Loss Prevention Media

People on the Move: January 2018

Professional advancement and building a successful loss prevention career can mean many things to many different people. For some individuals, it may mean reaching a top leadership position at a particular company, perhaps serving as a director or vice president of loss prevention/asset protection. For others, it may involve gaining experience in multiple professional fields in order to establish a unique and versatile role that capitalizes on all of our various skill sets.

Some aspire to be the best at a particular skill or discipline, building a base of knowledge and expertise that sets us apart from the rest. There are those who strive to leave a professional legacy, leaving a lasting mark on the present and future of the loss prevention industry. And there are still others who simply want the recognition that comes with reaching a particular level of performance and the security that it provides.

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There are many different ways to evaluate our career vision and professional aspirations. But what is most important is that we find the path that fits us best. We need to fashion and follow a professional development plan that leads us forward and builds our future. Especially when involved in a profession that is evolving as quickly as retail loss prevention, career growth is essential to professional survival. Whatever our professional goals and aspirations might be; whatever skills and experiences have helped forge our personal loss prevention career path, we have to find and seize the opportunities to learn, grow, and progress.

All of us throughout the loss prevention community are proud of the accomplishments of those that have worked hard and earned a new place along the loss prevention career path. Please join us in congratulating the following individuals on their recent career moves and promotions.

January 2018

 

Jim Mires has been named vice president of loss prevention and safety at Sally Beauty Click here to learn more

Oksana Montvydiene was promoted to analytics manager global corporate security & asset protection at Ralph Lauren

Sharon Nawrocki Paige LPC was promoted to ecommerce fraud manager at Follett Higher Education

Courtland Greer is now a regional loss prevention manager at Amazon

Sheldon Carlson is now a zone asset protection manager at Rent-A-Center

Jennifer Ochs is now an organized retail theft investigator at Weis Markets

Mike Reilly is now an area loss prevention manager at Bed Bath & Beyond

Tony Leon was promoted to regional assets protection manager at CVS Health

David L. Maxim Jr. LPQ, CCFI was promoted to area loss prevention investigator at Sephora

Ed Van Allen was promoted to regional director of asset protection at Ocean State Job Lot

Steve Hewitt was named head of loss prevention at Waitrose (UK)

John O. Nicholson is now a regional loss prevention manager at Nordstrom

Derek McCarthy was named director of loss prevention at MadRag/10Spot

Mike Limauro, LPC named senior director of asset protection at Whole Foods Market  Click here to learn more

Tina Sellers has been named director of asset protection at Retail Business Services

Michael Tortorici is now a regional asset protection manager at Hannaford

Michael LaCroix has been named director of asset protection at Food Lion

Walt Hall, LPC was promoted to Director of Loss Prevention & Safety at Office Depot  Click here to learn more

Lea Tamarack, CFI is now a regional asset protection manager at Weis Markets

Claire (Birchall) Bouzane was promoted to organized external theft investigator at The TJX Companies

Nancy Orozco is now a regional loss prevention representative at adidas

Filiberto Arroyo was promoted to asset protection district manager-IT at RiteAid

Bobby Sydnor was promoted to director of asset protection at HD Supply Facilities Maintenance

Kennarios Kirk is now an area loss prevention manager at Ross Stores

Shelley Grant was promoted to senior manager of assets, analytics and insights at CVS Health

Vince Giacinto, CFI was promoted to regional asset protection manager at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin

Adrian Rivera is now a regional asset protection manager at Whataburger

Zachery Erb is now a district asset protection manager at Weis Markets

Damien Barne was promoted to head of profit protection at Compass Group (UK & Ireland)

Diana Workman, CPhT is now an asset protection district manager at Walgreens

Joseph Wojcik is now a senior investigator at Pappas Restaurants

Rocco Speziale, LPC was promoted to director of asset protection, home services at Sears Holdings Corporation

Ryan Waldow is now a regional loss prevention manager at Family Dollar

Romeo Acevedo, LPQ is now corporate loss prevention specialist at Guitar Center

Sean Trepiccione was promoted to distribution safety and risk manager for Ollies Bargain Outlet

Brian Csorba, CFI was promoted to director of loss prevention at T-Mobile

David Broom, CFE, CFI, LPC was promoted to director of loss prevention at T-Mobile

Erik Buttlar has been promoted to vice president of asset protection at Best Buy  Click here to learn more

 

To review the December 2017 “People on the Move” click here.

Many of the loss prevention / asset protection career moves and promotions are reported to us by our career advisor partners. We are grateful for their collective efforts and diligence in delivering this information. If you would like to provide information pertaining to a recent promotion or career move that is not listed below, please email submissions to peopleonthemove (at) lpportal (dot) com.

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Jim Mires Named Vice President of Loss Prevention and Safety at Sally Beauty

Jim Mires has been named vice president loss prevention and safety with Dallas area-based Sally Beauty. Mires is the former vice president of store operations for Town Shoes, the Canadian division of DSW. He was also the former vice president of loss prevention with DSW. He has also held loss prevention positions with Pottery Barn, Gap/Old Navy, and Six Flags Theme Parks.

Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc. through its affiliates is the world’s largest distributor of professional beauty supplies.

 

Congratulations Jim!

 

Information provided by our partners at Loss Prevention Recruiters

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Breaking News in the Industry: January 15, 2018

Woman charged with armed robbery after holding up stores with stun gun

A 23-year-old woman was charged Saturday with armed robbery after she was accused of holding up at least three stores with a stun gun, Chicago police said. T’Keyah Herbert was charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and retail theft over $300, police said. The charges stem from three incidents that happened between Dec. 26, 2017, and Jan. 10. About 8 p.m. Dec. 26, Herbert entered a department store in the first block of South State Street, grabbed merchandise from the display and fled without paying, police said. She went back to the same location shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday, armed with a stun gun. When she was confronted by security, Herbert left the stun gun and fled the store, police said. About 3:15 p.m. the next day, Herbert went to a store in the 1500 block of North Clybourn Avenue and got into an argument with employees before pulling out a stun gun and threatening them. She then grabbed merchandise and fled, police said. She was arrested Thursday shortly before 7 p.m., police said. Herbert was scheduled Saturday to appear at a bail hearing, where she was released on a signature bond. [Source: Chicago Tribune]

Two arrested in what appears to be nationwide ID theft ring

Local police believe they’ve helped crack a national identity theft ring after arresting two Philadelphia men outside the Tilton Lowe’s store, waiting to cart away plenty of stolen merchandise Thursday.

Store officials first reported to Tilton police Thursday morning that a large phone pick-up order of some appliances appeared to be fraudulent. They told police the person with the credit card who had placed the order from outside New Hampshire denied having anything to do with the purchase.

 About noon time, police said the men arrived at the store, located at 49 Lowes Drive, in a rented U-Haul van to pick up the order.

Inside the van, police recovered numerous gift cards with stolen credit card information and a large number of stolen identities.

Police officials said this appeared to be a stolen identity and gift card theft ring that moved from state to state. 

Tilton detectives decided this was sufficient evidence to arrest the two in the van on charges of identify fraud and criminal liability for another.

 Kyseem Tyhee Hawkins, 22, and Charles Roshek Gibbs Jr., 23, both of Philadelphia, were arraigned Friday at Belknap County Superior Court Friday. They each remain held on $50,000 cash bail.

Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said a search uncovered many victims from New Jersey to California and the theft clearly amounted to thousands of dollars in many states.

“I could easily see 50 or 60 victims on the list,” Cormier said.

 The U-Haul van with Arizona plates was impounded as evidence and the case remains under investigation.

Anyone with information about this matter or these men is urged to call the Tilton police detectives at 286-8207, ext. 210, or 286-4442.
 [Source: NH Union Leader]

Woman accused of theft from employer

A Greenfield, New York, woman was arrested on a grand larceny charge for allegedly stealing more than $1,000 from the store where she worked, police said. Tanya M. Blowers, 29, of Middle Grove, was accused of stealing more than $1,000 from the Hannaford store where she worked over a two-month period, ending earlier this month, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. Blowers was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, and released pending prosecution in Milton Town Court. [Source: The Post News]

Business owner accused in retail theft ring

The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office says a Crawfordville, Florida, business owner has been arrested, accused of running an elaborate retail theft operation. Following an investigation, on Thursday, deputies arrested Sylvia Pritchard, the owner of Wakulla Gold Buyers, LLC. and Lighthouse Lady Cleaning Service, Inc. WCSO says the investigation began after the thefts of multiple bicycles from the Walmart in Crawfordville, during which a suspect was captured on surveillance video. Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division reviewed the video footage, took screenshots of the thief, and posted them to Facebook. With the assistance of Wakulla County citizens, the thief was identified. Detectives also identified three other individuals who assisted with the theft. WCSO says, during an interview, the suspects admitted to participation in these crimes and explained Sylvia Pritchard’s alleged role in the thefts. WCSO says,  “The investigation revealed that this bicycle theft was not a “typical” retail theft; rather, it was one of multiple retail thefts committed by an organized cadre of thieves working in conjunction with one another on behalf of Sylvia Pritchard.

