One of the highlights of the National Retail Federation (NRF) PROTECT conference was recognition of the annual Ring of Excellence inductee, as well as the Law Enforcement Retail Partnership and Retail Case of the Year awards. The presentations were announced on the last day of the event June 25 at the Long Beach (CA) Convention and Entertainment Center.
Ring of Excellence Award
Richard “Rich” Mellor was added to the list of Ring of Excellence honorees that recognizes pioneers in the retail LP community whose honor, integrity, and character serve as an example for the loss prevention industry.
Mellor began his career in law enforcement as a police officer in Philadelphia before spending 40-plus years in retail security with a variety of companies. His resume includes titles of divisional vice president for Helzberg Diamonds, divisional vice president of LP and security for Bon-Ton, regional director of security for Macy’s East, and divisional vice president of security for both Woodward and Lothrop and John Wanamaker.
Following Helzberg Diamonds, Mellor was vice president of loss prevention at NRF from November 2011 until his retirement in 2013. He continued to consult for NRF until July 2014. During his time with NRF he was tasked with leading NRF’s efforts on retail security and safety issues and managing the NRF Loss Prevention Advisory Council, a committee on which he had served for twenty-five years during his retail career, including chairing the council from 2002 to 2005.
Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Award
Sergeant Charles Anderson of the St. Paul Police Department and Senior Special Agent Michael Olson of the U.S. Secret Service were recognized for their work tracking and apprehending a large criminal enterprise in the Twin Cities metropolitan area from 2006 to 2014. The crime ring owned and operated thirteen mobile phone stores that were used as fronts to funnel illicit proceeds of their criminal activity. Over twenty people were arrested, federally indicted, and convicted for interstate transportation of stolen goods, access device fraud, and identity theft.
The partnerships developed in this case also led to the formation of the Twin Cities Organized Retail Crime Association. TCORCA is the first organized retail crime association in Minnesota and has representation from local, state, and federal law enforcement/prosecutors as well as retail and financial loss prevention and fraud investigation professionals.
Loss Prevention Case of the Year
This award is a recognition program for retail LP investigators whose work has made a significant impact on their companies, communities, and industry. Christian Placencia, market investigator for JCPenney, was lauded for his work uncovering and investigating a lucrative international fence operation in the San Fernando Valley area of California.
Placencia played an integral role in the undercover operation conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and its Interstate Task Force, the FBI, and the JCPenney investigative team.
In March 2012, the LAPD Interstate Task Force executed search warrants at four different fence locations resulting in the recovery of $750,000 worth of merchandise. The case was adjudicated in 2014 resulting in six arrests. Retailers affected in this case received $120,000 in restitution