Loss Prevention Media

Breaking News in the Industry: March 21, 2018

Utah case could be tied to $500K underwear theft

Three people who investigators believe may be tied to a Chilean theft ring responsible for stealing more than $500,000 worth of merchandise from Victoria’s Secret stores in Las Vegas  have been convicted in Utah.William Orlando Pinzon Galindo, 41, pleaded guilt y on March 6 to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony. He was placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution.Omaira Reina-Martinez, 24, pleaded guilty the same day to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony; and having a fake ID, a class A misdemeanor. She was also given a suspended prison sentence, placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution. Francisco Ugarte Garcia, 22, pleaded guilty on Feb. 20 to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3. The investigation into the trio began Jan. 24, when a car was pulled over on I-70 in Utah for doing 95 mph in a 75 mph zone and later 101 mph in an 80 mph zone, according to charging documents.

The car was searched by police because of a strong odor of marijuana coming from it, the charges state. Investigators reported finding “a large amount of new clothing, watches, bras, underwear” that still had their price tags and theft prevention devices on them. An agent from the State Bureau of Investigation was called to assist and served a search warrant on the vehicle the next day. That warrant was unsealed late last week. “It was discovered there had recently been a $500,000 theft ring in Las Vegas from Victoria’s Secret stores,” the warrant states. After contacting the head of security at the store, Utah investigators made a discovery. “These individuals are most likely part of a Chilean ring that has been committing thefts all over Las Vegas,” he warrant states. Reina-Martinez initially told investigators that the trio had purchased the clothing items with cash and thrown away the receipts and “that they planned to go to South America to open a store,” the warrant states.  [Source: KSL News]

Arrests made after mob steals $48K of handbags

San Francisco Police have arrested six suspects in connection with a snatch and grab robbery of over $48,000 worth of handbags from a store at San Francisco’s Union Square. Three suspects are still wanted for the robbery that happened on February 6 at a high-end fashion store located in the 100 block of Geary Street, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Within seconds of entering the store, nine suspects snatched more than 20 handbags and wallets from the display area. An employee attempted to close the door to stop the thieves but was unsuccessful, police say. He was rushed by the group and sustained an injury to his knee, and the assailants fled with over $48,000 worth of merchandise. Utilizing the store’s security surveillance system, police were able to arrest two of the wanted suspects, and arrest warrants were obtained, which led to the arrests of four additional suspects. One other suspect has not been identified. If you have any information on the outstanding suspects’ whereabouts, identities, or additional information related to this incident, please call the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message. You may remain anonymous.  [Source: KRON4 News]

Six charged with identity theft scheme using card skimmers

Six Florida residents are accused of using card skimmers at Chicago-area gas stations to commit identity theft to the tune of more than $200,000.

 The group is accused of attaching skimming devices to gas station pumps in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. They used information stolen from customers’ cards to make fraudulent credit cards, which they used to spend $210,000 on gift cards and retail purchases. The suspects have used similar skimming devices in Michigan and Georgia, the attorney general’s office said.

An American Express fraud investigator noticed suspicious activity on multiple accounts in 2015 and traced all the cards back to a gas station in Glencoe. 

Charges of identity theft, financial institution fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, computer fraud and mail fraud have been filed in Cook County against 45-year-old Caridad Chacon; 23-year-old Jordan Chacon; 24-year-old William Hernandez; 26-year-old Jose Molina; 23-year-old Claudia Chung Prieto; and 25-year-old Katerine Ramirez, prosecutors said. All of the defendants live in Tampa, Florida, except for Ramirez, who lives in Miami.

”This scheme is nearly impossible to detect by a customer, so it is critically important that people regularly monitor their bank and credit card accounts and report any unauthorized charges,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the statement.   [Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News]

Employee accused of stealing $18K from store

A Glen Rock, New Jersey, woman, who was an employee at Kilroy’s Wonder Market, is accused of stealing nearly $18,000 from the store, police said.Police began an investigation March 9 into the theft of cash from the  store. Detective Lucas Doney arrested an employee Wednesday who police identified using the store’s surveillance system, said Chief Dean Ackermann. Store managers reported that the 26-year-old employee, Erin Marciniak, may have stolen the money by conducting fraudulent transactions at her register, Ackermann said. Detectives determined that slightly more than $12,000 was stolen, the chief said. Marciniak was charged with third-degree theft and released from police custody pending an appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack March 30.  [Source: Ridgewood Patch]

Police looking for 3 suspects who stole over 100 lottery tickets

Police in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, are looking for three people who stole more than 100 lottery tickets from a gas station. The theft happened just before 5 a.m. Saturday at the Speedway gas station, located at  N87W17245 Main Street. According to police, a woman entered the gas station and started talking to the clerk at the back of the store. She created a distraction by dropping and breaking a glass bottle. Meanwhile, two men entered the store. One of them went behind the counter and removed 18 “Crossword Craving” Wisconsin Lottery scratch-off tickets, then they both fled the store. A short time later, the woman exited the store without making any purchases.  If you have had similar incidents or can identify the suspects, please contact PO Eric Hansen with the Menomonee Falls Police Department at 262-532-8700 and refer to MFPD case 18-007274.  [Source: WTMJ4 News]

Two Ex-Florida Gators reach plea deal in credit card fraud scandal

Former Florida Gator linemen Jordan Smith and Kadeem Telfort both accepted plea deals Friday from the credit card scandal that ensnared nine football players last season. Both Telfort and Smith pled no contest to one third-degree felony charge of scheming to defraud, according to Alachua County court records. They each received two years of probation and must pay $521 in court costs. Telfort initially faced 30 felony complaints. The former four-star recruit and Miami native was accused of using stolen credit card information from at least 10 individuals to add $1,450 to his school bookstore account and purchase $89.48 in food from 352 Delivery. “Mr. Telfort is  very remorseful for the pain that his actions have caused,” his attorney, Peter Schoenthal said in a statement. “However, he is also grateful for the learning experience and for being given the opportunity to make those affected by his actions whole. Mr. Telfort looks forward to continuing his studies and his football career. Mr. Telfort will use this experience as a teaching point and be a positive influence going forward.”

Police accused Smith of being a possible “ringleader in the fraud case.” Smith faced nine formal felony complaints, according to court records. Police alleged that he used stolen credit card information to add $3,570 to his bookstore account and settle debts of $1,450 (UF transportation / parking) and $1,008 (apartment lease). Smith was a four-star prospect from Georgia who redshirted in 2016. Both left the program without playing a down. Telfort plans to continue his playing career at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. Smith and Telfort were the only two players accused of wrongdoing who did not receive pre-trial intervention in the case. Five of the nine players — running back Jordan Scarlett, linebacker James Houston, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, receiver Rick Wells and linebacker Ventrell Miller — have rejoined the team. The other two have either left for the NFL draft (receiver Antonio Callaway) or to pursue a transfer (lineman Richerd Desir-Jones). [Source: TBO.com Sports]

The post Breaking News in the Industry: March 21, 2018 appeared first on LPM.

What to Expect for the Rest of 2018 in Retail Technology Trends

In January, I wrote an article titled 2018 Emerging Trends in Cyber Risk for Retail. Many of my former colleagues reached out and asked if I would be writing something related to general retail technology trends as well. Your wish is my command: Here are some of my 2018 retail predictions.

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1. We haven’t found the floor yet. Sales will continue to decrease for some time. No, retail is not dead; we are in an extreme evolution stage. I believe you will continue to see store closures, restructures, rebranding, and reduced footprint in brick-and-mortar retail. To deal with this, the traditional retailers need continue to focus on customer experience.

2. Online retailers will partner with brick-and-mortar stores. As true e-commerce retailers grow, you will continue to see sometimes strange partnerships emerging. Recently, you probably read about the Kohl’s-Amazon partnership, as well as the Kohl’s-Aldi pairing. Both partnerships are somewhat nontraditional and show the need for e-commerce, brick-and-mortar, and other stores to combine forces to manage customer demand, enhance customer experience and reduce loss.

3. The Internet of Things is here. We will see a much higher level of technology interaction in the stores. The key question here is will that lead to increased sales and a better customer experience?

4. Biometrics in retail will become more prevalent. We should see an increased use of biometrics both on the backend and customer-facing sides. Apple’s iPhone X usage of facial recognition will help the consumer population become more comfortable with the technology, thus allowing retailers to use similar technology more openly. Additionally, facial recognition, fingerprint scanners, gait analytics and advanced video analytics will become more widely used.

5. Wider adoption of RFID. This year we should see some larger penetrations of RFID usage and adoption. The technology has been proven and the costs have come down. In the omni-channel environment the need is increasing for inventory accuracy to improve customer experience.

6. The returns problem becomes front of mind. 2018 is the year were retailers will tackle the ever-rising returns problem. As data analytics and artificial intelligence become more readily available, more retailers will turn to advanced returns management to help control the loss.

7. The gap between entertainment and shopping will narrow. Destination shopping: buy a shirt, grab a bite to eat, hang out in a lounge. We will see more shared or combined spaces where restaurant, coffee shops and lounges will be peppered into traditional retail establishments. As customers look for different experiences this will be the differentiator for some.

8. More targeted marketing using technology. The use of Bluetooth beacons, facial recognition and data analytics will increase to help deliver targeted offerings to loyal shoppers.

9. The rebirth of brands. We will see some retailers come back from the dead. Brands that closed or filed for bankruptcy several years ago will resurface with a focus on smaller footprint stores and customer experience. We may also see the death of some other giants and hope one day they are reborn as well.