“During an investigation, detectives determined that Pritchard had organized the theft of numerous items from multiple businesses. Investigators say Pritchard would provide a “shopping list” of items to be stolen to one of multiple thieves, who would then steal the items and deliver them to Pritchard. Pritchard would allegedly determine what the retail price was for the stolen item by scanning the bar code with an app on her cellphone, then compensate the thieves in cash with half of what the retail price would have been for the stolen items. During her arrest, investigators also obtained a search warrant for Pritchard’s residence on Bettywood Circle in Crawfordville. During the search, investigators recovered and seized numerous items they say were obtained as part of the theft scheme, including four bicycles, a Disney Cinderella 24-volt kids electric car valued at $398, household supplies, pet food, portable electronic hardware, and personal hygiene products. Pritchard’s daughter, Starla Brooke Pritchard, was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation. Richard is charged with one count of organized dealing in stolen property and three counts of dealing in stolen property, all felony charges. Pritchard and her daughter were both booked into the Wakulla County Jail.  [Source: WCTV News]

Retail theft trio allegedly targeted retail stores

A 19-year-old Oakland Gardens NY woman, and two New York males who are considered juveniles by age, were arrested Monday and charged by North Coventry police with identity theft, theft by deception, and access device fraud after they allegedly used fraudulent credit cards to buy merchandise at the Kohl’s department store in Coventry Mall, West Schuylkill Road. A Kohl’s loss prevention team reported the alleged crimes to the police on Dec. 13, when the holiday shopping season was in full swing. It identified an Asian female, Fan Yang, and the juveniles – whose names were not released – as having used the Kohl’s cards to illegally obtain merchandise of significant value.

The police department website stated Yang allegedly purchased goods valued at about $409; one of the juveniles obtained merchandise valued at $1,129; and the second bought goods valued at about $485. The trio wasn’t caught in the township, however, or by township police. The three instead traveled to Warminster Township, Bucks County, and arrived at another Kohl’s. They were nabbed by Warminster police, the North Coventry department reported, and were arrested there on additional charges as well.  [Source: Potts Town Post]

Walmart to close 63 Sam’s Club locations; lay off thousands

Walmart unexpectedly announced it is closing 63 Sam’s Club locations across the U.S., potentially impacting up to 11,000 workers, Business Insider reports. According to Business Insider, many employees were unaware of the store closures until showing up for shifts to closed stores with notices on the doors. Employees at other locations were sent away by police. “After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated,” Sam’s Club CEO John Furner says in an email sent company-wide Jan. 11. “We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today.” In his email, Furner says some of the closed locations will be turned into e-commerce fulfillment centers. Business Insider reports that employees whose positions were eliminated by store closures will have the opportunity to apply for jobs at the centers. The company didn’t say how many employees would be impacted by the closures.
[Source: Hardware Retailing]

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Armed Robbery Suspects in Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting ID’d

Edward Mitchell, 21, Curtis Watkins 25, and Vincent Harvey, 21, all residents of Palmdale, CA, were arrested on a slew of charges, including armed robbery, kidnapping, and deputy-involved Shooting. The name of the deceased adult black male is being withheld pending identification and notification of next of kin, officials said. It happened at about 8:00 pm, when deputies from the Victorville Police Department were advised of an armed robbery that had just occurred at a Verizon Wireless retail store (A Wireless).

Officials said the suspects entered the cell phone retail store, three of them were armed with handguns and forced the victims to move from one area of the store to another by gunpoint. An estimated $80,000. – $100,000 worth of merchandise was stolen. Deputies located the suspect vehicle, a black Jeep Cherokee in the unincorporated area of Adelanto and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.

“The suspects failed to yield, and a pursuit ensued with the suspects traveling recklessly on various highways at high rates of speed, and at times, on the wrong side of the road,” sheriff officials said in a news release. During the pursuit, the suspects were seen throwing items outside the vehicle onto the roadway.

The pursuit terminated after deputies initiated a pursuit intervention technique. “Shortly after that, a traffic collision occurred between the deputy and suspect vehicles, at which time the pursuit terminated, and a deputy-involved shooting occurred.  A suspect was struck by gunfire and pronounced deceased at the scene,” stated the release.

Mitchell, Watkins, and Harvey fled into the surrounding neighborhood and were subsequently located and arrested without incident.  “Investigators did locate evidence inside the vehicle at the termination of the pursuit confirmed to have been stolen during the robbery,” officials said. Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact Detective James Williams at (909)387-3589.  Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We Tip Website [Source: Victor Valley News ]

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Tyco Retail collaborates with Google Cloud to power new store solutions for digital transformation

Tyco Retail Solutions today announced it is collaborating with Google Cloud to strengthen its market leadership in next generation real-time analytics and store execution and performance solutions. Google Cloud Platform provides a future proof infrastructure with global scale, security and high performance for Tyco Retail’s world-class global retail customers.

The adoption of the Google Cloud Platform signals Tyco’s commitment to the evolution of its solution platforms for the development and deployment of its next generation of retail analytics and store solutions. Tyco Retail and Google Cloud will collaborate to deliver use cases marrying real-time edge intelligence and decision-making with core cloud computing.

The initial phase of the partnership integrates Tyco’s real-time data intelligence and application capabilities across store inventory, loss prevention and traffic on the Google Cloud Platform for fast, consistent, scalable performance and measurable retailer value. This integration will provide retailers with a real-time view into accurate inventory availability for unified commerce fulfillment as well as in-store traffic data and insights for improved customer engagement. The new Google Cloud-based service for store shrink management enables retailers to enhance productivity, and increase reliability and performance of EAS systems for a new generation of innovative loss prevention. In addition, retailers will be able to incorporate external market, customer and retail data from Google Analytics and Tyco into the new extensible analytics platform for unmatched retail insights.

The Google Cloud Platform provides a highly flexible infrastructure with state of the art security and data protection. It allows for simple deployment, rapid development and cost effective use. Tyco Retail will tap into Google Cloud’s big data and machine learning solutions to build better products and fuel amazing new solutions.

“We are excited to partner with Google Cloud and offer retailers our highly predictive analytics and innovative solutions through leading edge technology with the Google Cloud Platform,” said Amin Shahidi, vice president of strategy, Tyco Retail Solutions. “With best-in-class people, processes and technologies together we can deliver cutting edge insights for strategic retail outcomes.”

This innovative collaboration is currently being demonstrated at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 107th Annual Convention & EXPO at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Visit booth #3103 from January 14-16 to see firsthand how Tyco Retail Solutions is helping retailers “Experience What’s in Store.”

 

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Tyco Retail Solutions to incorporate new data into ShopperTrak Analytics for holistic view of in-store shoppers

Tyco Retail Solutions today announced a new program for select retailers to incorporate shopper data into its ShopperTrak traffic analytics platform. This includes store visitor insights at the audience level from Facebook and additional empirical data from other sources. Connecting shopper preferences and insights from third party sources with store level traffic data will enable retailers to better understand key characteristics of shopper groups to help drive sales conversion and an improved customer experience.

Brick-and-mortar retailers can now better understand shopper audiences in combination with in-store traffic patterns. Insights from this new data enables retailers to tailor their marketing and merchandising strategies to more effectively deliver on the promise of a seamless unified commerce experience. Additionally, store-level managers and retail leaders can leverage a richer set of data to contextualize store performance and identify sales opportunities.

“Retailing is now a seamless, ever-present activity with shopper engagement happening at many touch points between the customer and the brand,” said Amin Shahidi, vice president of strategy for Tyco Retail Solutions. “By combining our retail traffic data with store visitor demographic insights, we are able to help retailers better understand the complete shopper journey. This holistic understanding of shoppers allows retailers to optimize staffing, merchandising and operations to create tailored, enhanced shopping experiences.”

These innovative insights are currently being demonstrated at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 107th Annual Convention & EXPO at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Visit booth #3103 from Jan. 14-16 to see firsthand how Tyco Retail Solutions is helping retailers “Experience What’s in Store.”

Note: In preparation for this collaboration, Facebook has ensured that user-level data will not be compromised as only aggregated and anonymized data will be shared.

 

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Tyco Retail Solutions enables connected shopper engagement through new innovation and collaboration

Tyco Retail Solutions has collaborated with industry leaders to showcase new innovations and retail concepts to further digitize the store and enable retailers to provide smart, connected shopper engagement. Prescriptive analytical data solutions and technology investments are helping retailers to operate proactively, efficiently and in real-time to better engage their customers along the shopping journey in those moments of truth. From optimizing staffing, ensuring product availability and empowering store associates to connecting customers and merchandise across the enterprise, Tyco Retail’s new Google Cloud Platform-based solutions deliver insights necessary to combine the online and offline experience and execute successful unified commerce.

“Experience What’s in Store” with Tyco Retail at NRF 2018:

Inventory Intelligence

Inventory accuracy and visibility – showcasing capabilities with the Google Cloud Platform to enable a clear sightline into real-time, accurate inventory availability and maintain a consistent in-stock position to meet shoppers’ needs. Mobile transactions will feature TrueVUE Inventory Intelligence and lightweight, cost effective mobile sled options from Zebra, Bluebird and AsReader with iOS and Android devices. Link-it®, a new wearable RAIN RFID reader from Strato Innovations will be used to demonstrate how store associates can be equipped with the power of RFID in a cost-effective wearable device to enable cycle counting, stock replenishment and line busting leaving them hands-free to move merchandise and engage with customers.

Fitting room analytics and personalized customer service ─ collaborating with Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, the 1:1 Retail solution enables retailers to enhance the customer experience and improve conversion rates by gaining real-time insights into shopper preferences and fitting room inventory. Touch screen devices installed in the fitting room automatically display the products customers are trying on by reading RFID tags. Customers can effortlessly request assistance or alert store associates through the app to bring in different sizes, styles and colors, all at the touch of a button. This enhanced personalization and customer engagement can help retailers drive sales, increase basket size and improve shrink management to help prevent potential loss situations in this crucial conversion area of the store.

Traffic Insights

ShopperTrak analytics and insights – leveraging new aggregated store visitor insights from Facebook incorporated with ShopperTrak traffic analytics to provide a holistic view of in-store shoppers. Brick-and-mortar retailers can better understand shopper audiences in combination with in-store traffic patterns to contextualize store performance and identify sales opportunities.

Also announcing the evolution of ShopperTrak analytics to the Google Cloud Platform for future proof infrastructure with global scale, security and high performance. ShopperTrak traffic analytics is being deployed as a concept with Google Analytics to extend its leading edge analytical intelligence platform with core cloud computing to deliver unmatched, unique data insights for retailers.

