Breaking News in the Industry: July 6, 2018

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Man faces charges after retail theft, pursuit preceded officer-involved shooting

This all began around 2 p.m. Thursday at the Kohl’s store on Golf Road in Delafield, Wisconsin. According to a criminal complaint, police responded to that store for a report of a retail theft in progress. A loss prevention associate called authorities and indicated the suspects were two men and one woman who were potentially leaving the area in a U-Haul truck. The LP associate said the suspects had loaded up a cart, and a male suspect gave the cart to the female suspect and then left the store — entering the U-Haul. The male suspect still inside the store met up with the female suspect in the junior’s department, as the U-Haul pulled up to the entrance of the store. The male and female still inside began to exit with the merchandise in the cart. The cart was recovered, and inside was $1,635 worth of merchandise.

Police located a U-Haul van parked near the Kohl’s entrance, and an officer saw three people exiting the store — one of them the LP associate, who was following a man and woman. The officer activated his lights pulled behind the U-Haul. The complaint says the suspects looked at the officer and the woman took off on foot. The man jumped into the truck on the passenger side — and the U-Haul began moving forward. The officer tried blocking the U-Haul and it traveled in reverse. The U-Haul was eventually able to get around the squad and a pursuit ensued. Police were not able to find the female suspect who fled on foot.

The pursuit continued onto Golf Road and Highway 83, and the U-Haul was running red lights, the complaint says. Due to a high volume of traffic in the area, the pursuit was terminated. The suspect vehicle merged onto I-94 from Highway 83. The officer was able to get a license plate number from the U-Haul truck — an Arizona plate, which came back to a stolen vehicle — stolen out of Milwaukee earlier in June. A second pursuit began on I-94 westbound, with a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy pursuing the U-Haul, which ultimately crashed in Johnson Creek. Berson, identified as the driver, was arrested. A passenger, a 40-year-old man, was also arrested.

The complaint says during the pursuit in Jefferson County, Berson was shot in the hand, and required assistance from deputies to exit the U-Haul. Investigators spoke with the U-Haul’s passenger, who said he and Berson and a female suspect came to Kohl’s in Delafield to commit a retail theft. He said they were confronted by loss prevention and he got into the U-Haul before Berson drove away. He admitted they were pursued by law enforcement, the complaint says.

Berson made his initial appearance in court on July 2. A hearing was scheduled for July 6, and cash bond was set at $25,000. The complaint notes that Berson has a pending case out of Waukesha County in which he’s charged with operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and theft. Online court records show his $250 cash bond was forfeited in May when he failed to appear in court. A bench warrant was issued. Cash bond was set at $2,500 on July 2 and this case will be part of his July 6 court hearing. This case was filed in November of 2017.    [Source: Fox6 Now]

Police officer helps catch theft suspects wanted in 4 states

Sometimes, Savannah police officers work off duty — time spent working outside their usual hours, usually at a business or location that hires police officers to watch over the premises. When Savannah police Cpl. Sharif Lockett is working off duty, he likes to return to his old stomping grounds: The Oglethorpe Mall.  “I wanted to do off duty there, even when I was working as security there,” Lockett said. “I knew I wanted to be a police officer, but I wanted to finish college first.” Lockett worked there for a few years as a security guard while he was studying at Armstrong, and he’s familiar with the other security guards, the mall employees and the layout of the mall.

But last week, it was his familiarity with a pair of shoplifting suspects that paid off. On June 28, Lockett was working off duty at the mall when he heard a call go out over mall security’s radio. Two men had just attempted a snatch-and-grab robbery in Belk. Belk’s loss prevention associates managed to stop them at the door, where the men dropped the $2,262.50 worth of Ralph Lauren clothes before slipping past them and running outside. One of the men ran out onto the parking deck and jumped into a blue-green Oldsmobile Cutlass, and the car sped off, almost clipping a security vehicle on the parking deck in the process. “There were actually people already in the vehicle, waiting for them,” Lockett said. The other man ran downstairs, then through the Checker’s parking lot and across Mall Boulevard.

Lockett hopped into his patrol car and began canvassing the area, but he couldn’t find the Oldsmobile or the suspects. He returned to the mall and watched the security footage of the robbery. He recognized both of the suspects: Patrick Davis and Ishmell Wright. The two men, both of them from Savannah, were listed on the Savannah Area Regional Intelligence Center website, Savannah police’s online interdepartmental wanted board. Most of their warrants were for similar theft and shoplifting charges. But Lockett had also run into one of the two before.

“I had actually taken a warrant out on Mr. Patrick Davis before, in reference to another incident where, in 2014, he had actually committed a felony shoplifting at the Sears department store, and he got banned from the Oglethorpe Mall,” Lockett said. “Last year, I saw him at Oglethorpe Mall, and I took a warrant out for his arrest for criminal trespass. He was arrested for that incident as well.” The suspects were wanted for similar crimes by multiple departments in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Lockett said the men were suspected of organized retail crime — taking items from retail stores to be resold on the street. Patrick Davis had warrants from Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and the North Charleston Police Department.

