Breaking News in the Industry: July 12, 2018

Thieves make off with $27K of tech gadgets in another daring heist [Viral Video]

Crystal-clear surveillance video shows how a group of young men made off with a small fortune worth of Apple products.

 The four only needed mere seconds to steal 26 items totaling $27,000 Saturday morning at the Fresno, California, Apple Store inside Fashion Fair Mall.

 Lt. Mark Hudson of the Fresno Police Department said the group took, “Various iPhones, the iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and 8, and even the new iPhone X was taken in this grand theft. “

Just as quickly as they arrived, the young men in hoodies wasted no time, ripping out the tethered electronics from display tables throughout the store as customers and Apple Store employees looked on.

One of the thieves, with an arm full of laptops, scurried past a group of frightened teenage girls.

 “One customer stood by the door to prevent them from leaving but was knocked out of the way,” said Hudson. 

According to police, the suspects never displayed any weapons.

 Investigators are reviewing the surveillance footage from inside the store to see who the young men are, and if the crime might be connected to a similar robbery in downtown San Luis Obispo last month.

 “There are other reports, of other places, other cities in California that have had these kinds of takeover thefts,” said Hudson. “So we are looking into (this crime) being connected to other crimes, at any other Apple Stores outside of Fresno.”    [Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News]

Two arrested in counterfeit currency scheme

Two people from California were arrested Monday after police said they were purchasing goods from businesses across the Salt Lake Valley using counterfeit currency and then returning the goods for real cash. Clinton Curry, 34, and Helena Joyce Lucky, 32, each of San Francisco, were booked into Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of forgery and possessing a forgery device, according to jail records. Both Curry and Lucky were arrested at a Home Depot parking lot after the store’s loss prevention associate called police, according to Cottonwood Heights officer Jeff Potter. Potter said Curry and Lucky had been at the store Sunday and purchased about $300 to $400 worth of tools using fake currency.

They then went to a Home Depot in Salt Lake City and returned the goods for real cash. A loss prevention associate at the store discovered that the money was fake and took a security camera screenshot of Curry and Lucky, Potter said. The LP associate then alerted other Home Depot stores across the Wasatch Front, according to Potter. The two returned to the store Monday and the loss prevention associate recognized them and alerted police. Potter said it appeared the two, identified as Curry and Lucky when they were arrested, had returned to the store to purchase more goods with fake currency. Police recovered $2,900 in cash and about $2,000 in fake currency after Curry and Lucky were arrested, Potter said.

He said the quality of the print job would have made it difficult for a cashier to notice a bill was fake at a quick glance. “It looked like it was printed maybe off a laser printer — some high-end printer,” Potter said. “The bills looked actually pretty good for what they were. If you just looked at them side by side, it was actually hard to tell. You actually had to pick up the money, feel it and take that half-second to look at it to be able to tell it was fake.”

Police also recovered recent receipts and items from a JCPenney, Designer Shoe Warehouse and Macy’s in the Salt Lake Valley, which they believe may have also been purchased with counterfeit cash, Potter said. He said additional counts might be added against Curry and Lucky as other agencies investigate possible fraud claims. Potter added he wouldn’t be surprised if the two had used fake currency on their way from California to Utah. “They rented a car and drove up from San Francisco,” Potter said. “There’s probably a slew of stores from here to San Francisco that’s got fake cash in it.” Neither Curry nor Lucky have any previous criminal history in Utah, according to court records.  [Source: KSL News]

Theft ring nabbed in $3,000 lingerie caper

Four Chilean nationals face charges in the theft of over $3,000 in lingerie from a Victoria’s Secret store in Thousand Oaks, California, officials said. The incident happened Thursday at The Oaks mall when the suspects walked into the store as couples, officials said. One couple distracted the clerks while the other couple put the lingerie into a shopping bag and walked out, authorities said. Rodrigo Gajardo, 32; Felipe Viveros, 24; Ursula Guerut, 29; and Anastassia Saavedra, 26, were arrested on Friday in connection with the theft, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

They were arrested at a motel in Mission Hills. Inside two rooms, deputies found stolen lingerie, hundreds of clothing security sensors and shopping bags lined with aluminum foil that authorities say is commonly used to thwart store security sensors. This isn’t the first such case. In February a mother-daughter duo dubbed “The Panty Bandits” were arrested after a months-long spree across California that netted them over $250,000. One of the stores the duo hit was the Thousand Oaks store.    [Source: NBC4 Los Angeles]

Four suspects arrested: Authorities find hundreds of fraud credit cards and ID’s

Four suspects were arrested in Rancho Cucamonga, California, after a search by authorities found hundreds of fraudulent credit cards and identifications, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The Rancho Cucamonga Police Departments Multiple Enforcement Team (MET) served a search warrant with assistance from detectives and patrol deputies in the 9200 block of Milliken Avenue.