Loss Prevention

Shrink Management as a Service – revolutionizing loss prevention programs, the new Google Cloud Platform-based Sensormatic Shrink Management as a Service (SMaaS) enables retailers to enhance productivity and increase reliability and performance of EAS systems for a new generation of innovative loss prevention. Proactive, predictive and preventative. Providing both remote device management, along with predictive analytics, to proactively manage shrink while addressing underlying root causes.

Storefront Interactive EAS Display ─ offering new interactive capabilities that allow retailers to maximize the storefront area and capture customer attention. The display can be used in various ways, including advertising updated store offerings, sales and brands. Mounted on Tyco’s Sensormatic Synergy detection system, the display supports streaming video along with targeted customer content. The displays can be used to present content based upon the gender of the shopper. In addition, the retailer can easily create, schedule and publish content directly to the display.

Secure Mobile Shopping Kiosk – resulting from the collaboration of Tyco Garage and partner Shopic is a new application to enable self-checkout with automatic detachable EAS tags. Store shoppers simply purchase items through their mobile device and easily detach security tags from a convenient self-service kiosk, providing security for retailers and self-checkout for shoppers. The application leverages a new dual technology hard tag, with an integrated retractable pin and a RFID detacher. The new tag makes attaching and detaching quick and easy with no pin to loose, damage or replace.

Public View Monitor with Digital Signage – featuring dynamic content on a public view monitor with integrated live-stream of IP security camera; ideal for e-signage throughout the retail environment and can be used for in-store sales promotions and marketing.

These innovative collaborations and more are currently being showcased at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 107th Annual Convention & EXPO at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Visit booth #3103 from January 14-16 to see firsthand how Tyco Retail Solutions is helping retailers “Experience What’s in Store.”

 

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4 Ways You Can Transform Retail Loss Prevention Training

Prior to 2012, Bloomingdale’s was doing what most retail organizations do when it comes to retail loss prevention training and safety education—relying on a number of standard approaches like posters, classroom training, huddles, and pre-shift morning rallies. But these approaches just weren’t working.

As I contemplated this situation, I realized we weren’t focused on the right thing. We were concentrating on simply delivering training, when we should have been focused on building knowledge. Simply plastering posters on the wall or using all those other one-off approaches weren’t making our associates smarter or getting them to do the right things on the job. This dearth of knowledge was impacting our loss prevention and safety numbers.

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We sought out and eventually discovered an employee knowledge platform that aligned with the organizational vision. The platform’s methodology, which was rooted in brain science principles, and its use of gamification techniques to keep associates interested, succeeded in building employee expertise over time. Since implementing the platform, we’ve reduced safety claims by 41 percent and saved $2.2 million per year, which is a $10 million savings overall.

Here are four things I’ve learned over the course of transforming the way Bloomingdale’s approaches safety and retail loss prevention training:

1. Integrate training into the regular work day without taking associates off the floor.

Retail associates are constantly on their feet. The reality of their fast-paced work environment means it’s disruptive and expensive to take them off the floor. At Bloomingdale’s, associates use their downtime to take a few minutes of micro training every shift via a point-of-sale (POS) or mobile device. Not only does this keep valuable staff members on the floor, but it keeps LP and safety information top of mind.

2. Bite-size, personalize, and gamify.

Today’s retail workforce is tech savvy and accustomed to accessing small pieces of information instantly. Retailers can appeal to these preferences by delivering training in small bursts in a way that is entertaining, personalized, and gamified. Learning becomes more exciting and interactive and, by integrating friendly competitive aspects through leaderboards, points, and rewards, this further fuels motivation. At Bloomingdale’s, we often hit training participation rates above 95 percent on the platform.

3. Offer flexibility to meet the unique challenges in different departments and stores.

One of Bloomingdale’s challenges was to provide consistent training across stores, while giving stores the flexibility to meet specific needs. With a single training platform, we’re able to do this, plus empower each location or department to customize their associates’ learning experience. For example, in November 2015, ISIS followed up its attacks on Paris with a threat against New York City targets. As a result, we pushed out active shooter training as a top priority to our NY stores. Within minutes of starting their shifts, associates received refresher training, helping to calm fears and prepare for the worst. Fortunately, the threat didn’t materialize, but our front line was prepared.

4. Provide a way to measure associate knowledge and tie it back to business outcomes.

Seeing progress and tying it to results is critical for measuring impact. Instead of tracking the completion of training, we track knowledge growth on a topic-by-topic basis and can see the impact all the way through to employee behavior and results. We know exactly how teams and individual associates are advancing in their knowledge, which training content is posing some challenges, and which topics employees have mastered. This enables managers to provide coaching and creates a positive cycle of feedback that elevates training and performance continually across the organization.

This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated January 10, 2018.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today is the commemoration of the federal holiday to honor the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, the holiday falls on his birthday (Jan. 15, 1929).

According to Quartz, King is only one of three individuals who have a dedicated US national holiday in their honor, the other two being Christopher Columbus and George Washington. King was only 39 years old when he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, in 1968. James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to the charge.

President Ronald Reagan signed the bill designating the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King Day in 1983, to begin the holiday in January 1986.

A recent survey revealed that less than 40 percent of workers have this holiday day off… about the same as Presidents Day. But whether or not you’re at work today, take a moment to reflect on the philosophy of this great civil rights leader.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated January 15, 2018.

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Breaking News in the Industry: January 12, 2018

Police arrest man accused of pointing gun at LP associates

A man accused of pointing a gun at loss prevention officers in a Kohl’s store on Monday was arrested Wednesday. Tulsa Police detectives said Christopher Casto, 32, was taken into custody and booked into the Tulsa Jail. Police said Casto was detained Monday by company officers at the store near 71st Street and Garnett Road on allegations that he was trying to steal a speaker. When they took him to an office, he pulled a gun, pointed it at the employees and fled, police said. A search of Casto’s vehicle revealed a small-caliber silver semi-automatic pistol that matched the description of the gun pointed at the employees, police reported. Casto was booked into the Tulsa Jail about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. His bail was set at $44,000. [Source: Tulsa World]

Suspended 4-star offensive lineman withdrawing from Florida

Offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, one of nine Florida players suspended last summer for their involvement in credit card fraud, is withdrawing from the university, his mother confirmed. Telfort, a 4-star offensive tackle in the 2017 recruiting class, was an early enrollee last year and went through spring practice for the Gators before being suspended in August. “At this time, Kadeem is withdrawing from the University of Florida,” his mother Gerta Telfort said in a text message. “Kadeem and I will not be making any further comments until we deem it appropriate. Thank you for understanding.” Telfort’s mother did not say where he might be looking to transfer to continue his college football career. Seven of the nine Gators players facing recommended third-degree felony charges from the University of Florida Police Department for using stolen credit card information to make unauthorized purchases were offered pre-trial interventions that essentially amount to probation. If those players meet the requirements laid out by the State Attorney’s Office, the recommended felony charges would be dismissed. Telfort and defensive lineman Jordan Smith were not among that group as they faced too many recommended charges  — up to 30 in Telfort’s case for 13 counts of use of another person’s credit card without consent, 12 counts of fraud-illegal use of credit card, four counts of possession of a forged instrument and one count for fraud/obtaining property for under $20,000.  [Source: Statesman]

Deputies recover $10K in stolen items while investigating fraud

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee said deputies recovered a slew of items totally $10,000 while investigating credit card fraud. Detectives found the suspects were using a reshipping scam to move the stolen goods. The MCSO said the criminals would purchase the items with a stolen credit card and ship them to a third party, who would then reship them to a foreign address. Many times, the third part is unaware they are involved in a scheme, according to the MSCO. The MCSO said two common reshipping scams are work-at-home and sweetheart scams. In a sweetheart scam, criminals lurk on dating websites or social media to chat with people. Once they do, the criminal will ask them to help their business or family by shipping packages to foreign country or claim to be with a charity or mission and need help in delivering “donated” items to another part of the world. In a work-at-home scam criminals post job openings online offering work-at-home positions such as “merchandising manager” or “package processing assistant.” Responsibilities include receiving packages and mailing them to a foreign address on behalf of a client, using postage-paid mailing labels provided via email. Officers said prosecuting these kinds of crimes if difficult. “Prosecution in reshipping scams is problematic because the location of the criminal is difficult to find and in many cases they are outside the country,” said Sandra Brandon, MCSO public information officer.  [Source: Fox 17 News]

Texas man admits he stole credit cards from children to fuel spending spree

A Houston man is facing prison time after admitting he stole children’s credit card numbers to bolster a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a Justice Department news release. Amir Ali Bey, 35, pleaded guilty on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt to two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to the release from U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The identity fraud ran from July 27, 2016 to May 19, 2017 with the goal of acquiring obtain money, cars and other luxury items. Bey made fake credit profiles under several aliases, including the name Daniel Isaiah Murray, which he used to apply for new lines of credit, according to court documents. Bey intentionally took credit card numbers of minors because they were less likely to monitor their credit histories. He also used fake drivers’ licenses and pay stubs to and used rental mailboxes based on these fraudulent identifications, investigators from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said. Police found multiple fake IDs, credit cards and bank documents in a search of Bey’s apartment in May 2017 which they linked to the wire fraud scheme. [Source: Chron]

Maryland man is charged after Washington County deputy fires shot during shoplifting call

No one was injured Wednesday night when a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy fired a shot at a Landover, Maryland, man after he allegedly tried to strike another deputy with his car during a shoplifting call at the Target store in Halfway, Maryland State Police said. Melson Shamel Perry, 26, was able to get away from authorities for a short time before he was arrested at a home on Bower Avenue near Hagerstown, according to a state police news release. Perry was charged with first-degree assault, theft of less than $1,500 and theft scheme of less than $1,500, according to court records. Troopers said in a news release that Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore requested the help of state police in conducting an investigation into an assault on a deputy during the attempted arrest of Perry. The incident involved a deputy firing a weapon. Investigators from the Maryland State Police homicide unit and criminal-enforcement division responded to the scene. Detectives were contacted late Wednesday afternoon by an employee at Target in the 17000 block of Cole Road in Halfway, according to the charging document filed by the sheriff’s office. An employee said a known theft-scheme suspect was in the store. The suspect, later identified as Perry, was known to enter Target stores, where he would return a previously purchased iPad for a refund or gift card, according to the state police news release. Instead of returning an iPad, he would return the resealed box with materials inside to simulate the weight of the device. In Wednesday’s incident, Perry is accused of purchasing an iPad at Target for $1,059.99 shortly after 4 p.m., the sheriff’s office charging document said.