Ishmell Wright’s warrants were from Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Lockett notified the Eastside Precinct’s Crime Suppression Unit. After obtaining the Oldsmobile’s temporary license plate number, they were able to locate the vehicle, conduct a traffic stop and arrest Davis. The U.S. Marshal’s Southeastern Regional Task force located and arrested Wright. Lockett said he was glad he was able to identify the suspects, but spoke highly of the mall’s loss prevention team. “I have to give a hand to Oglethorpe Mall Security, because they have always been a very great help in assisting with these matters,” Lockett said. “Anytime a store has an incident, loss prevention is right on it. They’re able to assist with surveillance footage and relaying that information to the police department.”    [Source: Savannah Now]

Woman who scammed scammer charged with theft

Police say a New Hampshire woman who answered a scammer’s ad to pick up and ship an illegally purchased computer has been charged with stealing the laptop and shipping magazines instead. A business owner who said a hacker used their account to buy a computer contacted Wolfeboro police in March. WMUR-TV reports police said 51-year-old Jennifer Wozmak answered an online “job” to ship the computer overseas. But they said she didn’t send the laptop, just magazines. She sold the computer to someone else.

She’s been charged with theft. Wolfeboro Police Chief Dean Rondeau says she had no affiliation with the original scammer, other than the advertisement. It wasn’t immediately known if Wozmak had an attorney, and a possible number rang unanswered.Police say a New Hampshire woman who answered a scammer’s ad to pick up and ship an illegally purchased computer has been charged with stealing the laptop and shipping magazines instead. A business owner who said a hacker used their account to buy a computer contacted Wolfeboro police in March.

WMUR-TV reports police said 51-year-old Jennifer Wozmak answered an online “job” to ship the computer overseas. But they said she didn’t send the laptop, just magazines. She sold the computer to someone else. She’s been charged with theft. Wolfeboro Police Chief Dean Rondeau says she had no affiliation with the original scammer, other than the advertisement. It wasn’t immediately known if Wozmak had an attorney, and a possible number rang unanswered.   [Source: YakimaHerald]

Police arrest 4 women for stealing more than $1,000 in merchandise

Four Louisiana women are behind bars after Tyler, Texas, police arrested them for allegedly stealing from a local shopping center. On Wednesday, around 9:00 p.m., a merchant at The Village at Cumberland Park informed police of four females who had stolen items from their store. A TPD officer working security for the shopping center saw the suspects leave the store and place the merchandise in their vehicle. When the women saw the officer, they ran before being caught hiding behind a hotel in the shopping center. Upon further investigation, it was determined they stole more than $1,000 worth of merchandise from several merchants in the shopping center. Police recovered the items.   [Source: East Texas Matters]

Shoplifting suspect pulls knife; leaps from window

A Reading, Pennsylvania man waived a hearing Monday on charges he pulled a knife on store workers at the Target in Muhlenberg Township while shoplifting, then tried to get away from law enforcement officers by dropping from a third-floor window. Daniel Quinones, 30, of the 2100 block of Elder Street landed on a lower roof, ignored commands to stop and ran across the roof of a day care center in the 200 block of North Sixth Street on June 14, police said. He was grabbed by a city police officer while trying to climb a fence and taken into custody, police said.

Quinones waived the hearing before District Judge Dean R. Patton in Muhlenberg Township on robbery, simple assault, retail theft and related charges. Quinones remains in Berks County Prison in lieu of $75,000 to await further court action. According to police, Muhlenberg police were called by Target loss prevention associates for a shoplifter. The workers recognized the suspect from a previous shoplifting incident and saw what they believed was a getaway vehicle with a man in the driver’s seat. They tried to stop the man, later identified as Quinones, as he left the store pushing a cart full of stolen merchandise, including two TVs and a karaoke machine. Quinones pulled out a knife and pointed it aggressively at workers, who allowed him to go. He got into the passenger seat of the waiting car.

A police officer stopped the car on North Fifth Street Highway. Police detained the driver, who said he had no idea what Quinones was doing. He said Quinones had gotten out of the car when it briefly stopped after pulling from the Target lot. A sheriff’s office K-9 was brought in to search the area of an inactive quarry, but Quinones eluded captures. While police and deputy sheriffs were trying to serve a warrant for a wanted man on North Sixth Street, one of the officers spotted a man who matched the description of the suspect leave the rear of the third floor. It turned out to be Quinones. He re-emerged on the third floor as deputies closed in and went to the window.  [Source: Reading Eagle]

IBM is hoping to eliminate bias from facial recognition systems

The company plans to release over a million facial images that anyone can use as a data set to help train their AI facial recognition system. The data set of over a million images will be highly diverse with different skin colors and tones. It’s also over five times larger than the current largest public data set available, which contains 200,000 images. The company is also releasing an additional data set of 36,000 facial images equally distributed across all ethnicities, ages, and genders.

As IBM notes in a blog post: AI holds significant power to improve the way we live and work, but only if AI systems are developed and trained responsibly, and produce outcomes we trust. Making sure that the system is trained on balanced data, and rid of biases is critical to achieving such trust. However, the company also stresses that AI facial recognition systems should never replace human judgment.  As the adoption of AI increases, the issue of preventing bias from entering into AI systems is rising to the forefront.

We believe no technology–no matter how accurate–can or should replace human judgment, intuition and expertise. The power of advanced innovations, like AI, lies in their ability to augment, not replace, human decision-making. It is therefore critical that any organization using AI–including visual recognition or video analysis capabilities–train the teams working with it to understand bias, including implicit and unconscious bias, monitors for it, and know how to address it. Recently there have been growing concerns that facial recognition systems could be infected with biases that would profile specific groups of people over others.  [Source: Fast Company]

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