Upon entry, deputies came in contact with three men and two women. Once the subjects were detained, a fourth man, Malachi Gittens, arrived at the location but fled when deputies attempted to make contact with him, the Sheriff’s Department said. Gittens was quickly found and taken into custody. During a search of the residence, investigators recovered an identity theft lab, the Sheriff’s Department said. The residence contained card readers, card label makers, two credit card embossers, hundreds of fraudulent credit cards, fraudulent identifications and about $11,000 in cash.

The four male suspects were then arrested and transported to West Valley Detention Center. Jamaw Chapman, Joseph Patrice, and Jody Petrus were booked on fraudulent and forgery charges. Gittens was booked for allegedly obstructing/resisting an officer. An outstanding suspect named Jonathan David Ortiz is a person of interest in this case. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call the We-tip Hotline at 800.78.CRIME (27463).   [Source: Fontana Herald News]

Manager fired after tackling gun theft suspect

The manager of Tallahassee’s Academy Sports was fired Tuesday after tackling a suspect accused of stealing a handgun last week. The suspect also allegedly threatened to shoot people. Dean Crouch, 32, was the store manager who stopped Jason White from leaving the store with a .40-caliber pistol from the firearms counter on June 29. “Academy has decided to, instead of treating him like the hero he is, they terminated his employment effective immediately because he put his hands on Mr. White,” Crouch’s attorney Ryan Hobbs said.

Just hours before he was taken into custody, White stole two handguns from Cash America Pawn, according to Tallahassee Police. White asked to look at the handgun at the firearms counter. He was handed the gun, then ran toward the front door. Crouch, who court records say observed the transaction at the counter, and another employee tackled and subdued White at the exit doors and recovered the gun, a stolen backpack, five boxes of ammunition and two magazines for the Glock.

White was taken into the store’s office while police were en route. It was there that he admitted to stealing the gun and threatened to shoot people with it. Court records indicate those threats, but do not mention threats to kill police officers as Crouch’s attorney claims. White, according to court records, said an unknown person was threatening him and his family and he wanted the gun to “kill him.” “He repeatedly said ‘I stole and I admit to it’ and ‘I will steal again when I get out of jail,’” officers wrote in their report.

Hobbs said his client is considering a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The way he sees it, Crouch may have saved lives by stopping White. “This is not something that happens for Mr. Crouch in his everyday life,” Hobbs said. “I think he was thinking there is a man running out of the store with a gun in his hand with his coworkers following from the firearm area screaming ‘Stop that man.’ Something had to be done and he was the one that was going to do it.”
Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said she could not comment on specific personnel matters or policies. However, Crouch’s actions and his termination were handled in accordance with the Texas-based company’s policies.

“While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken,” she said. “We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved.” Crouch worked at the store for more than two years and is now married with a family and has no way to support them. Hobbs said maybe the corporate policy should be revisited. My instincts tell me they are concerned more about people like Mr. White suing them for being stopped in the course of a theft than they are about rewarding or acknowledging in a positive manner that Mr. Crouch may have saved lives.”   [Source: WFMY2 News]

Burglary suspect to stand trial

The Taft, California, man accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from Kmart in February has been ordered to stand trial. Randy Eugene Stark, 46, faces one felony count of commercial burglary.
 He has pleaded not guilty.
 Stark is accused of hiding in the store when it closed for the night on February 25. When store employees left, he started placing jewelry in a bag, Taft Police said. Stark’s plan was thwarted when he set off a burglar alarm.

Police entered and searched the store and found him hiding near the jewelry department. Several display cases had been pried open and items removed, police said. 
Police found several bags with merchandise valued at $11,321 in them. That was the sale price of the jewelry that had been heavily discounted for the store’s going out of business sale.
 The actual retail at normal prices would have been much higher, police said.
 Stark has been held without bail since his arrest. In addition to the burglary charge, he several warrants, including a no-bail warrant for possession of a stolen vehicle.   [Source: Taft Midway Driller]

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