Perry came back at about 5:30 p.m., returned the iPad box and was given $1,059.99 in cash before leaving the store, the sheriff’s office said. The object used to weight the box was a can of tuna fish, the document said. Two deputies — one in uniform and driving a marked patrol vehicle — arrived at the store shortly before 5:30 p.m. and waited in the parking lot, state police said. They were notified when Perry left after getting the refund. The deputy grabbed the door while ordering Perry to surrender, state police said. Instead of giving up, Perry drove directly at the deputy approaching the front of his car. Troopers said the deputy who had been at the driver’s-side door fired his pistol as the car headed toward the other deputy. The Dodge struck the patrol car and a privately owned vehicle as Perry drove between them and fled the parking lot, state police said. The Dodge was found abandoned with the registration plates removed.  Mullendore said the deputy who fired the shot would be placed on administrative leave, with pay, until an investigation into the incident is concluded. The name of the deputy wasn’t released. Noting that Perry already was on probation for another conviction and now was charged with a crime of violence, District Judge Mark D. Thomas on Thursday ordered that he remain held without bond. Perry has a pending criminal case in Virginia and theft and assault convictions in other states, the judge said during a bond-review hearing. [Source: HeraldMailMedia]

Revised shoplifting bill proposes stricter punishments

For three years, State Representative Randall Patterson has been working with south Mississippi police departments to come up with a bill to deter shoplifters. He introduced a bill last year that made it past the house, but failed in the senate. Patterson says he hopes this year will be different with the support of Senator Mike Seymour. “It’s just costing us a bunch of money in our small business arena, even the bigger retailers too,” said Seymour. That cost, according to Patterson, could be into the billions nationwide. Several retailers at the promenade in D’Iberville say shoplifting costs their stores thousands every year. They say that it’s usually the consumers who pay the price for those crimes. That’s something shopper Rhonda Gage isn’t OK with. “It’s not fair to us who are just average consumers out shopping for our families to have to pay higher prices because of somebody else’s mistake or wrong doing,” Gage said. Seymour believes the bill adds enough punishment to deter most people from stealing. “It has different phases,” he said. “Most of them deal with just the amount between a felony and a misdemeanor.” In the house version of the bill, first and second offenses would be misdemeanors punished by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A third offense would be considered a felony with a $1,000 fine and possibly three years behind bars. The bill also says any offense with more than $500 in merchandise would be considered an automatic felony offense. James Harris of Gautier, believes it will have some effect, but doesn’t think it will do what law makers are hoping. “I think it’ll knock down the offenses quite a bit but, at the end of the day, the people that are shoplifting will still shoplift,” said Harris. Patterson and Seymour both know it will take some work in committee, but hope to see the bill pass this session. [Source: WLOX News]

The post Breaking News in the Industry: January 12, 2018 appeared first on LPM.

Pennsylvania Man Convicted of Kidnapping Two Women While Fleeing Scene of Retail Theft

A Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, man was convicted of all charges stemming from a September 2016 incident in which he stole several items from a Walmart and abducted two women while fleeing from the store’s loss prevention associates. A  jury found Michael Ortiz guilty of kidnapping, robbery, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats and retail theft, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The incident occurred on Sept. 30, 2016. According to evidence presented at trial, Ortiz loaded a shopping cart with several items, concealing them in plastic bags he had brought, and exited by pushing the cart through an unattended checkout aisle. As he was about to leave the store, Ortiz was confronted by a loss prevention associate who had been watching him over the store’s surveillance system. Ortiz left the cart and ran.

As he fled across the parking lot, Ortiz spotted a car with two women inside. The women had just finished loading their purchases into the car. Ortiz jumped in the car’s back seat and ordered the women to drive him away, pretending that he had a gun and threatening to kill them if they did not comply. When the car stopped at a red light, the woman in the passenger seat removed a legally concealed handgun, pointed it Ortiz, and ordered him out of the car. Ortiz grabbed the weapon and attempted to get it away from the woman, but she overpowered him and fired a shot to let him know the gun was real. Ortiz then fled. He turned himself in to police a day later. Ortiz is scheduled to be sentenced on February 2, 2018. [Source: Fox43 News]

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ALTO US Partners with CAP Index to Solidify ALTO’s Supply Chain Risk Management Solution

ALTO US has recently partnered with CAP Index, Inc. to create a new offering to support dynamic in-transit monitoring capabilities into the end-to-end ALTO AssuranceSM risk management platform.

By adding CAP Index’s crime risk data into ALTO’s in-transit analytics assessment model, supply-chain managers will have additional information at their fingertips to improve their in-transit risk mitigation efforts. “Understanding what you are driving into and making decisions on where to stop or rest is critical in today’s just-in-time decision making process for the shipper, carrier, and driver. We believe this partnership is a major step in assisting industries with the critical mitigation of in-transit risk. The addition of this key layer of data intelligence enabling the ALTO’s platform to predict, analyze, visualize, and better manage in-transit transportation risk is a real game-changer to the end user,” said Steve Longo, vice president of strategic initiatives at CAP Index.

The collaboration in product design with CAP Index continues to galvanize ALTO Assurance’s vision and industry support as an innovative solution provider in North America after more than a decade serving retailers and shippers in Latin America and Spain with proven success. “One of the challenges has always been to be able to layer the right pieces together to galvanize a comprehensive and holistic view of current or potential events. The combination of ALTO Assurance and CAP Index is one more step in delivering a comprehensive but easy-to-use solution for the end user. This allows us to continue to evolve our robust analytics platform and acknowledge the renaissance taking place in the supply-chain security industry that we strongly support and are pleased to play an active role in,” said Maurizio Scrofani, CCSP, LPC, vice president of supply chain security and intelligence for ALTO.

ALTO Assurance is a modular plug-and-play system that offers asset protection and risk management professionals visibility and compliance each step of the transit of goods to their stores. Using a combination of tools to ensure assets under care and custody are at the right place, right time with accuracy, its integration mechanisms allow for holistic risk assessment with route review, tracking, and a robust audit library to provide supply-chain and logistics managers all the information needed to ensure controls are in place throughout the process. This innovative approach is cloaked with a comprehensive business intelligence platform that focuses on managing a multitude of risk factors that reduces costs associated with delays, theft, and other preventable incidents—results that add to retailers’ bottom line from both expense reduction and enhanced operational efficiency.

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Practical Investigative Interviewing Tips to Improve Your ORC Investigations

The increase in organized retail crime (ORC) activity has prompted many retailers to invest in tools and technologies to protect their merchandise. Partnerships between the private sector and public law enforcement professionals also help to improve security. But one useful tool is often overlooked in the fight against ORC: the investigative interview.

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Get the facts about shoplifting in our FREE Special Report,Tips on How to Stop Shoplifting:   What You Can Learn from Shoplifting Statistics, Organized Retail Crime Facts & Shoplifting Stories right now!

Using thorough investigative interviewing strategies and techniques, an ORC investigator may be able to obtain crucial and reliable information from an apprehended shoplifter. During the interview, the subject may even reveal merchandise resale locations, means of transportation for the theft ring, or other target locations.

In an article in the latest issue of LPM Online, David Thompson, CFI, goes in-depth on the topic of ORC interviews. What do investigators want to know, and what are the major challenges to obtaining that information? From the article:

In the event of an ORC interview, time is often an uncontrollable variable that expires rather quickly. Interviews conducted while the shoplifter is in law enforcement custody, detained in a loss prevention office, or any other unique field interview will present the challenge of having minimal time to gain maximum information. This increases the importance of the interviewer’s strategy to know what their priority of information should be.

There is a wide variety of information that may fall into different levels of priority depending on the context of the investigation and the availability of evidence. Primarily, understanding the flow of the stolen product is essential to most investigators. Identifying where the stolen items are delivered to, sold from, or distributed at may produce a domino effect resulting in additional information. If a subject discusses that the product is sold through online channels, this provides the investigator with potential sales history and tracking ability. Product that is delivered to street vendors, pawnshops, or storage units may be easier to recover and substantiate the total loss.

Read more about ORC investigative interviewing tips in “Inside the ORC Interview.” If you’ve missed any of our previous LPM Online editions, go to the Archives page at the end of the edition to see what you’ve missed. Be sure to be an LPM digital subscriber so you are the first to know when new issues are available. If you haven’t already, sign up on the SUBSCRIBE NOW link. (Note: if you’re already subscribed, the previous link will take you to the current issue of the print magazine.)

