Largest LPRC Conference Concludes in Advance of Hurricane Matthew

Over 260 loss prevention professionals, solution providers, and retail manufacturers gathered at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville October 3–5 for the annual Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) Impact Conference—the largest event in the organization’s sixteen years.

This year’s conference featured presentations on current research results, retail – law enforcement joint ORC investigations, cyber crime, working group discussions, and multiple networking events.

A Monday evening reception was held at the LPRC’s innovation lab just off campus where over thirty technologies are installed in a simulated retail environment. Funded by Tyco Retail Solutions, the innovation lab functions as a demonstration facility where retail teams can see various asset protection technologies in action. The lab is open to LP organizations year-round to hold team meetings and work with LPRC scientists on issues related to their specific companies.

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The full day of presentations began Tuesday morning with a welcome from David Richardson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, who told attendees that the UF’s largest college, which includes criminal justice, is emphasizing providing practical experience to students through internships and other partnerships with the private sector.

The keynote address was provided by Tara Shelley, PhD, of Tarleton (TX) State University who presented results from her research into pharmacy robbery and burglary in which she interviewed forty-eight offenders convicted of stealing controlled substances for either personal use or drug diversion. She provided an interesting profile of pharmacy offenders who break into three groups—pure addicts (46 percent) who steal to get high, hybrids (44 percent) who are sometimes users who also sell on the street, and entrepreneurs (10 percent) who are more violent robbers who steal solely to make money.

A panel discussion on organized retail crime (ORC) investigations featured representatives from local, state, and federal law enforcement. Ben Dugan, Walgreens’ ORC investigations manager, moderated the discussion with Ronnie Faircloth of Broward (FL) County Sheriff’s Office, Carol Frederick of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and John Chiue, special agent with the FBI (see photo). Key takeaways from the panel included the movement of gangs toward focusing on identity theft because of the low risk/high reward. The investigators also talked about the impact of a lack of knowledge of ORC among judges and prosecutors.

Allen Atamer of LTAS Technologies offered attendees a very interesting tutorial of “Exploring the Deep and Dark Web” where illicit products are sold and bartered among criminals. He provided specific instructions for accessing the alternate Internet for retailers interested in seeing how their brands and merchandise are represented.

Due to the advance of Hurricane Matthew off the coast of Florida, many attendees had to leave early. About half of the original number of attendees present on Wednesday heard a panel of Rick Peck of TJX and Brent Onan of USS, plus Kevin Larson of Kroger and Stephanie Mitchell of Avery Dennison discuss how the retailers partner with solutions providers both inside and outside the LPRC framework to solve specific issues inside their companies. Emy Johnson of Target moderated.

Apart from the educational sessions, attendees had multiple opportunities to meet with solution provider members of the LPRC as well as network with other attendees. The Tuesday night dinner was hosted atop the UF football stadium with drinks, barbecue, and games. For more information about the LPRC or the Impact conference, contact Dr. Read Hayes at rhayes (at) lpresearch (dot) com.

7th Annual CLEAR Conference Held in Reno, Nevada

The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR) held their 7th Annual ORC Training Conference in Reno, Nevada, October 25–28. This year’s conference boasted an outstanding agenda, exceptional presentations, and active participation from
200 loss prevention and law enforcement professionals from the US and Canada.

Some of the presentation topics included:

  • Return fraud
  • Lessons from a defense attorney
  • Credit card fraud
  • Identity theft and mobile phone fraud
  • Anatomy of a critical incident
  • ORC trends panel
  • Open-source investigations

There was also a presentation by the Las Vegas Metro “RAP” Team and an update on legislative action on organized retail crime.

Members of the Toys"R"Us national investigations team
Members of the Toys”R”Us national investigations team

Awards

In addition, CLEAR gave out awards for Retail Loss Prevention Investigation of the Year as well as the Law Enforcement Investigator of the Year. These awards are presented based on nominations from the loss prevention and law enforcement communities to honor those that have shown outstanding service. The CLEAR board of directors then chooses the final recipients following in-depth review and discussion.

Outstanding Loss Prevention Investigation of the Year. This award went to the Toys“R”Us national investigations team including Ed Fuentes, Amanda Hobert, Mike Flanagan, Dennis Dixon, BJ Day, Tyson Roberts, Larry Evangelista, Scott Tassinari, Winston Goreen, and Jay Tubaugh. The team identified and tracked down a group traveling the country using rental vehicles and targeting high-end electronics stores. They coordinated with their counterparts and law enforcement from coast to coast to locate and apprehend four suspects who had

Det. Mike Garcia
Det. Mike Garcia

stolen tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise in five days. They were also able to partner with law enforcement to intercept shipments and

recover $20,000 in stolen merchandise.

Law Enforcement Investigator of the Year.Detective Miguel “Mike” Garcia of the Miami-Dade Police Department was recognized for his work on the successful investigation of the theft of over 8 million dollars in plastic delivery containers from numerous Florida retailers.

Next year’s conference will be held October 16–19, 2017, at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. For more information about CLEAR, visit clearusa.org.

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