10. Self-service shopping. There will be an increase in self-checkout in non-traditional environments. You will see more scan-and-pay options using smartphones. A lot of these self-service shopping initiatives are tests to see how the customer reacts rather than cost-cutting experiments.

As retail continues to evolve we must remind ourselves not to fear the evolution but to embrace it. Technology is not here to eliminate us; it’s here to make our jobs and lives easier. Focus all your programs on the customer experience, and customers will shop. I hope the rest of 2018 is an outstanding year for you.

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Jewelers’ Security Alliance Releases 2017 Annual Crime Report

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA) has recently released its 21-page 2017 annual crime report covering crime against the jewelry industry in the United States. Total dollar losses decreased from $72.4 million in 2016 to $72.1 million in 2017, a decrease of 0.4 percent, while the total number of crimes against the industry increased from 1,245 in 2016 to 1,394 in 2017, an increase of 12.0 percent.

John Kennedy, president of JSA said, “This report summarizes the information on when, where and how these crimes occurred. Knowing the information in this report can help you keep your jewelry business safe from crime. JSA urges all jewelry firm owners and their employees to spend time reading and discussing this report and examining the serious risks that your jewelry business faces.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • Reports of smash and grab robberies increased from 62 in 2016 to 71 in 2017, an increase of 14.5 percent. Over 50 percent of smash and grab robberies occurred in mall locations.
  • Grab-and-run thefts increased from 420 in 2016 to 556 in 2017, an increase of 32.4 percent.
  • Off-premises crimes, including traveling salesperson losses, fell to 39 in 2017, the lowest total in over 20 years.
  • In 201,7 JSA recorded a large dollar increase in cyber-enabled thefts by deception and impersonation. The average loss from this type of crime was over $1.2 million.
  • There were five homicides of jewelers in 2017, compared to six homicides in 2016. In the ten-year period from 1996 to 2006, 82 jewelers were killed, while in the ten-year period from 2007 to 2017, 41 jewelers were killed, which represented a 50 percent decline from the previous decade.

“While overall dollar losses were flat, JSA is particularly concerned about the upsurge in smash-and-grab robberies, a big jump in grab and run thefts, and some very large losses in cyber-enabled crimes, which involved deception, impersonation and the internet,” said Kennedy. “The average dollar loss from a series of cyber-enabled crimes was $1.2 million, which highlights this dangerous and growing crime trend that the industry increasingly faces.”

The full report is available on the JSA website at jewelerssecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2017-JSA-Annual-Crime-Report.pdf.

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Where Do Retail Data Protection Issues Start?

Retail asset protection professionals are no longer responsible only for the protection of physical assets. More and more, criminal activity centers on the theft of information—whether that data is personal, financial, or even intellectual property or business-related. It behooves us, as AP and LP pros, to know where data protection issues are likely to begin so that we know where investigations need to start when hacking inevitably occurs.

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Don’t become another data breach statistic. Get our FREE Special Report, Data Security:  Data Loss Prevention Best Practices and Proven Policies to Combat Data Breaches right now!

Editorial Director Jac Brittain, LPC, explores this topic in detail in an article for the most recent issue of LPM Online. In the article, Brittain delineates the difference between the “surface web,” or what is visible to Internet users via a search engine, the “deep web,” which contains information that cannot be indexed by a search engine, and the “dark web,” which is where many data protection issues originate. From the article:

One common misconception about the dark web and the deep web is that the two terms are interchangeable. This is simply not true. The dark web makes up only a very small part of the deep web, although sometimes the terms are mistakenly used interchangeably. It’s most famously been used for the sale of stolen credit card numbers, black market drug sales, weapons, child pornography, and even murder‐for‐hire. When people discuss the seedy underbelly of the Internet where you can buy basically any illicit item or service you could dream up, that’s the dark web.

“When I am trying to describe the dark web to clients, I typically use the Silk Road (an ancient network of trade routes) as an example. It’s the place where criminals gather and exchange information, products, and services, and transact illegal business,” said Erin Fonte, member with Dykema Gossett and co‐head of the firm’s privacy and data security group.

Learn more about how criminals access the dark side of the Internet for illicit activities in “Cyber Crime: The Dark Truth for Retailers.”

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 register as 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. It’s totally free. (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: March 20, 2018

Trio charges $100K to fake credit cards

A trio of Flushing, New York, residents are facing prison time for allegedly going on lavish shopping sprees with fake plastic created in an elaborate counterfeit credit card scheme. The three are charged with charging more than $100,000 in high-end purchases from retail stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s to the bogus cards, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Junwei Chen, 34, Deng Deng Li, 27, and Yue Yuan, 27, were arrested on March 9 after authorities found hundreds of forged and blank credit cards, dozens of fake licenses, forgery equipment, a box of ketamine and two loaded handguns in a raid of their Quince home, where a 2-year-old child had been living, Brown said. “The defendants in this case are accused of operating a sophisticated credit card manufacturing mill with embossing machines, card writers and hundreds of blank credit cards,” Brown said. “The defendants’ alleged crimes not only victimized the department stores, but also consumers.”

Along with receipts for purchases at several high-end department stores, detectives found unopened boxes of makeup, skincare and fragrance products from designer brands such as Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Chanel, Gucci and Cartier, prosecutors said. Detectives also recovered Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, Canada Goose winter coats, cell phones and more than $22,000 in cash during the raid, according to the charges. Chen, Li and Yuan were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on charges including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of forgery devices, criminal possession of a firearm and endangering the welfare of a child. Chen and Li were held on $100,000 and $50,000 bails, respectively, and Yuan was released on her own recognizance. The trio will return to court on April 17. [Source: Flushing Patch]

CBP seizes more than $1.3M in counterfeit speakers

More than $1 million of counterfeit home theater speaker systems in a rail car headed for Ranier were seized in February by US Customs and Border Protection officers. CBP Office of Field Operations officers working at the International Falls Port of Entry in Minnesota targeted a rail container destined to arrive in Ranier. In February, CBP officers inspected the rail container and discovered merchandise in violation of intellectual property rights regulations. The merchandise consisted of 480 home theater speaker systems. Examination of the speaker systems revealed counterfeit markings. The counterfeit merchandise has an aggregate manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1.38 million. “Counterfeiting adversely affects lawful rights holders of their original ideas and the ability to make a profit from them,” Anthony Jackson, International Falls port director, said in a news release. “Counterfeiting also harms consumers because manufacturers of forged products have little motivation to use safe, high-quality materials in their products.”

Stopping the flow of illicit goods is a priority trade issue for CBP. The importation of counterfeit merchandise can damage the US economy and threaten the health and safety of the American people. For more information on CBP’s IPR priority trade issue, visit CBP’s website and look for CBP Trade and IPR. With the growth of foreign trade, unscrupulous companies have profited billions of dollars from the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods, said the news release. To combat the illicit trade of merchandise violating laws relating to IPR, trademark and copyright holders may register with CBP through an online system. Such registration assists CBP officers and import specialists in identifying merchandise that violate U.S. law. CBP’s IPR enforcement strategy is multi-layered and includes seizing illegal merchandise at borders, pushing the border “outward” through audits of suspect importers, cooperating with international trading partners, and collaborating with industry and governmental agencies to enhance these efforts.  [Source: International Falls Journal]

Suspect made $70,000 in fraudulent purchases from auto parts store

In Lopatcong Township, Pennsylvania, police said they charged a man with using stolen credit cards to buy nearly $70,000 in merchandise from an auto parts store. Ramon O. Dominguez, 31, of the first block of Lewis Street in Phillipsburg, turned himself in to police on Saturday, police said. He has been charged with using several credit cards to make purchases at Advance Auto Parts at 855 Route 22 in the township. Police said the purchases were made during 2016 and 2017. A store employee said Sunday he could not comment, referring a reporter to the store manager, who was not available. Police said Dominguez was released pending an upcoming court appearance.  [Source: The Morning Call]

Feds indicted 18 in prepaid card scam

Eighteen people have been indicted by a Flint federal grand jury for a scam involving the use of Walmart prepaid cards to wire money from the retail giant for their personal funds. Unsealed on Monday, March 12, the federal indictment alleges that the 18 named defendants and “others known and unknown to the grand jury” conspired in the scheme to scam Walmart into wiring funds to illegitimate prepaid cards. Two of the defendants, Latoriya Brown and Latrina Davis, were each arraigned Tuesday, March 13, on a single count of wire fraud conspiracy and released on $10,000 unsecured bond. MLive-The Flint Journal is not naming the other defendants as they have not yet been arraigned. All 18 are indicted on a single count of wire fraud conspiracy, punishable by up to a $250,000 fine and 20 years behind bars. According to the indictment, the scam began in January 2016 when members of the conspiracy would travel to Walmart stores in the Eastern District of Michigan and elsewhere to acquire prepaid cards. When the checkout cashier would scan the barcode on the falsified prepaid card, a wire transmission from Walmart’s corporate office in Missouri would activate the account number assigned to the card.

