Breaking News in the Industry: January 25, 2018

Ten burglars stole $500K in luxury items from California store

San Diego police say 10 burglars pried open a door at the Hermès store in Fashion Valley in the predawn hours early Saturday and made off with $500,000 worth of luxury goods before driving off. The group arrived at the mall, off Friars Road, shortly after 4:15 .a.m. in three vehicles sporting paper license plates. They used a pry bar to open the front door of the store and hurriedly grabbed purses, jewelry and clothing, said police investigations Lt. Dan Smyth. They were in the store for only two minutes before they ran back to their parked cars — a white Chevy Suburban and two blue sedans — and drove off. “It was a large number of high ticket items. Ten males went inside and grabbed everything they could grab,” he said. All the suspects were wearing hooded sweatshirts and gloves and their faces were covered with masks or bandannas. Police say they are looking into whether the theft is related to a statewide series involving high-end department stories, including a March 2017 burglary at the Fashion Valley in Neiman Marcus. In that case, a large group of males “swarmed the store” after breaking through glass doors, Smyth said. The group mostly took purses, with $100,000 to $120,000 worth of merchandise being taken. Smyth said they are trying to obtain surveillance footage from the Hermès store. “We are working with their security system there and sometimes it is not all free-flowing because of technical difficulties,” he said. Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call police at (619) 692-4800 or the Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. [Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Woman arrested for shoplifting twice in two days, blames diabetes

A Louisiana woman who was arrested twice in the same weekend for shoplifting told police she stole a large quantity of food because she is diabetic. Forty-two-year-old Amy Stevens was caught on surveillance footage stuffing two packs of ground meat, one pack of ribs, and one pack of frozen fish into her purse at a grocery store. Thibodaux Police Department officers tracked Stevens down at her Fern Street home on January 20 and arrested her for the theft. On January 21, a manager of a grocery store attempted to stop Stevens before she could leave the store with food concealed under her jacket. A struggle ensued, and Stevens dropped four packs of steaks on the ground after she elbowed the manager in the face, according to the TPD. She ran out of the store without the steaks, and she also left behind her purse, which contained her identification. Officers caught up to Stevens later that same day and placed her under arrest again. Stevens told investigators that she stole the food because she is diabetic, according to the TPD. She was booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center for theft and is currently being held on a $1,000 bond.  [Source: WGNO News]

Four “Paper Team” crew members charged in brazen shopping center robberies [Viral Video]

They called themselves the “Paper Team” crew and posted photos and videos on Facebook and YouTube of thousands of dollars of electronics and clothing stolen from stores throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Charges were filed Tuesday against four Milwaukee men accused of stealing more than $70,000 in merchandise, mostly cellphones, by brazenly walking into stores, cutting the phones from security cables and then fleeing in stolen vehicles. In some crimes, the men punched and hit store employees who tried to stop them stealing items and in one case cut the hand of an employee with a knife used to sever security cables connected to iPhones. Charged with multiple felony retail theft, robbery and bail jumping counts were Charles L. Porter, 24, known as “Young Yellow” and “Yellow Boy;” Kendall J. Strickland, 24; Tyron Richardson, 17, known as “Young Bull” and “Tater;” and Devonte Thomas, 17, known as “Lil Wook.” The gang of thieves hit stores ranging from Macy’s, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx and Sak’s Off 5th Avenue to Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and Best Buy in Glendale, Wauwatosa, Cudahy, Brown Deer, Greenfield, Oak Creek, Milwaukee, West Allis, Franklin, Fox Point, Brookfield and Germantown between November and January.

In a few instances police chased after the thieves traveling at high speeds in stolen vehicles. Two of the men were ultimately captured in chases. Thomas was apprehended on Jan. 10 while driving a stolen gray Mazda with Ohio license plates stolen from a Hertz rental center in Milwaukee, which he crashed into a curb and fire hydrant and then fled on foot.  Seven hours later Richardson was arrested the same way — while driving a black Volkswagen Passat stolen from the same Hertz rental store. He fled Milwaukee police while driving approximately 65 mph on city streets, blowing through 22 stop signs and four red lights before crashing into a vehicle on W. Olive St. and smacking into a home. Strickland and Porter are accused of continuing the grab and run thefts after Richardson and Thomas were arrested, cutting security cables of iPads, iPhones and Samsung phones at several stores. Richardson told authorities he stole the phones because he could sell each for a couple of hundred dollars. In other thefts, the men are accused of grabbing armfuls of clothing before running out of stores without paying for the merchandise. At Kohl’s in Glendale on Nov. 29 they filled shopping carts with Nike clothing before pushing the carts out of the store and getting into a stolen vehicle. The next day they grabbed numerous coats at TJ Maxx in Wauwatosa and put them into a cart before leaving the store. The four were seen in numerous surveillance videos inside and outside the stores and were seen on social media wearing stolen items or wearing the same clothing they wore during the thefts and robberies, according to the complaint. Arrest warrants have been issued for Porter and Strickland.  [Source: Journal-Sentinel]