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Breaking News in the Industry: January 11, 2018

Two sentenced in $65K store theft

Two people charged in connection with the theft of more than $65,000 in merchandise from Bed Bath & Beyond in Martinsburg, West Virginia, over a two-year period were sentenced Tuesday in Berkeley County Circuit Court. Curt David Danner, 50, of Martinsburg was placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay $45,000 in restitution by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Laura Faircloth after he pleaded guilty to one count of felony embezzlement. The probationary period was imposed in place of a one- to 10-year prison sentence, which was suspended by the judge. Co-defendant Heather Hutzler, 41, also of Martinsburg, separately entered an Alford plea Tuesday to one felony count of conspiracy to commit transferring stolen property, but adjudication of her case was deferred for three years by the judge. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment by a defendant that the prosecution has enough evidence to gain a conviction. Hutzler can avoid the possible felony conviction and a maximum one- to five-year prison sentence that comes with the offense if she successfully completes a three-year, probation-like period. If successful, Hutzler instead would be convicted of a misdemeanor count of conspiracy. The maximum sentence for the misdemeanor conviction is up to a year in jail. Danner was an assistant manager at the store at 172 Retail Commons Parkway when the items were taken between January 2015 and December 2016 and sold online, court records said. The stolen items, which were valued at $65,931.72, included 47 Illumnibowl motion-activated toilet night lights, 25 Fitbit Flex wireless activity-and-sleep wristbands and 23 Breville the Barista Express 8-cup espresso machines, court records said. Berkeley County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hiller said Tuesday that the prosecution’s evidence in the case included items from the store that were seized from the defendants’ home.  [Source: HeraldMailMedia]

Runaway busted for shoplifting leads cops to sex trafficker

A teenage runaway busted for shoplifting in Brooklyn, New York, led police to a sex trafficker, police sources said Tuesday. The 14-year-old girl allegedly told detectives at the 63rd Precinct station house late Monday that she left her Nevada home for California, where she met a man who forced her into prostitution, there and in New York City. While she was being interviewed, sources said, the suspect, 17-year-old Mark Obeyz, walked into the station house and was arrested. He was charged early Tuesday with acting in a matter injurious to a child less than 17 years old. Detectives assigned to a human trafficking unit are trying to determine if Obeyz was working with anyone else. This is the first city arrest for Obeyz, who lives in Kensington. Sources said he used to live in California. The sticky-fingered teenager was taken into custody after she and a 19-year-old woman were arrested for shoplifting, cops said. The older woman allegedly stole $663 in clothing from the Macy’s store inside the Kings Plaza shopping center. Because the younger girl is a sex crime victim, she was not charged, sources said.  [Source: Daily News]

Police believe 2 brazen shoplifting cases committed by 1 group

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, police believe two brazen shoplifting cases — executed by several people in both incidents — are connected.
According to police, the first theft happened at the Kohl’s store located on Appleton Avenue, on Sunday, January 7th. Police say shortly after 6:30 p.m., seven black males and two black females — ranging in ages from 16-25 — fled the store with Nike brand clothing. The group left the scene in three vehicles, two of which were reported stolen from the City of Milwaukee the day earlier.

Menomonee Falls officials say the next day, January 8th, a similar incident happened at the Walgreen’s located on Silver Spring Drive. Police say six black males and three black females — ranging in ages from 16-30 — fled the store with two baskets of merchandise. The suspects left in a maroon Jeep Cherokee SUV and a silver sedan, believed to be the same vehicles from Kohl’s. If you can identify any of the suspects in the photos on their website provided by police, or have any information related to these incidents, you’re asked to contact the Menomonee Falls Police Department at 262-532-8700.  [Source: Fox6 News]

New Texas law allows merchants to refuse sales for credit purchases without ID

A new law in Texas is changing the way merchants do business. SB 1381 allows a business to request government-issued photo identification during a sale. If the consumer doesn’t have a matching i.D. That merchant now has the ability to decline a transaction if they choose.  Due to the implementation of card chip technology and shifts in liability for fraudulent purchases, merchants may now be “on the hook” for some losses. This legislation states that this law will provide merchants with an additional tool to attempt to minimize fraud.  “Well that just didn’t make sense to me,” said Texas Senator Bryan Hughes of District 1, who authored the legislation. “So we were thankful to get a law passed that says any merchant in Texas can ask for your I.D. Now once they look at the I.D. And it matches or doesn’t match, they decide what to do but they should at least be able to ask.” There’s an ongoing concern not only for consumers but also for community financial institutions. Fraudulent debit and credit cards can be utilized in person as well as through internet and telephoner “card not present” transactions. Additionally, lost and stolen credit and debit cards are frequently used by criminals to make purchases before the consumer realizes that his/her card is missing. “But the hope is it will be a deterrent,” said Sen. Hughes. “Right, if you’re going to ask for I.D. And I’ve got a stolen credit card then I am probably not going to try to make that purchase. So it’s just about letting the merchant ask for the I.D. If they have a reason to doubt. ” This also helps banks as well. In most cases, the bank that issued the card ends up taking the loss for the fraud as well as absorbing the costs to reissue the compromised card.  This has been an ongoing and costly frustration for community bankers across the state. It is important to note that there are absolutely no penalties for not requesting validation of identification. It also does not stipulate a shift in liability between the parties. [Source: Star Local News]

Florida police seek help identifying 3 suspects caught on video shoplifting [Viral Video]

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying three people caught on security camera Monday shoplifting more than $1,000 in electronics from Walmart in Winter Haven, Florida. Jamie Brown, spokesperson for the Winter Haven Police Department, said that two women, a man and a small child came into the store through the garden center and walked to the electronics section. While the women loaded sound bars into shopping carts, the man kept walking, taking the child back out to the parking lot. While he moved the car, a black Chevy Impala, to the parking area outside the automotive section, the women moved on to the electronic toys section and loaded more items into the carts. The women then left the store through doors in the automotive section, making no attempt to pay, according to the WHPD. “A customer sitting in the automotive section immediately alerted an employee, but by the time they got outside, the group had left the parking lot,” Brown said in a news release.
Anyone with information about their identities can post a comment at www.facebook.com/Winter-Haven-Police-Department or make an anonymous report to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 800-226-8477, where callers may be eligible for a cash reward.  [Source: The Ledger]

The post Breaking News in the Industry: January 11, 2018 appeared first on LPM.

Breaking News in the Industry: January 10, 2018

K9 Gunnar tracks down theft suspect who fought, bit, threatened store employees

Saturday night several Spokane, Washington, deputies responded to a theft call where the suspect took off after she fought, bit, and threatened store employees. Ladarion M. Roberts was eventually tracked down and charged with three felonies. It happened just before 8 p.m. Spokane Valley deputies responded to the ShopKo, located at 13414 E. Sprague for a reported theft. Loss prevention associates said a woman, later identified as Roberts, entered the store, picked up several items, including a prepaid cell phone and several makeup items, as she walked around. Roberts went into a dressing room with all the items, but when she came out, she didn’t have the phone or makeup. The employee checked the dressing room for the items, but didn’t find them. She attempted to pay for other items, but her credit card was declined and she left the store. the LP associates followed Roberts outside, identified themselves, and attempted to take her back to the loss prevention office in the store. Deputies say Roberts refused and became combative, pushing, hitting, kicking and even biting one of the employees. She also threatened to mace them and yelled she had a gun during the encounter, then she ran off on foot. After viewing store security video, Deputy Wang recognized Roberts and confirmed her identity by matching video with a previous booking photo.

The deputy provided Roberts’ description via radio to patrol cars in the area. A short time later, Deputy Wilson spotted a purse hanging on a fence which matched the description of the one Roberts was carrying when she ran from the store. Deputy Hunt and K9 Gunnar arrived and began tracking Roberts in the area where the purse was found. Fresh footprints in the snow were observed as Gunnar led the deputies to an unsecured back door of a house on McCabe, just north of Sprague. K9 warnings were given with a response. As deputies worked to obtain a search warrant, a resident of the home was contacted. The resident said he did not know Roberts, and he did not give her permission to enter his house, but gave deputies permission to enter and search for her. K9 Gunnar was deployed on a lead in the house. He located a black coat and new makeup lying on the floor before leading deputies to a closet. Additional K9 warnings were given and went unanswered. The closet door was opened and K9 Gunnar went in. He made contact with Roberts who was hiding under a pile of blankets and other items. Roberts initially failed to comply with deputies’ demands, but soon surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident. Roberts was provided medical attention before being transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Robbery 1st Degree, Burglary 1st Degree and Resisting Arrest.  An additional charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine was added after a white crystalline substance was located inside Roberts’ purse, which tested and showed a presumptive positive result for methamphetamine. [Source: KHQ Q6 News]

Google “free bikes” stolen by the hundreds each week

Stroll through Mountain Valley, Calif., and you’ll probably notice some funky-looking bikes out and about. Red baskets, yellow frames, and green-and-blue wheels are telltale signs you’re looking at a “GBike.” And if you do see one, there’s a good chance it’s stolen. That’s according to a Wall Street Journal report claiming the complimentary campus bikes for Google employees go missing at a rate of up to 250 per week. According to the report, Google has generally written off the pedal-pilferers. But the uptick in theft has the Silicon Valley behemoth adding GPS trackers, hiring a bike recovery team, and – for the first time – considering locks. Google’s enormous Mountain View campus plays home to about 1,100 of the multi-colored GBikes. That’s because the company’s sprawling left-coast headquarters comprises more than 3.5 million square feet of office space alone. Needless to say, the bikes are tantamount to a necessity for the 20,000 employees stationed there.