When the cashier was instructed to load a dollar value onto the card, a member of the alleged conspiracy would either slide an illegitimate credit or debit card or pretend to slide a card through the reader as if they were paying for the transaction. A member of the conspiracy would then instruct the cashier to manually complete the transaction by pressing various sequences involving the cash tender key, which would fraudulently show that the card was paid for and wire funds from Walmart ePay databases in Colorado or Arkansas to the card. After the transaction was complete, the conspirators would then allegedly convert funds on the prepaid cards to their own personal use. Additional details on the scam, including how much money the group was allegedly able to obtain, was not included in the indictment. According to reporting from the Sentinel-Tribune in Wood County, Ohio, three of the defendants were also indicted in Ohio last year on various charges involving a scam with Walmart counterfeit cash credit cards. [Source: MLive]

The latest retailer to go bankrupt

Claire’s Stores Inc., known for tween jewelry and ear piercing, has become the latest victim of the retail apocalypse. The company filed for bankruptcy Monday and said it reached an agreement with creditors including its private-equity backer, Apollo Global Management LLC, to restructure around $1.9 billion in debt. Its plan to survive rests on its reputation for trendy merchandise and a unique service that it says can’t be replicated by shopping online: ear piercing. “To date, the company estimates that it has pierced over 100,000,000 ears worldwide,” Claire’s Chief Financial Officer Scott Huckins said in court papers as part of the Delaware Chapter 11 filing. The company began piercing ears in 1978. But even a business model that “remains a compelling proposition over the long term” wasn’t enough to immunize the company from a decline in mall traffic, which fell around 8 percent year-over-year, Huckins said in a court affidavit. The company also had too much debt, costing it $183 million a year alone in interest payments, he said. Claire’s is the latest in a string of recent US retail bankruptcies including children’s clothing chain Gymboree, athletic gear seller the Sports Authority and toy seller Toys ‘‘R’’ Us.  [Source: Bloomberg]

Data misuse by Cambridge Analytica not a breach, Facebook says

Facebook wants you to know… this wasn’t a breach. Yes, Cambridge Analytica, the data-analysis firm that helped President Donald Trump win the 2016 election, violated rules when it obtained information from some 50 million Facebook profiles, the social-media company acknowledged late Friday. But the data came from someone who didn’t hack the system: a professor who originally told Facebook he wanted it for academic purposes. He set up a personality quiz using tools that let people log in with their Facebook accounts, then asked them to sign over access to their friend lists and likes before using the app. The 270,000 users of that app and their friend networks opened up private data on 50 million people, according to the New York Times. All of that was allowed under Facebook’s rules, until the professor handed the information off to a third party. Facebook said it found out about Cambridge Analytica’s access in 2015, after which it had the firm certify that it deleted the data. On Friday, Facebook said it now knows Cambridge actually kept it—an infraction that got Cambridge suspended from the social network. Once that was announced, executives quickly moved on to defending Facebook’s security.

“This was unequivocally not a data breach,” longtime Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth said on Twitter. “People chose to share their data with third-party apps and if those third-party apps did not follow the agreements with us/users it is a violation.” Alex Stamos, Facebook’s head of security, echoed the same arguments. Cambridge denied doing anything illegal or using the information in the 2016 presidential election; Facebook says it has no way of knowing how or whether the data was used for targeting in the Trump campaign. Facebook’s advertising business depends on users sharing their most personal data via its social network. But the company’s “not a breach” argument isn’t likely to make users feel any safer or more comfortable doing so—especially given that it’s already under fire for missing that Russian actors were purchasing US election ads on the site to sway voter opinions, as well as running fake accounts disguised as real Americans. The company has also been fending off accusations that it’s too slow to notice or react to harmful content. [Source: Carrier Management]

The post Breaking News in the Industry: March 20, 2018 appeared first on LPM.

Your Company Safety Policy Requires Support at All Levels

The buy-in and support of all levels of management is vital to maintaining safety in the workplace and the success of our retail safety programs. First and foremost, company leadership must clearly demonstrate that the organization cares and is committed to the safety and well-being of our associates and customers. Everyone in the retail organization, from the CEO to the floor associates, has a responsibility for safety. If our leadership demonstrates their belief in and commitment to a formal company safety policy, that commitment will cascade throughout the organization.

By communicating the mission, values and beliefs of our safety initiatives in a way that is grounded, credible and easy to understand, our management teams will serve as the voice of safety, helping us to maintain these priorities and weave safety values into the fabric of the company.

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The commitment of senior management is a driving force for organizing and controlling all activities within an organization. A safety program will only be effective when management views a safe and healthy work environment as fundamental and demonstrates the commitment to protect our employees and customers as vigorously as its commitment to other organizational goals and strategies.

Although the program must also be able to stand on its own merit, credibility for the safety program begins with company leadership. Management must support participation at all levels of the organization in the development, implementation, delivery, execution and accountability of safety initiatives. The company safety policy must be able to deliver consistent, sustained and scalable results.

While programs will differ from company to company, it is recommended that the following actions be taken to show management commitment and support for the safety program:

  • The company safety policy must be clearly stated so that all personnel can understand the importance of safety in relation to other organizational values.
  • Goals and objectives must be established, defined and effectively communicated so that employees throughout the organization understand the commitment of the company, the desired results, and the measures required to achieve those results.
  • Management should involve employees at all levels of the organization in decisions that impact safety. If involved, employees are more likely to commit their insights and energy to achieving safety goals and objectives.
  • Responsibility for the safety program should also be assigned to employees at all levels. Employees should see that performance and compliance is expected from everyone.
  • The support of senior management should be visible, providing employees with the sense that the top-level management of the organization is truly committed to the safety of customers and employees.
  • There must be an understanding that not only is compliance expected, but that there will be consequences if performance is not achieved. Employees will be held accountable for non-performance.
  • The safety program should be periodically reviewed to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, and revised as necessary if goals and objectives are not met.

Associates will look to company management for leadership and direction. Management can add substantial credibility to the safety program by being committed and vocal in their support of safety, keeping an open mind to new approaches and benchmarking with best in class organizations.

Appropriate funding for safety training, process improvement, capital expenditures, safety standards, and accountability for safety infractions are also an important means of gaining and maintaining integrity and support.

By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about safety in the workplace and other topics designed to help build your career in loss prevention, discover the professional growth opportunities available through the Loss Prevention Foundation.

Invest in your future by exploring the benefits that LPQualified, LPCertified, and the loss prevention certification process provide by visiting losspreventionfoundation.org

This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated March 20, 2018. 

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Loss Prevention Certification: Recently Certified – March 2018

Professional excellence requires dedication and responsibility, and is something that the best continuously strive to achieve. In order to maximize potential, it is essential that professional development is seen as an ongoing process. We should always be looking for ways to improve our skills, abilities, and base of knowledge as a means to maximize performance. Loss prevention certification is a means of establishing and validating that standard of excellence.

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We are pleased to recognize and congratulate those industry leaders who recently obtained their LPC certification. Despite their demanding schedule and having other impressive educational credentials, they still saw the value and took the time to obtain this industry-leading LPC credential.

In order to achieve the highest standards of excellence, loss prevention professionals must embrace the importance of continuing education as a gateway to higher performance and achievement within the profession. The best way to invest in our future is to invest in ourselves, and each of us holds the responsibility to maximize our talents and abilities to best serve our professional ambitions.

Loss prevention certification is an investment that we make in ourselves. It is not simply a commitment to higher learning, but also a dedication to reach a higher standard. Each of these individuals is helping to raise the bar for the profession; and has earned both their designation and respect of the loss prevention community.

The Loss Prevention Foundation is pleased to recognize and congratulate the following individuals who have successfully completed all of the requirements set forth by the board of directors to be LPQualified (LPQ) and/or LPCertified (LPC):

Adam Acosta, LPC Loss Prevention Training Specialist T.J. Maxx Casey Alexander, LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Lucio Amicci, LPC Zone Manaher, APP Sears Holdings Charles Bailey, Jr. LPC CFI Regional Asset Protection Manager Hibbetts Shawn Bradley, LPC Loss Prevention and Safety Manager Lowe’s Jenny Byers, LPC District Asset Protection Manager Stage Stores David Chartrand, LPQ Area L/P Manager Goodwill Industries of Seattle Miranda Collins, LPC Ecommerce Fraud Investigator PETCO Animal Supplies Jeffrey Comstock, LPQ Manager, New Product Marketing Southern Imperial Darlene De Francesco, LPC Area Security & Loss Prevention Manager FedEx Office Nathan Dowling, LPQ Director of Surveillance & Security Buffalo Run Casino Matthew Evans, LPQ Area Loss Prevention Manager Seattle Goodwill Nicholas Ferris, LPC Asset Protection District Manager Rite Aid Jessika Fields, LPC District Asset Protection Manager Stage Stores Amye Goady, LPC AP Investigations Manager Stage Stores Tyler Grandy, LPC Loss Prevention Analyst DICK’S Sporting Goods Frank Gunning, III LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Bryan Halbur, LPC District Manager of Loss Prevention AFA Protective Systems Michael Hawkins, LPC Loss Prevention Manager Lowe’s Aaron Henderson, LPC CFI Director Loss Prevention Penske Bruce Herritt, LPC Auto Center Manager Walmart Stores Ciera Hilton, LPQ Regional Loss Prevention Manager Protos Security Juan Interiano, LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Slade Jordan, LPC Asset Protection Coordinator Walmart Stores Jennifer Keisler, LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Arron Knight, LPC Regional EHS & Loss Prevention Manager FleetPride Erin Koons, LPQ AP Operations Manager Walmart Stores Lincoln LeFebvre, LPC Senior Manager – Field AP The Home Depot Alan Lott, LPC Project Manager Investigations 7-Eleven Michael Mazze, LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Kate McGorty, LPQ Loss Prevention Specialist LL Bean Joshua Meins, LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Brian Naughton, LPQ Loss Prevention Ambassador Nordstrom, Inc R. Bryant Price, LPC Regional Director Loss Prevention Gabriel Brothers, Inc. Ruben Quinonez, LPC District Loss Prevention Manager DICK’S Sporting Goods Susan Richter, LPQ Internal Control Manager AmRest Donald Satterfield, LPC LP Process Manager The Home Depot Steven Smith, LPC Area Loss Prevention Manager ULTA Beauty Steffen Steudte, LPQ Asset Protection Manager Sears Holdings Joseph Trance, II LPC Regional Asset Protection Manager Stage Stores

It is our responsibility to manage the process; driven by individual learning experiences and carrying a personal signature for success. Continuing education, training and skills development, lifelong learning activities, intellectual nourishment and exposure to new ideas all contribute to that plan. Are you taking the necessary steps?

