Breaking News in the Industry: November 9, 2018

Employee theft of $42,000

A Bealls employee was arrested after stealing $42,000 in merchandise from the chain’s Zephyrhills, Florida store, deputies said. Pasco County deputies said 35-year-old Derek Huff was spotted in store surveillance video stealing the merchandise on November 6, and has done so multiple times in the past. Huff had been an employee for three years.

Huff was seen removing nearly $5,000 worth of merchandise from a Bealls delivery truck. Deputies said he placed the items into a large trash bin inside the store, and hid them under trash. Then, deputies said, he pushed the bin out of the store and placed the items inside a large dumpster. Officials said he concealed the stolen items with pieces of cardboard and paper. He later removed the stolen items, placed them into car and drove home, where he was arrested.   [Source: Fox13 News]

Shoplift arrest leads police to ID theft ring

Three people are facing multiple charges of identity theft in Portland. According to Police, officers responded to a shoplifting call at Walmart on Saturday. The suspects attempted to drive away but were stopped by officers. That is when one of the suspects used the name of a victim in an ongoing identity theft investigation.

After searching the car, police recovered several pieces of personal information of people from all over the state. The driver, 34-year-old Stacy Garza of Corpus Christi, and two male passengers, 22-year-old Xavier Garza of Rockport, and 34-year-old of Corpus Christi were arrested.

The investigations lead officers to a storage in Corpus Christi where they found information of more than 45 people. “I’m talking passports, military ids, stolen department of defense ID’s, 25 social security cards, the actual cards,” says Portland Police Chief Mark Cory.   [Source: KZTV10 Action News]

Online retailer’s AI can identify 40% of credit card fraud cases

Credit card fraud is more common than you might think. In 2014, of the 17.6 million incidents of identity theft filed with law enforcement, 86 percent of victims reported fraud in connection with an existing credit card or bank account. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, credit card fraud is the most common form of identity theft in the U.S., with more than 130,000 reports of it annually.

Automated methods of detecting suspicious card usage patterns are nothing new, but researchers at eBay describe a cutting-edge technique in a new paper (“Credit Card Fraud Detection in e-Commerce: An Outlier Detection Approach“) published on the preprint server Arxiv.org. Their proposed system uses an algorithm trained to recognize “good behavior,” as it relates to transactions and payments, and to flag activity that falls outside of the expected norm.

We hypothesize that good behavior does not change with time and data points representing good behavior have consistent spatial signature under different groupings.” To generate a signature that represented “good behavior” (i.e., consistency), the team combined the per-data point vectors and weighed them by the size of the respective cluster, arriving at a single score between 0 and 1. Low consistency — a score closer to 0 — naturally corresponded to outlier behavior.

“Our [technique] can be immensely helpful, as out of 284,807 samples we can safely rule out 139,220 [transactions],” they wrote. If you’ve purchased or sold something on eBay recently, you might have encountered the system in action. The researchers coyly noted that it was successful in picking out fraudulent transactions in data from an “e-commerce platform.”   [Source: Venture Beat]

Shoplifter assaults LP at grocery store

A 28-year-old Sicklerville man was arrested after shoplifting merchandise from a New Jersey store and assaulting staff while attempting to flee, according to police. Evesham police say on Sunday at 2:08 p.m. they responded to the ShopRite for reports that a male, later identified as Kyle Zimniuch of Sicklerville, had swiped merchandise and then assaulted store loss prevention staff.

Once the officers arrived the suspect was detained by store LP and patrons in the front lobby of the store. According to police, their investigation revealed that Zimniuch had shoplifted items and when he was confronted by loss prevention associates, he threw the merchandise at them and ran back into the store. He then allegedly assaulted two LP associates prior to being detained.   [Source: Courier Post]

Fleeing shoplifters charged in high speed chase

David Michael Brown, 46, and Charles Perkins IV, 27, both of Kalamazoo, were arraigned Monday in Delta County District Court after the men fled police after shoplifting at a local store. At 8:10 p.m. Sunday, Escanaba Public Safety officers were called to the Escanaba Shopko store on a shoplifting complaint. When an officer arrived, he found a vehicle matching the description he was given in the store’s parking lot.

When the officer activated his squad car’s lights, the vehicle with Brown and Perkins inside fled the scene. Officers pursued the vehicle through commercial and residential areas between Shopko and the Escanaba High School. The vehicle then began traveling northbound on North Lincoln Road and failed to stop at all traffic lights. The chase continued beyond the Escanaba city limit and into Wells and Gladstone. The vehicle was stopped when police used spike strips to deflate its tires at the intersection of U.S. 2 and South Hill Road in Gladstone. Brown’s bond was set at $125,000, cash or surety, and Perkins’ bond was set at $75,000, cash or surety. A preliminary exam is set for Wednesday, Nov. 21.   [Source: Daily Press]

Fifteen cent bag fee raising crime in Oahu

The effort to go green by charging a fee for a bag is causing problems for some Oahu stores. Charging 15 cents per compostable, recyclable paper or plastic bag was enacted July 1st in an effort to cut down waste going to the landfill.

Even if you support the reason behind the fee, many shoppers prefer to decline the purchase of a bag to carry merchandise out of the store. “If I can carry it, then I will carry it. If I really cannot, I purchase the bag,” said shopper Tsai Chien. “I’d rather not spend the extra 15 cents on a bag. I’d rather just use what I have,” added shopper Mike Amerino.

“Retailers are totally wanting to save the environment, we’re conscious of our aina and all of that. But, there’s a lot of unanticipated consequences that came with it,” said Retail Merchants of Hawaii president Tina Yamaki. Since the bag fee was enacted 3 months ago, Yamaki says shoplifting on Oahu has gotten out of control. “It’s a big issue. We’re seeing a big increase in crime going on. People are coming in, loading up the bags and running out of the stores, and we’re seeing it on a daily basis,” she said, adding stores from mom and pop shops to big box retailers are losing thousands of dollars – or more – to sticky-fingered thieves.    [Source: KHON2 News]

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