But the brand has so far resisted security, opting instead for convenience and a “Don’t Be Evil” culture (after its famous former motto). Despite posted instructions explaining how and where the bikes should be used, the colorful cruisers continually wander off campus. Employees report bringing them home for the night, while locals say it’s not uncommon to find the bikes left in their yard. In fact, two of the Gbikes found their way atop the roof of a local pub. In light of the ongoing malfeasance, Google hired a retrieval team that scours the streets around Mountain View and pick up wayward sets of wheels. Plus, Google last year began installing GPS trackers in its bikes. Since then, the company discovered missing Gbikes traveled as far away as Fairbanks, Alaska, and on down to Mexico. In all, Google estimates it successfully recovers about two-thirds of the bikes. While it doesn’t put a dollar estimate on replacing lost bikes, similar cruisers retail between $100–400. Hopefully, Google can update its bike security as well as its browser security.  [Source: GearJunkie]

Ohio man stealing items swings knife at LP associate

Columbus police are looking for a man they say pulled a knife on a loss prevention associate at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing. Police said the loss prevention asssociate stopped 30-year-old Shain Barrett around 9 p.m. as he left the Macy’s store with a $100 jean jacket and three watches. As the officer tried to handcuff him, Barrett fought back and grabbed a knife from his pocket according to police. Police said Barrett swung the knife at the officer and ran away. Police said Barrett has been known to be homeless in Columbus and his last known address was West Main Street in Plain City. Police ask anyone with information on where Barrett may be to call the Columbus Division of Police robbery unit at 614-645-4665.  [Source: 10TV WebNews]

Hundreds of counterfeit Air Jordans seized

In what could be called the case of the seven parcels, federal customs seized what they said were 400 pairs of counterfeit sneakers. Various models of Nike Air Jordan sneakers arrived in separate air cargo shipments and were seized “near Dulles International Airport,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. They said the parcels were to go to an address in Northern Virginia. According to the customs agency, the sneaker shipments began in December. The final seizure was made Jan. 2, customs said. According to the federal agency, the suggested retail price, for authentic sneakers like those seized was $54,715. Customs officers examine imports as a matter of routine, and suspected that the items in question were not genuine, authorities said. They said they checked through the trademark holder to determine that the sneakers were counterfeits.  [Source: The Washington Post]

Toy firm fined $650,000 over data breach

Electronic toymaker VTech will pay $650,000 to settle charges that it failed to protect the privacy of children using its gadgets. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) levelled the charges at VTech following a data breach in 2015. While investigating the breach, the FTC found the firm had broken US laws governing the way data about children is gathered. The FTC said VTech also “failed to take reasonable steps” to secure that data., VTech gathered a lot of data about children via its Kid Connect app that was bundled in with many of the electronic toys it makes. Almost 650,000 children downloaded the app and used it in conjunction with VTech’s educational toys. The app collected personal information but did so without seeking consent from parents or telling children what data was being collected and the uses to which it would be put, said the FTC. VTech’s poor data security practices meant a security researcher could get at the firm’s network and take personal information which included customers’ names as well as email addresses, it added in its complaint. The hacker was also able to get at an internal database that held copies of encryption keys that, if used, would have let an attacker view photos and audio files uploaded by children and parents.

VTech was unaware that its network had been penetrated and data taken until it was contacted by a journalist. “As connected toys become increasingly popular, it’s more important than ever that companies let parents know how their kids’ data is collected and used and that they take reasonable steps to secure that data,” said Maureen Ohlhausen, acting FTC chairwoman, in a statement. “Unfortunately,” she added, “VTech fell short in both of these areas.” As well as paying the financial penalty, VTech has pledged to uphold US child data protection laws in future. It has also agreed to improve its security practices and will be subjected to regular independent data and privacy audits for the next 20 years. In a statement, VTech said parents were left in no doubt about the type of information being collected about children and were able to decide who they talked to via the app. It said it collected data only to help users of its products to communicate with each other, not for marketing purposes. Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center which campaigns on privacy issues, welcomed the FTC’s action but said the penalty could have been levied more swiftly. “This is good news that the FTC finally took action but we feel like they are moving too slow and clearly following and not leading,” Mr. Rotenberg told the New York Times.  [Source: BBC News]

Apple’s flagship Chicago retail store wasn’t designed to handle snow

Apple’s new flagship retail store in Chicago, the one with a MacBook-shaped rooftop, is nothing short of an architectural marvel. At least, that’s how some news reports put it when the store opened back in October. Beyond standing out among the less inspired buildings of the downtown Chicago area, the new Apple Store also happens to be very poorly thought through considering its thin roof now has dangerous icicles hanging perilously over public walkways. The deadly ice daggers have forced the closure of those spaces, as pointed out by local blogger Matt Maldre and reblogged by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. As Maldre explains, the fancy building design, while seemingly in service of Apple’s new “town square” ideal for its retail stores, doesn’t seem to have been designed for the actual city it’s located in. “Maybe next time Apple will consider the actual community where their stores are built,” Maldre writes. “Y’know, basic things like in Chicago, the weather gets cold. It snows. The snow falls off the roof. Don’t design a slopping roof where the snow can’t be caught or guttered off somewhere.”  [Source: The Verge]

The post Breaking News in the Industry: January 10, 2018 appeared first on LPM.

When Employees Leave, Keep a Close Eye on Your Data

Many years ago, when Conan O’Brien was battling NBC over his role in late-night programming, he announced his intentions while waiting for a resolution. “I will continue to put on as good a show each night as I can,” Conan told his audience. “While stealing as many office supplies as humanly possible.” The line got a good laugh, but it’s no joke to employers who struggle against insiders who are willing to use termination—or just a smaller than expected raise or a lack of promotion—as justification to steal. Theft of physical assets is a substantial concern when employees leave, but case studies suggest that the theft of business information or purposeful data destruction can be more costly.

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In one case, included in a compilation by Carnegie Mellon University of insider threat cases, an e-commerce software developer was angered when his benefits were cut in conjunction with his moving to a different state. His relationship with the company subsequently soured, and it eventually told him that his employment would be terminated in a month’s time.

After a week and a half, the insider logged in remotely from home, deleted the software he was developing as well as other software under development, modified system logs to conceal his actions, and then changed the root password. He then announced his immediate resignation. His actions cost the company over $25,000, 230 staff hours, and associated costs.

Forbes recounted a story from the “Once Upon a Vine” wine shop in Richmond, VA, in which the shop’s email newsletter was altered in order to bad mouth the retailer to its customers. The culprit turned out to be an ex-employee who had logged in to the company’s cloud newsletter service.

“Organizations are still finding it difficult to completely disable access for terminated employees,” notes the CERT Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon. “Commonly accepted best practices are still not being followed.”

“Some aspects of the termination process are quite obvious, such as disabling the terminated employee’s computer account,” notes CERT—and this is where the wine shop reportedly failed. The retail store had terminated the employee but not her passwords.

Ex-employees—or those about to leave—can cause any number of headaches for a retailer, such as exporting contact lists to a rival, or causing havoc to a shop’s inventory or their payroll service. The FBI has tried to alert business owners to the threat. “The exploitation of business networks and servers by disgruntled and/or former employees has resulted in several significant FBI investigations in which individuals used their access to destroy data, steal proprietary software, obtain customer information, purchase unauthorized goods and services using customer accounts, and gain a competitive edge at a new company,” the agency said in an alert.

Although terminating an employee’s computer account seems like a straightforward best practice, real-world examples show that incomplete account-management procedures make this simple-sounding task difficult. The result is dangerous vulnerability. “Many employees have access to multiple accounts; all account creations should be tracked and periodically reviewed to ensure that all access can be quickly disabled when an employee is terminated,” notes CERT.

Diligently following strict account-management practices is critical for retailers when employees leave, suggest CERT case studies. If a retailer fails on this front, it may be too late to perform an account audit for the terminated employee. A backdoor account could have been created months before, notes CERT.

Retail organizations should develop formal, explicit termination policies and procedures. When not in place, case studies show that the termination process “tends to be ad hoc, posing significant risk that one or more access points will be overlooked.” Furthermore, studies of insider incidents prove that “insiders can be quite resourceful in exploiting obscure access mechanisms neglected in the termination process.” Real-world cases illustrate the importance of terminating access completely for former employees, careful monitoring for post-termination access, and paying particular attention to terminated technical employees.

Part of a termination process must include disabling remote access or virtual private network accounts, as well as firewall access. “Remote access is frequently exploited by former insiders,” notes the CERT study.

When an employee is fired, all relevant employees need to be notified of the worker’s termination, suggest case studies. Multiple insider attacks examined by CERT were facilitated when fired workers gained physical access to their old workplace. “For example, at least one terminated insider lied to the night-shift security guard—who had not been told of the termination—about forgetting his badge.” Access to facilities should be tracked via an automated logging mechanism, the report recommends.

Under favorable termination circumstances, some organizations choose to permit continued access by former employees for some time period. But “it is important that organizations have a formal policy in place for these circumstances and carefully consider the potential consequences,” CERT recommends.

Even with voluntary departures, companies should consider security measures such as monitoring exiting employees’ network usage. According to an LPM/SDR survey, this is a common but not universal precaution taken by retail industry companies. In the study, 58.3 of responding retail companies said that they monitor or review departing employees’ access/use of computer systems to ensure sensitive or confidential data are not downloaded or sent to personal e-mail accounts. This is slightly less than the figure for all employers (67.9 percent).

If an employee is terminated under adverse circumstances, the CERT study recommends that organizations consider reviewing the employee’s desktop computer and system logs to ensure no software or applications have been installed that may permit the employee back into the organization’s systems. “In one case, a terminated employee left software on his desktop that allowed him to access it, control it remotely, and use it to attack.” A few insiders who stole intellectual property immediately before leaving an organization were caught when their desktop computer activity logs were analyzed, according to the study.

Finally, CERT warns all organizations to be cognizant of social relationships that could provide a disgruntled worker an avenue to commit harm. The report cites an example: Almost two months after his termination, an ex-employee got a system administrator account password from a female employee with whom he’d had a relationship. “Using this password, the insider was able to hide a project folder on the server that was needed the next day for an important customer demonstration.” In this case, even though the company took all recommended security precautions for handling the employee’s termination, the ex-worker still managed to sabotage its computer system.