To view the Recently Certified for February 2018, click here.

For more information on loss prevention certification and the certification process, contact the Loss Prevention Foundation at www.losspreventionfoundation.org.

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Donna Gudridge named Client Program Manager – NAM at Sekura Global

Sekura Global is pleased to announce the appointment of Donna Gudridge as the company’s new Client Program Manager – NAM.

Donna has had 15 award winning-years working with top Loss Prevention professionals from across the USA. She has an expansive knowledge of retail and a history of helping retailers improve their ROI with time saving and effective processes.

Carina Lewis, Sekura’s VP of Global Sales, said: “I am extremely happy to have Donna on our team, and look forward to working with her to develop new complimentary training services for our customers that will have notable benefits for their businesses.”

When asked about her new position, Donna said: “I am very excited to be a part of Sekura Global’s expansion in the US. My focus will be on supporting that effort, and doing what I do best: enhancing training practices, designing programs that build efficiencies and ensure compliance, while helping reduce our customers’ labor costs.”

Donna is already well known throughout the industry for delivering innovative and effective programs, proven to help retailers reduce their shrink while maximizing their ROI; all values that Sekura Global champions.

Donna said: “One thing that enticed me to make this move to Sekura was the company’s reputation for really listening to customers and reacting quickly for them. We can turn around a prototype in less than three weeks – that’s practically unheard of in this business!”

“Sekura’s product line is also very exciting; the Self Retracting BoxGrip is one of the most effective and efficient products I have ever seen – it’s a real labor time saver!”

Russell Napthine, Director of Sekura Global, said: “At Sekura we are always focused on helping our customers save loss and save time; Donna is well qualified to help us keep achieving this goal. We are certain that she will add value, both for Sekura and for our customers, and we are very glad to have her on board.”

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Interview and Interrogation Training: Telling a Personal Story

This week’s International Association of Interviewers interview and interrogation training tip provided by Wicklander-Zulawski, has Chris Norris, CFI, director of WZ Europe and International Training, talking about the use of personal stories when conducting interviews and rationalizing with individuals.

When it comes to rationalizing, the first thing to remember is that we rationalize the motive and not the act. Therefore, when we share personal stories, what we’re going to do is share stories about how we understand how people, at times, can make bad decisions.

The use of personal stories can go a long way. In fact, it’s my preferred method and fits very well in my interviewing style when I sit down with someone.

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Let me tell you what I mean. These are some of the benefits of sharing a personal story:

  • There’s a greater sense of reciprocity. When I open up and present a bit of myself to you, perhaps even regarding bad decisions I’ve made, then that encourages you to share a bit of yourself.
  • It creates a greater sense of empathy. Sitting down and saying to someone, “Hey, I know what you’re going through,” may not go very far. But when you present a personal story of a tough decision (a bad decision) that you’ve made, then the individual gets a sense that perhaps you do understand.
  • You’re putting yourself in a position of being non-judgmental. This is the most important benefit of sharing a personal story. When I share a personal story, I’m able to share my human side. I’m able to show that I, too, am fallible and that I’ve made some bad decisions. That I understand and have dealt with peer pressure. I know what it’s like to look at a bill and wonder “How are we going to make it work?” I understand desperation.

Putting yourself in a position of being a bit vulnerable, sharing that human side, and and being non-judgmental by sharing personal stories can go a long way towards getting the truth from someone during your interviews.


Every loss prevention investigator should strive to enhance their investigative interviewing skills as part of an ongoing commitment to best-in-class interviewing performance. This includes holding ourselves to an elite standard of interview and interrogation training that is ethical, moral and legal while demanding excellence in the pursuit of the truth. The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and Wicklander-Zulawski (WZ) provide interview and interrogation training programs and additional guidance to investigators when dealing with dishonest employees, employee theft, sexual harassment, policy violations, building rapport, pre-employment interviewing, lying, denials and obtaining a statement.

By focusing on the latest information and research from experts in the field as well as academia, legal and psychological resources, these video tips provide interview and interrogation training techniques that can enhance the skill sets of professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement, loss prevention, security, asset protection, human resources, auditors, or anyone looking to obtain the truth.

To learn more, visit www.w-z.com or www.certifiedinterviewer.com.

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Breaking News in the Industry: March 19, 2018

Police stop shoplifting spree [Viral Video]

Seattle, Washington, police arrested some thieves who they say were trying steal “in bulk” from Costco. Seattle police put an end to the shoplifting spree as dash cameras and body cams recorded. loss prevention associates recognized what was going on inside the Costco store and called police. The suspects were gathering up laptops and other items, preparing to escape out a fire exit. A getaway driver was waiting outside. Police got in position and waited until the would-be thieves came through the fire doors. Police arrested the 30-year-old man and 21-year-old woman. The 18-year-old getaway driver was also arrested. Investigators believe they hit a different Costco earlier the same day– -stealing more than $2,000 worth of electronics. LP associates told detectives they’d had run-ins with one of the suspects before and he’d had a knife with a seven-inch blade in his pocket. Officers say the suspect had the knife when he was arrested Wednesday, as well. He was booked for investigation of robbery, and the women were booked for investigation of theft. They were all taken to the King County Jail. [Source: KIRO7 News]

 Man arrested for allegedly robbing 4 fast food restaurants in 18-day span

A man has been arrested for allegedly robbing four fast food restaurants during a near three-week period in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Alan Michael Josey, 21, has been charged with several counts of commercial armed robbery and is being held without bond. The armed robberies took place on the 15700 block of Livingston Road in Accokeek (Feb. 22), the 9500 block of Livingston Road in Fort Washington (March 8), the 8900 block of Annapolis Road in Lanham (March 11), and the 5300 block of Marlboro Pike in District Heights (March 11). Police said all of the incidents were armed robberies.

There were no injuries in any of the incidents. Investigators say Josey is connected to a fifth robbery at a retail store in Anne Arundel County. On Monday, authorities said Josey and a woman were wanted for robbing a fast food restaurant in Accokeek. The two walked into the restaurant, and police said he confronted an employee, pulled out a gun and demanded money. The woman reportedly acted as a lookout during the incident. Police said after the robbery they left the restaurant in a White Nissan Altima with D.C. license plates. [Source: WJLA News]

Police searching for women accused of shoplifting 17 pairs of shoes with kids

In Oklahoma City, Police are searching for three women accused of shoplifting 17 pairs of shoes while with children in the northwest side. On Wednesday, photos were released of the women believed to have been involved in the grand larceny Sunday evening at Shoe Carnival in the 1700 block of Belle Isle Boulevard. The shoes cost more than $1,000 altogether. “To make matters worse, they had small children with them,” police said.

According to a police report, the women first went to a register with 22 pairs of shoes, a soft drink and a Reese’s Snack Mix. A clerk began to ring up and bag the shoes when the women and kids began grabbing the bags and walking out of the store before paying. According to the report, the clerk alerted a manager and one of the women told the employees her husband was in the back picking out another pair of shoes and would momentarily pay for everything. The women and kids then left the store with the 17 pairs and the snack mix. The manager told police five pairs of shoes were left at the counter. He believed the women parked far from the store in order to not be seen leaving. If  you have any information, contact Crime Stoppers by calling 405-235-7300 or submitting a tip online. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.  [Source: Oklahoma’s News 4]

Parking lot meth lab busted after shoplifter pursuit

In Tennessee, three people were arrested Tuesday afternoon in the Dickson Walmart parking lot when the pursuit of a shoplifter led to a vehicle containing meth-making materials, according to authorities. Thomas Seitz, 52; Genifer Pevahouse, 42, and Larry Terlecki, 45, were all arrested for shoplifting as well as charges for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Seitz was also charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Pevahouse was also charged with resisting arrest and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony. Terlecki faces additional charges for a warrant for his arrest for domestic assault. Once the three were caught shoplifting, law enforcement received permission search the car and discovered the meth lab inside, said Dickson police. The 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force and and Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force were alerted and and arrive to assist with the investigation. [Source: Tennessean]

Employee accused of stealing more than 1,000 iPads ordered into federal custody

A judge Thursday ruled a former Gary, Indiana, employee who allegedly used city funds to buy more than 1,000 Apple iPads must go into federal custody for a competency evaluation. Judge Philip Simon ordered that Monique Bowling-Boyd self-report to federal custody to see if she’s able to stand trial for charges of theft. Simon said it’s important to get the case moving along, and an evaluation will be able to determine if Bowling-Boyd is not competent to stand trial or malingering. “We need an expert to suss that out for us,” Simon said. Bowling-Boyd’s attorney initially sought an outpatient evaluation but Thursday agreed that it would be best done in a facility.

