Breaking News in the Industry: March 15, 2019

Suspect pulls knife on LP associate

Ormond Beach Police arrested a 26-year-old Florida man on Tuesday, March 12, who had allegedly threatened a Walmart loss prevention officer with a knife while shoplifting over $100 in merchandise the day before. Shawn Coltharp was seen by the loss prevention officer removing items including a flashlight, sunglasses and a mounted cell phone holder from their packaging and hiding them in his pants’ pockets.

Police report the loss prevention associates confronted him near the general merchandise exit and asked him to follow them into the office to wait for law enforcement. The loss prevention officers told police that Coltharp retrieved a collapsible knife from his pocket, opened the blade and refused to follow them. He then dropped all the stolen merchandise and fled the store, police report, the flashlight would have to be recovered from a storm drain gate.

The loss prevention associates picked Coltharp’s photo out of a line-up, and officers conducted an investigative traffic stop on Coltharp’s vehicle after spotting it. According to the police report, after he was detained, Coltharp asked, “is this about the incident at Walmart yesterday?” Coltharp was charged with petit theft, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and fleeing and attempting to elude. He was taken to jail.   [Source: Ormond Beach Observer]

Shoplifter gets 7 to 15 for assaulting police officers

A judge sent a Pennsylvania woman to state prison on charges she assaulted a Whitpain police officer, and endangered several other officers, while trying to flee in her vehicle during a theft investigation. Sophia L. Shaw, 44, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 7-years and 9-months to 15½ years in the State Correctional Institution at Muncy in connection with the 4:20 p.m. June 2, 2017, incident outside the HomeGoods store on Skippack Pike in the Blue Bell section of Whitpain. The sentence was imposed by Judge Steven C. Tolliver. Shaw will receive credit for the time she’s been in jail since June 2017.

During a trial last August, a jury convicted Shaw of charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, theft by deception, disorderly conduct and recklessly endangering another person. Brittenburg said one of three officers injured during the incident suffered a serious back injury and has faced surgeries and physical therapy.

“It’s pretty much disrupted my life,” the officer testified, adding he has been unable to work since he sustained the back injury. “Everything’s pretty uncertain for me now. I don’t know what my future’s going to look like.” After hearing the officer’s testimony, Shaw apologized. “I’m so sorry. My intention was not to hurt you or any other officers. I wish I could take it back. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. It was not intentional,” Shaw claimed.   [Source: The Times Herald]

Senators compromise to drive down prison costs by raising felony theft threshold

In an effort to modernize criminal punishment and drive down prison costs, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday backed a change (SPB 7072) to what constitutes a third-degree felony theft. The committee, typically a key step in the legislative process, coalesced around a proposed $750 felony-theft threshold, up from the current ceiling of $300.

That’s a more modest increase than the $1,500 value provided in a bill (SB 406) carried by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who voted in favor of the smaller threshold that came out of the budget panel. Brandes told reporters afterward that he’s ultimately seeking a “more reasonable” felony ceiling than what’s currently in law. He said he doesn’t want “to die on the hill of $1,500 versus $750, or $1,000 or $1,200. If we’ve got to move beyond this one hurdle, then that’s something I’m willing to do,” said Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican.   [Source: FlaPol]

Police shooting of shoplifter prompts family’s lawsuit

Buffalo police say Marcus Neal was wielding a knife and charging at officers when he was shot three times and killed during a rooftop confrontation in Black Rock last year. Neal’s family tells a far different story. They say there’s no evidence of the 47-year-old man being armed or threatening police. They also claim Joseph Meli, the officer who shot Neal, acted without provocation that night in December.

The allegations are part of a notice of claim filed this week indicating Neal’s family intends to sue the city and seek monetary damages. The family’s intention to file a civil lawsuit came as Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced Thursday that an investigation has concluded that Meli was justified in shooting Neal and will not be prosecuted.

The family’s notice of claim is the latest chapter in a story that began in mid-December with a police report of a shoplifter at Wegmans on Amherst Street. A few minutes later, police said, a man matching the description provided by store loss prevention was seen walking down Grote Street, and police gave chase when the man fled.

The pursuit ended about 20 minutes later on the rooftop of a home on Gladstone Street, near Military Road and Hertel Avenue. Police said they gave Neal verbal commands to stop and get on the ground, but he ignored them and instead took out a knife and began cutting himself. When he again ignored their warnings to stop, officers said they pepper-sprayed Neal. At that point, they said, he charged at them and Meli responded by shooting him twice in the abdomen and once in the leg.   [Source: The Buffalo News]

Shoplifter drops phone; Cops post his selfie

The Lakeside Police Department in Colorado posted a selfie from a phone left behind by an alleged shoplifter. In a Facebook post, Lakeside police posted a picture of Crow Lowry, who allegedly shoplifted at Walmart Thursday and left his cellphone at the store on North Harlan Street.

The post reads: “While Shoplifting at the Walmart today you left your Cell Phone. Please contact the Lakeside Police Department for your cellphone and (your) Shoplifting Charge,” LPD wrote. “Hope to see you soon.” Lakeside is a small municipality located immediately west of Denver city limits.   [Source: Fox31 Denver]

Free service helps parents protect kids from identity theft

A new federal law now makes it easier for parents to protect their kids from identity theft. Even though most minors don’t have credit cards, they do have Social Security numbers, which scammers can use to open credit card accounts or even file fake tax returns.Families often don’t discover the fraud until years later when the child applies for their first credit card or loan.

Under the new law, parents can place a “security freeze” on a child’s credit file, even while they’re still infants. If your child doesn’t have a file on record, the three nationwide credit reporting agencies will create one just so they can freeze it. The service is free and easy to use. Click here for more information. It’s also available to caregivers who are legally responsible for other adults.   [Source: WCVB5 News]

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