Police bring charges against five

Investigators with the Richlands, Virginia, police department obtained indictments against five individuals during the Jan. 16 term of grand jury. The indictments served last week were for 22 separate charges the majority of which are felonies.  Brian Russell Maggard is charged with credit card theft, credit card fraud and receiving goods from credit card fraud.  Joseph Adam Marshall was indicted for conspiracy, credit card theft, credit card fraud, and receiving goods from credit card fraud. Crystal Gayle Kegley also known as Crystal Gayle Miller was indicted for conspiracy, credit card theft, credit card fraud, and receiving goods from credit card fraud.  Tina Louise Reynolds was indicted on charges of credit card theft, credit card fraud and receiving goods from credit card fraud. Indictments were obtained against Brian Keith Mustard for DUI – 3rd Conviction w/i 5 Years, driving with a suspended license, after a DWI conviction, refusal of blood test, third refusal of blood\breath test within 10 years, unlawfully attempting to purchase a firearm while under a protective order, concealed weapon  and violating a protective order.  An indictment was also handed down against James Ivan Odum for possession of a firearm while under a protective order.  [Source: SWVA News]

Retailers are so wary of fraud they’re rejecting real customers

Retailers are so worried about fraudulent purchases online, many say they’re rejecting legitimate transactions out of fear that they may be fake. Sixty-seven percent of retailers have online security measures that are quick to cancel any transaction that raises suspicion, according to a survey by Experian, a global information-services company. When gauging all businesses — a group that also includes banks and telecommunications companies — that figure rises to 71 percent. The concerns are causing companies to leave money on the table, as they go to ever-greater lengths to prevent hacking attacks and internet security breaches.Companies have a strong incentive to err on the side of caution: Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. plummeted last year after it disclosed a data breach, while the news that hackers stole the personal information of millions from Equifax Inc. sparked a class action lawsuit and outrage across the U.S.

“There is no silver bullet when it comes to stopping fraud,” said Kathleen Peters, senior vice president of global fraud and identity at Experian. “Retailers really have to find this way to show consumers that they’re protecting them and balance that with an online experience that’s not too heavy-handed.” While only 5 percent of data breach incidents involve the retail sector, according to a Verizon report last year, the incidents are highly visible since they generally involve well-known brands. At the same time, instances of fraud seem to be on the rise: 63 percent of businesses told Experian their losses from fraud in the last 12 months were the same or higher than a year earlier. The study was based on interviews with 5,500 consumers and 500 business executives in 11 world markets. Companies are contending with criminals who are becoming more organized and creative in the ways they impersonate legitimate customers online, Peters said. The best way to counter this is to develop technology that lets them better identify legitimate customers. Creating layered security that protects customers without making transactions more cumbersome is still no easy task, she said. “They’re in this position because people are moving online quickly and the retail experience is changing,” she said.  [Source: Bloomberg]

Canada Goose targets counterfeiters

Canada Goose, the luxury winter coat company, is attempting to crack down on counterfeiters that are cutting into its market. The Toronto-based manufacturer has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago, aimed at Chinese counterfeiters that sell fake Canada Goose goods across hundreds of unauthorized websites. It remains to be seen how effective the crackdown will be. “It’s really difficult. The police do it, the federal authorities will go after them, but it’s really difficult because they pop up and they go away pretty quickly,” Steve Bernas of the Better Business Bureau says. Demand for genuine Canada Goose attire is high at Wicker Park’s Mildblend shop. “Michael Jordan shoes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, where people are always replicating that, and it seems like Canada Goose is taking the top seat as the thing to be replicated,” Matthew Kerr says. Some tips to avoid being fooled: Look for the hologram polar bear label sewn in the inside; counterfeit fur looks scraggly, tangled and sometimes dirty. On the trademark label, look for bigger leaves as an indicator of fraud and misspelled words. Canada Goose licensed retailers are listed on the company’s website. [Source: CBS Chicago News]

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