Prosecutors allege that Bowling-Boyd, then Gary’s head of IT services, bought more than 1,000 iPads and other computer equipment, valued in excess of $5,000, according to court documents. The additional charges allege that Bowling-Boyd participated in a scheme to cash pension checks from a dead man, according to court documents, and used the deceased man’s identification card to cash or deposit the checks. Bowling-Boyd’s attorney sought a competency evaluation earlier in January, according to court documents, and Schlesinger said that since he began working on the case in September 2017, she was unable to speak during an interview with him and still has not spoken to him. [Source: Post Tribune]

Cop’s hunch leads to suspect in widespread credit-data theft

A California man, who attracted attention when he looked away from a Cinnaminson, New Jersey, police officer, received a three-year jail term Wednesday for his role in a massive conspiracy to steal credit cards. Angel Angulo, 28, took part in a scheme that used wireless devices to steal customer information during purchases with credit and debit cards at about 80 Michaels’s stores in 19 states, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey. Ring members used the stolen data to create counterfeit cards, then withdrew money from the victims’ bank accounts, the federal prosecutor’s office said. Angulo and an alleged accomplice, Crystal Banuelos of Bloomington, California, had 179 counterfeit cards and about $13,000 when they were arrested in May 2011. They allegedly made withdrawals from ATMs in April and May 2011. The Californians were arrested after Cinnaminson police officer F.D. “Don” Rock noticed Banuelos lingering in a car at a stop sign near a bank. He then saw Angulo walking near the bank’s ATM, wearing dark sunglasses on a cloudy day. The suspects, who both avoided Rock’s gaze, were arrested minutes later after stopping at a Route 130 gas station. The Riverside, California, man previously pleaded guilty in federal court, Camden, to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Angulo also must pay restitution of $480,300 under a sentence imposed by US District Judge Joseph Rodriguez. Banuelos awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to the same charges.  [Source: Courier Post]

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LPM Insider Survey Results: Should Retailers Restrict the Sale of Firearms? Readers Are Split.

In last week’s LPM Insider Survey, we discussed the decision made by several retailers to restrict purchases of certain firearms and gun accessories, or simply no longer sell these items rather than waiting for legislators to make up their minds on what should be done. Others have raised age restrictions and will no longer sell some or all firearms to those under 21 years of age.

Gun control issues have been an ongoing topic, and recently back in the spotlight as a primary focus of attention following the recent tragedy in Parkland, FL, and the dozens of other incidents involving gun violence in recent years.

Debates have raged as the public seeks action. While 97 percent of the public agrees that further gun control in some form needs to be implemented, legislators remain deadlocked on the best ways to address this polarizing issue.

Most recently, another retailer took additional steps in the assault rifles issue. Last week, Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, made the decision to remove publications about assault rifles from its stores, wading further into the debate on gun control.

Should we raise the age limits on the purchases of certain firearms? Should certain firearms be banned altogether? Should background checks and waiting periods be mandatory for every gun sale? Should bump stocks and high-capacity ammunition magazines be banned? Should teachers carry guns?

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Survey Results

Our survey participants shared passionate comments on both sides of this debate, resulting in a virtual stalemate in the discussion, with 47 percent agreeing that retailers should self-regulate and restrict the sale of certain firearms and gun accessories, 47 percent disagreeing with this decision, and 6 percent unsure which is the right decision.

Approximately 35 percent of respondents believe that that retail companies have every right to take these steps and agree with this decision, while 12 percent agree with the decision, but feel that retailers should only take these steps so far. Contrarily, 27 percent feel that refusing to sell these weapons or to restrict sales to those under 21 is a violation of their constitutional rights, and 20 percent believe that most gun owners are responsible and retailers should wait until new laws are passed.


Here is a sampling of your comments:

Retailers have every right to dictate who they will and will not sell to, and they’ve made the right decision. Private citizens don’t need assault-type rifles. They don’t need high-round magazines. They don’t need bump stocks. Hunt to your heart’s content – but don’t allow people to buy weapons solely intended to cause the death of a lot of people. It’s wrong. Period.

GUNS kill people. If you can’t see the importance of being a responsible gun owner, you shouldn’t own a gun. Bravo to the retailers that stood up! When 97 percent of the people agree on something this important, there’s something wrong with our political system if we can’t find a solution. It’s disgusting that money and special interests are more important than our children.

Buyers have the right to go elsewhere, too.

Policy and common sense need to compliment the protection of the public within the constraints of law. Whereas law protects the publics rights. Neither are mutually exclusive or all encompassing, they should complement each other.

Almost none of the ‘mass shooter’ suspects in recent years has been under 21 or obtained their firearms illegally anyway. If you’re going to impose unconstitutional restrictions on 18-20-year-olds due to age, maybe we need to question if they are ‘old enough to vote’ too?

Taking accountability for the responsible handling of gun sales is positive step within the laws of the land. Paying close attention to persons purchasing the firearms and reporting suspected activity would also be a prudent move.

Retailers have every right to sell or not sell what they want, within the law. Their right is to be applauded, not their decision.

Responsibility, common sense, and the safety of our children should reign over special interests and politicians that line their pockets while speaking in forked tongues. We don’t want to take guns from hunters and sportsmen – we want to take assault rifles from killers. Well played, retailers!

None of the above. Retailers have the right to decide what they will sell and how they will sell it. If they want to put restrictions on guns or not sell them at all, that is absolutely their right. However, I can’t say that I “applaud” a decision to do that. While everyone wants to make these issues about guns, there are so many other, realistic things we can do to prevent these tragedies. Putting restrictions on firearms, or completely outlawing them is a “knee-jerk”, “feel good” response, that will do nothing. Thousands of illegal weapons come into this country every year. Passing a law to “ban” guns, won’t stop that. It also won’t make all of the guns that are already out there, just “disappear”. Guns will ALWAYS be around. Let’s make some realistic and common-sense decisions. Why don’t we have controlled access with metal detectors at every school? Why don’t we have armed guards at every school, like banks, federal buildings, etc.? Again, while I don’t agree with these decisions by retailers, I certainly agree that they have the right to make that choice.

Changing the age to buy a firearm does nothing to stop criminals, who are breaking the law in the first place.

If our government can’t figure it out why not have responsible corporate citizens make a stand to cease the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. I do applaud their courage knowing the fallout means lost revenue. Lost revenue or lost lives – you choose.

Retailers have every right to dictate who they will and will not sell to, as long as it is within the bounds of the law. People and customers need to straighten up and fly right – and be responsible for their own actions. The real problem: our court system. Crimes need to be punished accordingly and we as a country need to stop soft-soaping drugs, theft and all of those other crimes that the democrats want defined as “petty”. Crime is not petty. Start prosecuting the offenders, help parents keep their own kids safe and sane and make everyone accountable for their own actions. It has to start there. Retailers’ decisions will impact customers, and thus the bottom line, but it won’t make us any more or less safe. Prosecutors need to get on board.

My full (and personal) belief is: “NO they shouldn’t because most gun owners are responsible and they should wait until new laws are passed, but YES, they totally have the right to do so.” Let’s all analyze the real profitability that these sales had in any of these retailers making this shift before they are applauded as great humanitarian companies. If the financials substantiated the continued sales of these types of weapons they would not be making these moves. These are businesses. If cigarettes had increased profit margins and mitigated shrink they would be brought back to many of retailers that had previously banned the sales for moral reasons. They can do whatever they want, but claiming they are doing it for ethical/moral reasons is inappropriate. I would be happy to be proven wrong, but the potential for declining sales from the ‘left’ or inauspicious sales from the ‘right’ is the real motivator.

As much as I respect the rights as a private company to decide what they want to or don’t want to sell, I have the right as a consumer to never shop there again.

It depends on the type of retailer. Private retailers have the right to restrict sales however they wish. It gets grayer with public retailers, who have a responsibility to their shareholders first. That being said, in this social media focused work of public shaming we live in, it may behoove all retailers to stay on the good side of social media followers, as that has been a driving force with brand appearance as of late.


Do you have any additional thoughts? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below.


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Breaking News in the Industry: March 16, 2018

$104K meat heist leads to monster cargo theft ring; 11 men arrested, over $1M in stolen goods seized

Nearly a dozen men have been arrested in a cargo theft trafficking ring that used stolen tractor-trailers to move more than $1 million in goods meant for retailers across the country to a New Jersey warehouse, where they were held until they could be sold domestically or overseas, officials said Wednesday. The five-month investigation, dubbed “Operation Botany Strike,” began Oct. 14, when detectives from the New Jersey State Police Interstate Theft North Unit began looking into the theft of a tractor-trailer, which contained $104,000 worth of meat, from a trucking lot in South Amboy. Troopers found the abandoned tractor-trailer later that day at the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike and began following leads, which ultimately uncovered the organized theft ring.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives found the thieves would transport stolen tractor-trailers from various jurisdictions throughout New Jersey to specific locations within a warehouse in Passaic. That facility served as the predominant location where the suspects would load and offload stolen cargo, as well as store the stolen tractor-trailers, officials said. Detectives also identified secondary locations in Little Ferry and Secaucus that served similar functions. Ultimately, 16 loads of stolen cargo were recovered from 10 national retailers. The seized cargo ranged from clothing and granite to home goods, landscaping equipment and food products, officials said. The suspects range in age from 26 to 60 and all live in northern New Jersey. They all face charges of receiving stolen property and conspiracy; one also faces a charge of fencing, which means knowingly buying stolen goods in order to later resell them for profit.    [Source: NBC4 New York]

2 job applicants linked to $1M theft at marine store

Investigators say two men posing as job applicants are connected to a crew of thieves who stole $1 million worth of equipment from a Florida marine supply store. Broward Sheriff’s spokeswoman Joy Oglesby tells local news outlets that the burglary was carried out over a dozen visits during a weekend in January. The sheriff’s office released a video of men in hopes that someone will recognize them. She says the men applied for jobs Jan. 5. Later that night, thieves broke into a rear cargo door. Surveillance video shows the two applicants walking through the warehouse. Tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.  [Source: WFTV9 News]

Off-Duty jail deputy assists in catching alleged shoplifter

An off-duty Chelan County Jail Deputy in Washington state helped catch an alleged shoplifter Monday in Wenatchee. Police Department spokesman, Captain Edgar Reinfeld says the deputy was at the Albertson’s grocery store at around 5:25 in the afternoon when he apparently witnessed the shoplifting and followed the 62-year-old suspect out of the store and into the parking lot. Reinfeld says the deputy appeared to be uninjured in the scuffle with the suspect, 62-year-old Marcus Jaramillo of Wenatchee. He says it is not uncommon for an off-duty cop to intervene when they observe a crime in progress.

