robber found guilty after withdrawing no contest plea

A former Wrightstown, Pennsylvania, man was found guilty of robbing a Tullytown store last week. Kyle Marcel Page, 33, was found guilty by a jury of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, retail theft, possession of an instrument of crime,and possession of a weapon, false imprisonment, and related offenses. His sentencing is set for spring. Page had pleaded no contest in the Tullytown robbery case in 2017 but withdrew his plea and requested a new trial.The 33 year old was found to be behind the February 2017 robbery of the MetroPCS at the Levittown Town Center.

Police said that he walked into the store and took iPhones and cash after pulling a semi-automatic handgun during the robbery. Two employees and customers were forced into the back room. A witnesses chased Page but lost him. He was later arrested by police. Previous to the 2017 robbery, Page had a criminal record and pleaded guilty in 2015 to lying during the murder trial of Ckaron Handy, who was convicted of killing 30-year-old Bristol Township union machinist Kevin Battista in 2006. At the time, authorities said Page lied to a grand jury investigating the murder twice in 2009 and before District Judge Joanne Kline during Handy’s preliminary hearing in 2013.   [Source: Levittown Now]

NRF says retail sales to top $3.8 trillion

US retail sales are expected to rise between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion in 2019, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said on Tuesday, citing high consumer confidence, low unemployment and rising wages.

Preliminary estimates show retail sales grew 4.6 percent in 2018 to $3.68 trillion, exceeding the retail industry group’s forecast for growth of at least 4.5 percent, the NRF said. The 2018 results are based on Commerce Department data up through November but include NRF estimates for December, as the agency was closed during the recent government shutdown and has not yet released December figures.

“More people are working, they’re making more money, their taxes are lower and their confidence remains high,” NRF President and Chief Executive Matthew Shay said in a statement. In 2018, a healthy economy and rising wages gave consumers the confidence to shop and splash out on retailers’ annual bargains during the holiday season. “The biggest priority is to ensure that our economy continues to grow and to avoid self-inflicted wounds. It’s time for artificial problems like trade wars and shutdowns to end, and to focus on prosperity not politics,” Shay added.   [Source: REUTERS]

Shoplifting suspect body slammed security officer

A 33-year-old Texas man body slammed a female loss prevention associate after she caught him shoplifting, according to San Antonio police. Michael Wanaker was arrested Saturday on suspicion of robbery, jail records show.   Wanaker was at a Macy’s store in Ingram Park Mall on Thursday when he put merchandise inside a bag and tried to walk out of the store, according to his arrest affidavit.

The LP associate tried to stop him and retrieve the merchandise but Wanaker slammed the woman to the ground before fleeing in a silver Honda with the stolen items, police said. Investigators discovered Wanaker had also been caught shoplifting at another Macy’s store at Rolling Oaks Mall, authorities said. In that incident his license plate information was obtained, which helped police identify Wanaker as the suspect, according to the affidavit. Wanaker’s bail was set at $10,000, according to jail records.   [Source: mySA]

Store manager accepts plea deal for theft scheme

The manager of an Illinois convenience store has pleaded guilty to theft charges. In Adams County Circuit Court Tuesday, 51-year-old Machelle Goehl pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $10,000. According to the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office, officials with Ayerco found a bookkeeping issue with Illinois Lottery ticket sales at their station at 18th and Broadway where Goehl was manager in 2016 and 2017. Goehl is alleged to have taken lottery scratcher tickets without paying for them, then manipulating the books to hide the theft. A plea deal promised Goehl would be sentenced to probation and restitution. Sentencing is set for March 14th.   [Source: KHMO News]

Suspect arrested for pulling knife, fleeing, then crashing

A man was arrested Tuesday after leading local law enforcement on a vehicle pursuit through the Hamilton Place mall area after pulling a knife on Target asset protection members. Mitchell Sullivan, 47, allegedly stole items from a Tennessee  Target store. AP members tried to stop him, but Sullivan pulled a knife and started waving it in their faces, saying, “I got my knife now, m——,” according to court records.

He fled the scene in a white Ford Focus and police found him in the parking lot of Panera Bread, located just across from Target, court records show. An officer tried to approach Sullivan, but he accelerated his vehicle in an attempt to hit the officer. He fled the scene again. At that point, Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies joined the chase, weaving through traffic. Sullivan was clocked going 80 mph in a 40 mph zone before crashing into two vehicles trying to cross Lee Highway, court records state. The two victims sustained minor injuries and were taken to a local hospital for treatment.   [Source: Times Free Press]

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