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Police Search for Suspect Accused of Putting Gun to LP Associate’s Head

Tulsa, Oklahoma. police are looking for a suspect thief who they say put a gun to a loss prevention associate’s head. A loss prevention associate at the Kohl’s near 71st and Garnett stopped a man when they saw him trying to steal a speaker Monday afternoon, according to police. The loss prevention associate reportedly took the suspect to the LP office, where police say the suspect pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the employee. Police say the suspect then ran out of the office and out the door, where they say he got into a car and drove away. Police say the associate was injured trying to get out of the office, but other than that he was OK. Officers are still searching for the suspect. Police say the suspect will face charges of grand larceny and pointing a deadly weapon. Kohl’s corporate office has provided a brief e-mail response: “Thank you for contacting Kohl’s. A police investigation is under way into this matter. We are cooperating with the authorities leading the investigation and are referring all media inquiries to police.” [Source: Fox23 News]

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The Numbers Problem

For decades, demographers and workforce planners have been anticipating a transformation in the workforce, a trend that the team at RainmakerThinking calls The Great Generational Shift. For more than 20 years, Rainmaker Thinking has been tracking this process as it reshapes what it means to have a job and go to work. This is the final stage of a historic period of profound global change, and there is a corresponding transformation in the very fundamentals of the employer-employee relationship. The Great Generational Shift presents a whole new set of challenges for employers, employees, and managers at all levels.

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I began conducting in-depth interviews with young people, Generation X, in the workplace back in 1993, when I was myself a young person in the workplace. Since then, we’ve been tracking the ever-emerging, ever-“newer” new young workforce. By the late 1990s, we started tracking the “First Wave” of the great Millennial cohort, born 1978-1989, and by the early 2000s, we began tracking the “Second Wave”, born 1990-2000, when they first entered the workforce as teenagers in part-time jobs.

Since then, we’ve kept our finger on the pulse of how these generational shifts are affecting the workforce as a whole, maintaining a comprehensive picture of where each generation is coming from and where they are going in the changing workplace.

Based on our model, there are six different generations still working side by side in 2018, but just barely:

NOTE: Demographers differ about the exact parameters of each generation. The definitions are always somewhat in flux. Because both the Baby Boomers and the Millennials are such large generations, our model splits them both into “First Wave” and “Second Wave” cohorts.

In just the last year alone, millions of First Wave Boomers and pre-Boomers have left the North American workforce, while millions of Second Wave Millennials have joined:

The long-dominant Boomers are on the wane, while the Second Wave Millennials are on the rise. The oldest of the First Wave Boomers are now in their 70s and every single day, in North America alone, another ten thousand First Wave Boomers turn 70. The trends (percentage-wise) are very similar throughout Europe and in Japan.

By 2020, First Wave Boomers will be well under 6 percent of the workforce, and those who do remain in the workforce will continue trending heavily toward reinventing retirement and late-career-pre-retirement: working less than full time, often partially telecommuting, and often working non-exclusively for more than one employer.

At the same time, and for the foreseeable future, the Second Wave Millennials (and soon post-Millennials) will be the fastest growing segment of the workforce. By 2020, those born 1990 and later will be greater than 28 percent of the workforce altogether (including post-Millennials).

While the shift in numbers is swift and steady even in “older” North America, Europe, and Japan, the youth bubble is much, much larger in Africa, Latin America, and much of Asia. By 2020, in these “younger” parts of the world, those born 1990 and later will be more than 60 percent of the workforce.

These numbers represent the essence of what we call the “numbers problem” for employers—as older workers leave the workforce, they take with them the skill, knowledge, wisdom, and institutional memory gained throughout their career. At the same time, organizations that rely disproportionately upon young workers will be facing challenges that require dedicating substantial resources to staffing strategy, attraction, selection, on-boarding, training, performance management, accountability, differential rewards, and retention.

For more information about age bubbles and the numbers problem, check out The Numbers Problem – Workforce 2020 on YouTube.

For more information about the Great Generational Shift, check out the 2018 Update to Rainmaker Thinking’s annual Great Generational Shift white paper.

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up – January 2018

Florida man accused of stealing 85 frozen pigs

A man is accused of stealing more than $29,000 worth of frozen pigs. Lee County Sheriff’s deputies say 43-year-old Onil Rivas-Perez was pulled over for a red-light violation in Buckingham, Florida.  Deputies say they searched the trailer his truck was towing and found 85 frozen pigs. Detectives were already investigating a cargo theft case and determined the pigs were stolen in Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Perez is charged with Dealing in Stolen Property.  [Source: Fox4 News]

Shoplifting attempt with empty stroller ends in car crash [Viral Video]

A brazen shoplifting attempt at a Florida Best Buy ended in a car crash on Monday, after a woman was caught on her way out of the store with a baby stroller filled with electronics. Police say they arrested Donald Carter, Marcelous Thomas, and Sheeronnye Pendergrass on Monday after the trio led them on a wild chase that ended in a crash. Surveillance video from the Best Buy shows Pendergrass and Thomas allegedly entering the store with a small stroller. The women are then seen taking electronics off a shelf and tossing them into a stroller. “While in the store, both females began to select items and place them aside which were later loaded into the stroller and covered with a blanket,” Sgt. Mark Leone said.   The video from a different camera then shows Thomas come face to face with a Best Buy loss prevention employee, who opens the stroller and discovers the unpaid-for items. Thomas is then seen shoving past the employee and fleeing the store. “While holiday shopping, they decided that they were exempt from paying for their items so they loaded them up in a baby stroller and walked out,” the Davie Police Department wrote on Facebook. Police believe Carter was the women’s getaway driver. “As they fled out of the parking lot, Davie police officers attempted to stop them,” the department wrote. The trio then attempted to flee and crashed into several vehicles. In the process, Carter climbed into the back seat and Thomas took over for him at the wheel. Pendergrass exited the vehicle at some point and was caught by police. A brazen shoplifting attempt at a Florida Best Buy ended in a car crash on Monday, after a woman was caught on her way out of the store with a baby stroller filled with electronics. Police say they arrested Donald Carter, Marcelous Thomas, and Sheeronnye Pendergrass on Monday after the trio led them on a wild chase that ended in a crash. Surveillance video from the Best Buy shows Pendergrass and Thomas allegedly entering the store with a small stroller. The women are then seen taking electronics off a shelf and tossing them into a stroller.

“While in the store, both females began to select items and place them aside which were later loaded into the stroller and covered with a blanket,” Sgt. Mark Leone said. The video from a different camera then shows Thomas come face to face with a Best Buy loss prevention employee, who opens the stroller and discovers the unpaid-for items. Thomas is then seen shoving past the employee and fleeing the store. “While holiday shopping, they decided that they were exempt from paying for their items so they loaded them up in a baby stroller and walked out,” the Davie Police Department wrote on Facebook. Police believe Carter was the women’s getaway driver. “As they fled out of the parking lot, Davie police officers attempted to stop them,” the department wrote. The trio then attempted to flee and crashed into several vehicles. In the process, Carter climbed into the back seat and Thomas took over for him at the wheel. Pendergrass exited the vehicle at some point and was caught by police. A short police pursuit then ensued which ended after the attempted shoplifting suspects crashed into the entrance of a nearby neighborhood. Footage from the property’s camera shows two of the suspects climb out of the car and run away as smoke fills the cabin.  [Source: The Epoch Times]

Burglary suspect body slammed by 15-year-old boy

A 25-year-old San Diego man was arrested for the robbery of a Yucaipa, California, TJ Maxx store on Tuesday authorities said.

 The suspect, later identified as Omar Cruz walked into the store located at 33478 Yucaipa Boulevard at around 8:20 p.m. He filled two large rolling suitcases with over $2000 in merchandise and attempted to leave the store without paying for the merchandise. On his way out of the store, he ran into a 15-year-old boy who was entering the store with his mother. The mother confronted Cruz over the incident and during the confrontation the alarm sounded. The mother of the teen then realized that Cruz was stealing.
Cruz got into a gray 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and along with a getaway driver fled from the store. Citizens including the teen and his mother followed the suspect to El Pollo Loco where he was confronted. Cruz attempted to fight the 15-year-old boy, who then body slammed him to the ground. Citizens then held Cruz until the deputies arrived while the getaway driver fled the location. Cruz was found to have a no-bail probation violation warrant from a conviction for possession of stolen property. The suspect was positively identified by a TJ Maxx loss prevention associate who viewed the store surveillance. Cruz was also identified by the store employee as part of a TJ Maxx theft ring who they have been searching for. Cruz was booked at Central Detention Center for commercial burglary and his no-bail probation violation warrant.  [Source: 24/7 Headlines]

California man gets stuck in chimney during burglary attempt

Authorities say a Northern California man tried to burglarize a business by entering through the chimney only to become stuck. Police in the Sacramento-area city of Citrus Heights, California said Friday that 32-year-old Jesse Berube was uninjured but now faces one count of burglary. According to police, Berube slid down the chimney of the business Wednesday and then found himself lodged inside. The Rocklin man was able to reach his cellphone and dial 911 for help. The Sacramento Fire Department responded and used special equipment to extricate him. Police called Berube a “criminal Santa” who “does not have the same skills as the real deal.” [Source: Yakima-Herald]

Mom accused of using son to shoplift, abandons him when caught

A Florida mother was arrested after police say she used one of her children to shoplift from a department store and then abandoned the teen and her 2-year-old son when she tried to flee from security. According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Daily News, Mahassen Elhadary, 39, was at the JC Penny in Clearwater’s Westfield Countryside Mall with her children, including an infant in a stroller, on Dec. 23. Police say the mother of three was stealing from the store, using scissors to remove EAS tags from merchandise and then putting the items in a bag. She also allegedly had her 14-year-old son conceal items she was planning to steal.

The stolen clothes and shoes were worth $527, police say loss prevention approached Elhadary as she began to leave the store, causing her to grab her baby from the stroller and quickly flee the scene, leaving behind her teen and 2-year-old son, yelling at them to follow. The two children were stopped by LP associates, the report states. The children’s father, who was at a different store in the mall at the time, came to the JCPenny to pick them up. When police attempted to contact Elhadary by phone in order to get her to return to the store, she hung up on them, authorities say. Elhadary was arrested the following day on charges of child neglect without bodily harm, retail theft and possession of an anti-shoplifting device. Online jail records indicate she posted bond and was released from jail on Monday.  [Source: Daily News]

Is Little Caesar’s Pizza worth going to jail for?