“There is no requirement under law or policy even for Wenatchee Police to take action on something like this off-duty, though you would find that in general we may,” Reinfeld said. He says the Wenatchee Police Department sets guidelines for how officers should handle such situations. “Police officers, especially when you’re inside your own jurisdiction, obviously you have authority at all times to make contact and make an arrest,” Reinfeld said. “We certainly hope and by policy encourage but don’t require the carry of restraint and a firearm off-duty along with your badge and I.D. but it’s not required,” Reinfeld said. “We do have a policy that says you cannot be held liable for not taking action off-duty which is not really contradictory to the other policy but all tied together it does leave a lot of discretion to the individual about how to act.”  [Source: NCW Life]

Suspects in lingerie heist crash while fleeing the store

A California man and woman suspected of stealing about $7,500 worth of clothes from Victoria’s Secret were arrested after they flipped their car over while driving in the wrong direction in Menlo Park, Palo Alto police said yesterday. Dreamius Lamont Jones, 22 and Tammara Jalores Malika Roberts, 21, both of Oakland, allegedly scooped up dozens of sweatshirts and sweatpants from the lingerie store at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto sometime on Friday (March 9). A Palo Alto police officer driving in the area while on routine patrol allegedly saw the two running from the mall along with another woman who is still at large. After the trio allegedly jumped into a car registered to Jones, the officer tried to pull them over, but they sped off. The officer got behind the car and watched as it allegedly merged into the bike lane. The cop turned on his lights and siren and followed as the car ran a red light, going almost 75 mph. Once the car crossed into Menlo Park, it allegedly crossed all lanes of traffic and drove over the center median into oncoming traffic. At that time, the officer stopped the pursuit out of concern for public safety and continued in his own lane.As he made a U-turn to head back to Victoria’s Secret to take a report from employees, a citizen flagged him down to alert him that Jones and Roberts had hit another car. The other car had been heading south  when Jones and Roberts allegedly hit his car, flipping their own car on its passenger side. No injuries were reported.   [Source: Daily Post]

Maryland man accused of wielding knife, threatening employees in series of armed robberies

A Maryland man has been charged with a series of armed robberies and burglaries over the past three months in Gaithersburg and Derwood, according to Montgomery County police. Anthony Paul Mackie, 27, was charged with 10 commercial burglaries and three armed robberies, during which he allegedly wielded a knife and threatened employees, according to police.   The burglaries and robberies occurred between Dec. 2 and March 3. Mackie allegedly robbed the Redmill Beer and Wine store, B & B Beer & Wine store, and a 7-Eleven store according to a police press release. He allegedly stole from other Gaithersburg, Derwood and Montgomery Village businesses, including restaurants, auto repair stores and a nail salon. The crime spree came to an end when police officers saw him attempting to steal from Redmill Beer and Wine a third time on March 3 at 5:30 a.m., according to police. They arrested him at the scene. Mackie is facing three armed robbery charges and 20 other charges related to burglary, theft and destruction of property, according to court records. He is being held in the Montgomery County Detention Center.  [Source: Bethesda Magazine]

California lawmaker wants to crack down on organized retail theft by making it a felony

A state assemblyman wants to create a new felony offense to penalize organized retail theft, a crime some have called an unintended consequence of a 2014 ballot initiative that reduced drug possession and some theft crimes to misdemeanors. Under Proposition 47, a theft crime has to involve $950 worth of property in a single incident to rise to a felony. That threshold, some retailers have said, allows members of organized crime rings to steal from multiple stores, or from the same store numerous times a day, without facing tougher punishment. Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) first proposed a change last year by asking voters to amend Proposition 47 — which passed with 60% approval — making it a felony to steal $950 worth of property in a year. But after much debate, his legislation was shelved in February in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Now its chairman, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), is pushing a bill of his own to tackle the problem. His legislation would make it a crime to work with others to steal goods or buy stolen goods with the intent to sell, exchange or return the merchandise. Under the proposal, organized retail theft would fall under a category of crimes known as “wobblers,” meaning prosecutors are able to charge them as misdemeanors or felonies depending on severity. Jones-Sawyer said his bill, unlike the previous proposal, would address concerns from store owners without stepping back from the overall goal of the voter initiative: to stop counties from incarcerating people for minor or petty crimes that are sometimes tied to mental health or drug abuse issues. Criminals “are going to get together and figure out loopholes…. It doesn’t escape me that is happening, and I am very sensitive to that,” Jones-Sawyer said. “But I also am very concerned [that] we don’t do a shotgun method, where we just lock up everybody.”  [Source: Los Angeles Times]

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Is ORC on the Rise? Just Ask Your Store Associates.

If organized retail crime (ORC) continues to plague retailers as recent studies indicate, why are some retailers cutting their ORC investigative staff and seemingly losing their focus on preventing store loses and protecting their store associates and customers?

In the January-February 2018 issue of LP Magazine, author Garett Seivold penned the article “ORC is Worrisome, Worsening…And at Risk of Becoming Ignored?” Seivold noted that a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) ORC study indicated that retailers reported a “30 percent significant increase in ORC” while “7 percent said ORC decreased during the same time.”

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Now Is Not the Time to Lose Focus

From this author’s perspective, there is little doubt that ORC activity is in fact rising. While the NRF study certainly supports this assertion, corporate retail executives need only go into their stores to find this out first hand from their associates who are on the front lines daily battling this rising crime trend. It is in the stores that the even more concerning question of Servold’s article title becomes painfully relevant. Is ORC at risk of being ignored?

Most retailers will tell you that their company’s focus on shrink is cyclical. Shrink usually has to rise to an unacceptable internal level before senior company leadership focus on it. While there are some savvy retail executives who understand the delicate dance between driving sales and maintaining a healthy level of shrink, many executives don’t include the “S” word in their strategies for improving their company’s P&L.

As most are aware, shrink comes in many forms. ORC is just one of those forms. It has been argued that in the vast majority of retail environment, ORC is not the primary driver of store shrink. In grocery store environments, for example, perishable or fresh shrink typically holds the title of the top cost driver of shrink loss.

The importance of looking at all the components of store shrink or “total retail loss” as described by Professor Adrian Beck of the University of Leicester can’t be underestimated. As brick-and-mortar retail profits become even more pressured by e-commerce, the profitable retailers will be the ones who can incorporate the ideology of addressing total retail loss as part of their daily operational strategy.

Protecting Store Associates and Customers

If ORC is only a piece of the total retail loss equation, and in many cases not the driving loss leader, what is the concern about the loss of focus or even the acknowledgement of ORC as a shrink contributor? The answer is ORC impacts much more than loss of store merchandise and missed sales due to out of stocks. More importantly, it is about the safety of store associates and customers as well as the protection of a retailer’s brand image.

The NRF study reflected that 48 percent of respondents were seeing increased aggression exhibited by ORC thieves. Store associates and customers are in the direct line of fire, sometimes literally, of this aggressive behavior. This sobering reality should take the option of ignoring ORC off the table. But has it?

As noted above, the cyclical nature on the focus of addressing shrink practiced by many retailers can have a negative impact on controlling ORC losses. Plus, budget cuts are forcing some retailers to disband their ORC investigative units. The same budget cut challenges are also accounting for a reduction in law enforcement resources dedicated to address ORC activity.

To compound these investigative resource headwinds, legislative efforts across the nation have also played a critical role in hamstringing the efforts by retailers, law enforcement, and prosecutors in combatting ORC. The infamous Proposition 47 legislation that was passed in California set the standard for several states to follow-up suit and raise their felony threshold for retail theft offenses. Now many California citizens are seeing that some components of Proposition 47, like raising the retail theft threshold, were not such a good idea. Property crime has soared in many areas of the state because the same ORC recidivist offenders who were previously jailed for stealing from retailers are free to steal from the community at large.

Retail and Law Enforcement Must Partner

It appears obvious that ORC is a clear and present danger. If left unchecked, it is going to continue to grow in frequency, increasing the danger for store associates and customers as well as negatively impacting retail sales and profitability. The time has never been more critical for the retail industry and law enforcement to align on how to combat ORC in these challenging times.

If, as industry experts state, the most effective way to impact ORC offenders is with retailers and law enforcement working together to share intelligence and prosecute offenders, then it is time for a new, innovative approach to ensure these vital partnerships are not only in place but also are consistently used to their full potential to break the cycle of recidivist retail crime to promote safer stores and lower crime in the community.

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What Happened to Toys “R” Us?

September 2017: Toys “R” Us declares bankruptcy.

Early 2018: Toys “R” Us announces the closure of 180 stores.

February 2018: Toys “R” Us announces the closure of 200 more stores.