A Fresno, California, man is in jail after admitting to assaulting a Little Caesar’s Pizza employee and stealing a pizza and soda, police reported. A witness told officers that David Tejeda, 29, walked into the business on Fresno and B streets in west Fresno about 12:45 p.m. Saturday, punched an employee and stole a pizza, Sgt. Glen Schafer said in a release. Tejeda returned soon after, the witness said, and stole a soda from the refrigerator. Tejeda was found by police just a few blocks from the scene and was taken into custody. Police say he admitted to the crimes and was booked into Fresno County Jail for robbery, assault and theft.  [Source: The Fresno Bee]

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Breaking News in the Industry: January 9, 2018

Three Florida suspects face racketeering, other charges in retail theft ring

Polk County sheriff’s deputies have made two arrests and are looking for a third suspect who they say took part in organized retail theft ring spanning a four-month period, hitting JC Penney and Beall’s stores in Lakeland and Davenport Florida. The Sheriff’s Organized Retail Crime Unit identified three suspects it says were responsible for nine thefts. The Sheriff’s Office said the suspects could be seen on security video removing shopping bags from behind the cash register and later placing items such as clothing and perfume into them, then leaving the store without paying.

Gerald “Jalise” Cobbs, 39, Lakeland, was arrested Dec. 22 and charged with racketeering, a first-degree felony; four counts of retail theft coordinating with others and three counts of felony petty theft. The Sheriff’s Office said he was the ringleader of the group and has been convicted of 16 prior thefts. His criminal history includes: shoplifting, probation violation, failure to appear, resisting without violence, trespassing, theft of state funds, forgery, passing counterfeit, drug possession, dealing in stolen property, fleeing to elude and driving while license suspended (habitual). Varesha Teron Perry, 30, Lakeland, also was arrested Dec. 22 and charged with racketeering, three counts of retail theft coordinating with others, petty theft and two counts petty theft first-offense, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting with violence. She has previous arrests on charges of battery and failure to appear. Sunsaray Shaquille Willis, 24, Lakeland, is still at-large but is charged with racketeering, retail theft coordinating with others, retail theft coordinating with others over $3,000 and petty theft. She has previous arrests on charges of petty theft, cocaine possession and trespassing. The first incident occurred at the Beall’s Outlet store in South Lakeland on July 20. That was followed by eight other incidents at JC Penney stores in Davenport and Lakeland, with the last one occurring Nov. 30. In security video from the Sept. 20 incident at JC Penney of Davenport, sheriff’s investigators said Cobbs and Perry can be seen entering the store, then going to an unattended cashier’s counter and taking store bags. The pair is then viewed on the video as they leave the store with full bags.  [Source: The Ledger]

Woman tries to steal candy bar from c-store, scene escalates [Viral Video]

A 39-year-old Centralia, Washington, woman is facing a felony robbery charge and an assault charge after police say she shoved two market owners in a dispute over a candy bar. David Haladay, who owns B&D market, says he saw that woman pocket a Kit Kat bar in the store Tuesday before walking up to the cashier to buy cigarettes. After using the ATM, she tried to leave the store. That’s when Haladay confronted her, and told her police had been called because she was shoplifting. Haladay says he typically doesn’t press charges but he tries to confront shoplifting when he sees it. But the confrontation that followed turned ugly.  Surveillance video seems to show the woman shove Haladay to the ground after words are exchanged, and then run for the door, where Haladay’s partner Matthew Dare was standing. The woman runs into Dare, and after the two momentarily tussle she tumbles to the floor. Then she gets back up and pushes her way out of the store. “It’s just crazy,” Haladay said. “It’s sad and it doesn’t make sense.” Dare took the license plate of the car she got into, and police soon tracked down and arrested that 39-year-old woman. According to court documents, the suspect told a different story, but police say the surveillance corroborated Haladay and Dare’s perspective. The candy bar cost $1.19. The woman dropped it on her way out of the store. The 39-year-old suspect faces one count of second-degree robbery and one count of fourth-degree assault. Bail was set at $10,000. The suspect was still in jail as of Saturday afternoon. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 11. [Source: KOMO News]

Employee accused of stealing more than $10K from store

A Bed Bath & Beyond employee is accused of using returns from online registries to steal more than $10,000 from a West Palm Beach, Florida, store. Officers arrested Mandela Matasu, 29, Friday after finding that Matasu fraudulently took money from the store 15 times, court records show. Surveillance video found many instances of Matasu “pulling out his own debit card, reaching over the counter from the employee side to the customer side, and swiping a card at the customer’s credit card terminal machine,” an officer wrote in an arrest report. Records state Matasu transferred in June 2017 to be a manager at the Palm Beach Lakes store. Loss prevention associates were notified about a high number of return percentages from their online registry orders at the West Palm Beach store in December 2017.

At first, the LP associates found returns for a bridal shower went to a debit card belonging to Matasu. Their investigation uncovered a total of $10,545.79 refunded to Matasu since September in 15 transactions. Matsau allegedly confessed to a loss prevention associate when confronted about the allegations. When a West Palm Beach police officer spoke with Matsau, he reportedly confessed again. Matasu was released on Jan. 6 from the Palm Beach County Jail on supervised release. He’s facing several grand theft and fraud charges.   [Source: WPTV5 News]

US retailers signal they had a happy Christmas

Embattled US retailers had their most cheerful holiday season in at least six years, according to new data and early trading updates. Boosted by bubbling consumer confidence and a healthy jobs market, US shoppers spent 4.9 per cent more during the holidays than they did a year ago, the biggest annual rise since 2011, preliminary data from MasterCard SpendingPulse shows.  After a turbulent year of store closures and retail bankruptcies, “this is a much better holiday than we have grown accustomed to,” said Simeon Siegel, analyst with Nomura Instinet. “It feels like more than just better-than-feared.” Industry groups have nudged up their forecasts. The National Retail Federation, the industry trade body, said it expected final results to exceed its earlier forecast of $682bn in sales, which would be a 4 per cent rise from a year ago. Customer Growth Partners, a consultancy, predicted sales for November and December rose 5.7 per cent, year on year, up from an earlier estimate of 4.3 per cent.

US unemployment has dropped to a 17-year low and consumer confidence has surged on the back of a stock rally. A bitterly cold winter also helped boost demand for winter garb, said Mr Siegel, all resulting in the bigger spending.  As holiday sales results trickle in, the optimism appears to span even the department stores, which have been hard hit by consumers’ drift away from malls. JC Penney, the first major US-listed retailer to publicly tally its Christmas trading, said like-for-like sales rose 3.4 per cent in the nine weeks to end of December, thanks to strong demand for homewares, beauty products and jewelry. Chief executive Marvin Ellison called the results “very encouraging”.  
“This is likely the season where we all move past talking about retail in trouble,” said Greg Portell, partner at AT Kearney. “Retail as a sector is healthy and vibrant. The traditional definition of retail needs to adapt to how consumers shop today . . . the stores are no longer the node of commerce. [Source: Financial Times]

Five months after Equifax hack, Social Security still relies on discredited firm

Nearly five months after an unprecedented security breach at the credit rating firm Equifax exposed Social Security numbers and other data, making some 147 million Americans vulnerable to potential identity theft and fraud attacks, the Social Security Administration continues to use an identity security system devised by Equifax for the MySocialSecurity online portal. Equifax was awarded a no-bid $10 million contract back in early 2016, as the company boasted at the time, “to help the SSA manage risk and mitigate fraud for the mySocialSecurity system, a personalized portal for customers to access some of SSA’s services such as the online statement.”

Equifax was awarded a no-bid $10 million contract back in early 2016, as the company boasted at the time, “to help the SSA manage risk and mitigate fraud for the mySocialSecurity system, a personalized portal for customers to access some of SSA’s services such as the online statement.” Equifax was awarded a no-bid $10 million contract back in early 2016, as the company boasted at the time, “to help the SSA manage risk and mitigate fraud for the mySocialSecurity system, a personalized portal for customers to access some of SSA’s services such as the online statement.” During this suspension, the IRS will continue its review of Equifax systems and security. The IRS emphasized that there is still no indication of any compromise of the limited IRS data shared under the contract. The contract suspension is being taken as a precautionary step as the IRS continues its review.  [Source: Salon]

Dad makes sons caught shoplifting clean store’s parking lot

For dad Justin Hon, making his teenage boys pick up trash around the Medford, Oregon, Toys R Us parking lot is a lenient punishment compared to what could have happened under the law.  Instead of a family trip into the toy store to pick out a new toy, Justin hon had his teenage boys, Nicholas and Noah, picking up trash in the parking lot. He said sometime around Christmas, he caught his sons stealing from Toys R Us. “Their excuse was that they were stealing for their baby brother which I don’t care what their reason was behind it. Their actions deserve consequences and they just need to be accountable for what they did,” said Justin Hon. Hon made the boys return what they stole.

“The lady here at Toys R Us was really sweet. She just talked to them. She was really nice about it. She could have called the cops on them.” Hon added. He said their actions warranted a punishment greater than just getting grounded. “I felt that this could have turned into something bigger if I didn’t nip it in the bud really quick. I know as a kid I stole things and I got in trouble by the law. I had to do community service and all that stuff. I guess this is what it’s about. Learning a hard life lesson without the judicial system,” Hon added. He made his sons, 16 year old Nicholas and 15 year old Noah, buy their own high visibility vests and trash bags with their Christmas money to learn from their mistakes. “I told my kids I’m not mad at them. I was disappointed but I wasn’t mad at them. I made the same mistakes. It’s learning from those mistakes and taking responsibility for your part,” Hon said. Hon hopes this lesson sticks with his children and they never have sticky fingers again.  [Source: KDRV12 Newswatch]

 

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