March 2018: Speculation abounds that Toys “R” Us will close all US stores and liquidate.

March 14, 2018: Toys “R” Us announces that it will close or sell all 800 of its US stores.

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I would bet that everyone reading this article has either shopped at Toys “R” Us or received a gift from Toys “R” Us. Founded in 1957 and morphing into its current format in about 1969, Toys “R” Us became the first mega “category killer” toy store. Most kids in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties begged their parents to take them to Toys “R” Us. I know; I was one of those parents. The Toys “R” Us dominance of the toy market made small toy stores and hobby shops almost obsolete. Even KB Toys couldn’t keep up.

So, what happened? What went wrong? Some say bad planning. Some say bad luck. Probably both, but the real beginning of the end was the leveraged buy out of Toys “R” Us in 2005 by Bain Capital and KKR & Co. That leveraged buyout resulted in a staggering debt load of $6.6 billion for the company. This resulted in management distraction and put Toys “R” Us in a constant refinancing mode.

The tremendous growth in competition from Amazon and Walmart made things worse. With much deeper pockets, both retail giants began heavy discounting of toy prices to get parents to switch loyalties.

Then, add kids’ changing tastes to the mix. Toys “R” Us said “kids never want to grow up.” That may be partly true, but online video gaming and phone apps have taken a huge chunk out of the physical toy market. The financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 didn’t help matters.

The irony is that Toys “R” Us still sells millions and millions of dollars’ worth of toys, and toy sales rose 5 percent last year. But continued aggressive competition and the Toys “R” Us financial difficulties have taken their toll. Toys “R” Us continuing as a going concern is in doubt by most of the financial community. But there’s still hope. As of this writing, Toys “R” Us has officially announced the company’s liquidation, but it’s working on a possible plan to keep about 200 of its most profitable US stores open, according to CNBC. Can they make it? Maybe. Plans continue to evolve, and as of now, it’s unclear when exactly the doors will close.

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Breaking News in the Industry: March 15, 2018

California Highway Patrol program catches L.A. cargo crooks

The California Highway Patrol Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) in February arrested 15 members of a suspected theft crew in Los Angeles County following a seven-month investigation of organized commercial burglary. The total value of the stolen cargo was more than $1 million. Those arrested are alleged to have spent their days driving through industrial areas looking for merchandise, according to CTIP. At night they would return to likely spots, cutting holes into warehouse doors and loading stolen products into vans. Some businesses made the suspects’ jobs easier by leaving pallets of merchandise outside for quick pickup and delivery. The thieves targeted boxes of clothing, shoes, cosmetics and electronics and sold some of the merchandise to a Long Beach, California, couple. The CTIP said it expects to make more arrests in the case. The suspects were charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property. California formed the CTIP program in 1994. Security directors from such organizations as the Western States Cargo Theft Association, California Trucking Association and National Cargo and Security Council Transportation meet with law enforcement monthly to discuss recent trends, losses, suspects and active investigations.   [Source: Transport Topics]

Casino employee arraigned in Easter promotion scheme

A former host at Mohegan Sun Pocono casino in Pennsylvania accused of participating in a scheme to rig an Easter sweepstakes in 2014 was arraigned Tuesday. Kenneth Rowlands, 32, of Kingston, surrendered before District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. on charges of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy to participate in a rigged contest. Spagnuolo arraigned Rowlands at Luzerne County Central Court and released him on $15,000 unsecured bail. Rowlands was accompanied by his attorney, Peter Moses. Authorities allege Rowlands was in on the scheme that involved two other casino employees — Robert Joseph Pellegrini, 52, a former vice president of player development, and Colin Ray Boecker, 32 — plus casino patron Mark Heltzel. According to criminal complaints: Boecker set up the Easter sweepstakes, which offered patrons the opportunity to select plastic eggs that contained cash prizes and free slot credits. Rowlands had to make sure Heltzel was made aware that a certain egg contained the grand prize of $10,000, which he picked on April 27, 2014. Heltzel then gave some of the cash to Pellegrini, Boecker and Rowlands. Boecker, of Tonawanda, New York, and Pellegrini are facing similar charges. They have not been arraigned.Heltzel, 53, of Dallas, has not been charged in this case, but pleaded guilty in another. The alleged contest rigging happened before Pellegrini was involved another scheme with Heltzel and former casino waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj, 40, of Kingston. Pellegrini, Heltzel and Poszeluznyj were charged in 2016 in the scheme that ran from May 2014 to April 2015 and involved the theft of personal identification numbers, or PINs, from gamblers. The numbers were then used to create duplicate rewards cards with $478,000 in free play credits. Heltzel gambled with the cards and split the winnings with Pellegrini and Poszeluznyj who stole the PINs. Heltzel was sentenced last August to 18 months in federal prison. Poszeluznyj was sentenced to six months on house arrest and two years on probation.[Source: Times Leader]

Toys ‘R’ Us will sell or close all US stores, according to CEO

Toys “R” Us is set to file liquidation papers Wednesday (March 14) evening in advance of a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday, reported The Record. Toys “R” Us CEO David Brandon spoke about the company’s fate to employees in a conference call, calling it a sad day, according to the report. He also said the brand would be missed. However, the decision to liquidate might not sink the retailer totally. CNBC reported that the toy giant is eyeing one plan that would keep some stores open ever after it liquidates the company. Under the proposal, the company would sell its stronger Toys “R” Us Canadian division, along with some 200 of its most profitable US stores, to a new buyer. Although there is no definite buyer yet, there are several circulating, according to CNBC. Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy in September, currently has more than 700 remaining US locations, between its namesake and Babies “R” Us banners. In related developments, the U.K. arm of Toys “R” Us on Wednesday announced it will be closing its store base within six weeks. [Source: Chain Store Age]

Man robs JCPenney store, threatens LP associate with knife

Police in San Antonio, Texas, arrested a 33-year-old man after he allegedly robbed a JCPenney and threatened a loss prevention associate with a knife. Investigators say Roland Pena was caught on camera stuffing a pair of jeans inside a shopping bag at South Park Mall on SW Military Drive around 1 p.m. on February 22nd and then putting on a new pair of shoes before walking toward the elevator. A police affidavit states Pena was confronted by a loss prevention associate, who said Pena took off the shoes but kept the jeans in the bag. Investigators say Pena pulled out a knife as he walked toward the store exit and told the LP associate to stop following him. Pena has been charged with aggravated robbery. [Source: News4SA]

Retail jobs increased by over 46,000 in February

Retail industry employment increased by 46,400 jobs in February over January, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, the economy added 313,000 jobs, the Labor Department said. “This substantial gain in retail jobs is a significant positive sign regarding the health and viability of the industry,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “It is stronger than expected and there were broad gains across most retail sectors. Beyond retail, labor markets continued to strengthen in all industries in February, and more jobs throughout the economy will mean more consumers shopping in retail stores. With tax reform in effect, consumer confidence increasing and strong underlying economic fundamentals, 2018 is off to a good start and we expect a prosperous year ahead.”The February increase was more than four times the gain of 10,800 jobs seen in January over December. The three-month moving average in February showed an increase of 10,600 jobs.

General merchandise stores were up by 17,700 jobs, fueled mostly by gains at warehouse and supercenter stores, while clothing and accessories stores were up by 14,900 jobs and building materials stores were up by 10,300 jobs. There were declines totaling 5,400 jobs spread across health and personal care, sporting goods and miscellaneous stores. Kleinhenz noted that retail job numbers reported by the Labor Department do not provide an accurate picture of the industry because they count only employees who work in stores while excludng retail workers in other parts of the business such as corporate headquarters, distribution centers, call centers and innovation labs. Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in February increased by 68 cents – 2.6 percent – year over year. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged for the fifth straight month. [Source: Business Wire]

ATM debit card fraud hit 10 percent in 2017

A new report has revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in the number of payment cards compromised at US ATMs and merchants in 2017. “The number of compromises and the number of card members impacted set a new record last year,” said TJ Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO. “While most devices are safe, fraudsters are developing new technology and methods for hacking ATMs. This is why it’s important for consumers to be cautious when withdrawing cash, and also for them to check their account regularly and confirm that all the transactions on their debit card are legitimate.”The data – which is taken from the FICO Card Alert Service that monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs and other readers in the US – also showed that compromised card readers at US ATMs, restaurants and merchants went up 8 percent in 2017.

ATM hacks have proven to be a real concern for consumers and financial institutions. Earlier this year, Diebold Nixdorf and NCR Corporation – the two biggest ATM makers in the world – warned that hackers are going after ATM machines in the US with tools that can force the machines to spit out cash. A confidential alert was sent to banks from the U.S. Secret Service that hackers are targeting standalone ATMs that are usually found in drug stores, big-box retailers and drive-thru ATMs. And while financial institutions are launching cardless ATM transactions in which customers can use their mobile phones to withdraw money, Krebs on Security found that feature can be hacked, with criminals using stolen bank account usernames and passwords to quietly take cash out of ATMs. In its report, FICO offered tips to keep payment card info safe, including staying away from an ATM that looks odd, or where your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly; avoiding an ATM if anyone is hanging around nearby; calling your bank immediately if your card is captured inside of an ATM; requesting a new card number if you believe your card has been compromised; and checking your transactions frequently. [Source: PYMNTS]

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Safeguard Marketing and Other Unorthodox Shoplifting Prevention Techniques

In an effort to boost sales-and fueled by technology-many retailers are embracing opportunities to enhance customer engagement. They are looking to strengthen bonds with customers in ways that go beyond just offering them the products they want to buy.

Although primarily a marketing trend, this new effort also seems to be an unorthodox strategy to prevent shoplifting, suggests new research into how customer relationship building might lead to better retail security. Marketing and loss prevention have always been intertwined, but the effort to forge a closer bond with shoppers could further enmesh the two functions.

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The “showroom strategy” is one way in which retail is trying to recast the shopping experience. With it, retailers don’t lure customers with inventory but with services. Nordstrom Local, which debuted in October, is one such effort. Personal stylists assist with sizing and picking outfits, and customers can even get an in-store manicure, but orders are ultimately placed online. It’s an extreme example, but it does reflect a growing trend.

According to many retail consultants, the retailers that are on the surest track for growth are the ones that adapt their stores to meet the demands of consumers who are increasingly seeking retail ‘experiences’-and not just a place to buy merchandise.

By engaging customers with experiences, suggest marketing theorists, retailers might secure more loyal customers-an important part in the evolution of customer relationship building. In basic marketing, the focus is on transactions, with the goal of acquiring ‘customers.’ Relationship marketing goes a step farther, with a goal of customer retention, and with the aim of developing ‘clients,’ or regular customers.

But is there another step retailers can take? Is there an approach beyond transaction marketing and relationship marketing? There is a new idea that “safeguard marketing” could push the retail relationship with shoppers to the next level-beyond “customer” and “client” to “patron,” suggests a study published in the Dec. 2017 issue of the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, “Encouraging shoplifting prevention with quality relationships: A theory of planned behavior perspective.”

The proposed concept of ‘safeguard marketing’ aims to prevent loss and ensure retail safety by transforming shoppers into regular, honest, ethically behaving customers of the retail business-or ‘patrons.’ In addition to being less likely to steal themselves, when ordinary shoppers become “patrons,” they can reduce theft because they make effective informal surveillance agents. If regular customers become patrons, they can actually support retailers in their effort to smoothly and safely run their business.

What does it take to get there? At the heart of the new idea is to examine and promote relationship quality as an additional tool for shoplifting prevention techniques. “The persistent problem of shoplifting requires new managerial tools. We suggest that there is a need for greater relationship quality. This means retailers should make genuine efforts to understand relationship quality and its positive effects on shoplifting prevention,” according to the study. “Therefore, for shoplifting prevention, retail managers may consider improving relationship quality with customers…to safeguard their retail premises from shoplifting.”

Clearly, then, the current trend toward “customer engagement” and the focus on “store experiences” may have beneficial LP side effects, since it may help to enhance the retailer-customer relationship. The hypothesis is that the higher the level of retailer-customer relationship quality, the greater the likelihood that a customer will practice integrity and engage in shoplifting preventive behavior.

As for which particular aspects of new relationship marketing LP might want to advocate, there is still a lot of research and testing to do. The data isn’t in that show exactly how retailers might best harness relationship quality for shoplifting prevention. But some past studies do suggest specific antecedents of retailer-customer relationship quality that could likely impact shoplifting outcomes. These are factors that LP leaders should assess, as they can increase or decrease the quality of relationships-and thus theft.

1. Retailer’s participation in corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing activities. Research shows that corporate social responsibility enhances customer loyalty by providing a platform to contribute to a particular social cause that is important to them. Researchers suggest it can also be an important step in developing “patrons.” “We expect that a retailer’s participation in corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing activities positively influences retailer-customer relationship which ultimately stimulates customer’s integrity and shoplifting preventive behavior.”

2. Retailer’s service quality. There are various factors affecting customers’ shopping experience that impact both customer satisfaction as well as their perception of service fairness, trust, and commitment. As such, it is another critical variable of relationship quality that could be leveraged to reduce theft, suggest researchers. “We expect that a retailer’s service quality positively influences retailer-customer relationship which ultimately stimulates customer’s integrity and shoplifting preventive behavior.”

3. Customer’s bond with retailer’s place. As the result of their experience within a physical space, people can form attachments with physical entities, including retail stores. Positive association with a space can help enhance relationship quality, which may encourage shoplifting prevention.

With new technology as a driving force, retail is moving toward more experience-oriented and personalized customer engagement. While it’s not exactly clear how these new marketing strategies may support loss prevention, it seems that they could serve as a new approach to shoplifting prevention techniques. Formal surveillance measures such as installing surveillance equipment and staff training will always be necessary, but research suggests that there is also LP opportunity by enhancing relationships with shoppers and turning them into “patrons.”

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Breaking News in the Industry: March 14, 2018

Officer accused of stealing vacuum cleaner, instant oatmeal during off-duty security job

A Maryland police officer stole a Dyson vacuum cleaner, instant oatmeal and two boxes of condoms during his off-duty security job at a Walmart store, according to Montgomery County Police officials and a statement of charges the department filed Sunday. The officer, Jose A. Barahona, 25, of Silver Spring, took the items during “a continuing course of conduct” in the store in Germantown, according to court filings, which also state that store surveillance video shows that Barahona took additional, unknown items going back to late last year. The officer, who joined the Montgomery County force four years ago, most recently worked patrol in the county’s Wheaton District. He has been suspended from duty, with pay, pending “the completion of this investigation and future court action,” police officials said in a statement.
Barahona faces three misdemeanor counts: theft scheme ranging from $100 to $1,500; theft in that same range; and theft under $100. He could not be immediately reached for comment. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney. “This was a series of horrible decisions by the officer,” said Capt. Paul Starks, police spokesman. “We are taking this case seriously and will investigate it to its fullest.”The investigation of Barahona began in February, when a Walmart loss prevention associate, who suspected that Barahona was stealing, contacted Montgomery County Police, according to court records. Sgt. Robert Rollins went to the store, spoke with the employee and watched surveillance video. He recognized his colleague on the video, according to court filings. [Source: The Washington Post]

C-store employee stole more than $14,000

In Pennsylvania, an employee at the Centre Hall Snappy’s Convenience Store is facing charges after allegedly stealing more than $14,000 in money deposits she was responsible for making on behalf of the store. Snappy’s accounting department reported to the district store manager on Dec. 20 that a daily deposit had not been made since Dec. 11. The district manager then contacted Tracy L. Addleman, 40, who was responsible for making the daily deposits, and Addleman couldn’t explain why they had not been made. On Dec. 21, the district manager told state police that she retrieved the daily deposit prepared by Addleman, but found it was $258 short. When confronted by the district manager and a human resources staff member about the missing deposits, Addleman only said that she was keeping them in her car but that the money wasn’t currently there, according to a criminal complaint. After being told she had one last chance to get the money, Addleman allegedly went to her car and returned with four Ziploc bags containing about $1,800 in cash. Three of the bags had deposit slips stating greater amounts than were inside the bags. The district manager told police that in total Addleman was responsible for the loss of $14,101.22 over more than a week. Addleman was charged with felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property. She was arraigned on Monday before District Judge Thomas Jordan and released on $20,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 21.  [Source: StateCollege.com]

Shoplifting suspect was carrying drugs, loaded gun

Canton Ohio Police say the young man who left a local Walmart store without paying for a cellphone accessory was carrying a loaded gun and bags of illegal drugs. Dustin Keith, 30, who has no permanent address, was arrested at the store at 3200 Atlantic Blvd. NE at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, theft, possession of a controlled substance and drug possession, according to Stark County Jail records. Canton police reports show that he was carrying “a concealed handgun with an inserted magazine containing ammunition” when he left the store without paying for the accessory. He also had two bags containing undisclosed amounts of cocaine and marijuana.Keith remained in the jail later Tuesday afternoon, held in lieu of $52,000 bond pending a Canton Municipal Court hearing.  [Source: CantonRep]

Shoplifting arrest after 10-mile car chase, crash

A Folsom, California, man is facing charges of shoplifting and evading law enforcement after a tool theft from North Auburn’s Home Depot led to a wild car chase that ended when it crashed through a fence into a Newcastle home’s front yard, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported. Stephen Daniel Crawford was arrested at Wednesday’s crash scene in Newcastle and spent a day behind bars before being released Thursday. A photo released by the Sheriff’s Office shows a banged up sedan behind a fence next to a house, with oranges from a nearby tree knocked onto the ground. Crawford, 19, was reported by staff to be stealing power tools from the North Auburn home improvement store at 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office said. Employees supplied dispatchers with vehicle and suspect descriptions, and deputies were able to quickly locate the suspect car a short distance away from the store. Deputies attempted to get the driver to pull the car over to the side of the highway but the suspect took off, the Sheriff’s Office said. The vehicle pursuit continued through Auburn to Interstate 80 and then toward Newcastle, where the suspect exited.After an estimated 10 miles of driving with a law-enforcement tail, the suspect ended up crashing the car through a fence and into the yard of a home. He sustained minor injuries and was medically checked at a hospital before being booked into the Placer County Jail, the Sheriff’s Office reported. [Source: Dayton Auburn Journal]

Police say suspect stole over $10,000 from local retailer

A major theft case involving a large amount of merchandise stolen in November from the Coldwater Meijer store has resulted in the arrest of a suspect taken into custody last week. 36-year old Derek Butler of Coldwater surrendered at the Branch County Jail Friday and was arraigned in Branch County District Court on 3 counts of first degree retail fraud and also on a child support charge. According to Coldwater City Police, the items with an estimated value of $10,000 were reported stolen on November 23 and November 29, 2017. The surveillance camera at Meijer spotted the license plate on the car used in the thefts and allowed police eventually to learn where Butler lived.
A search warrant signed in early February allowed officers to enter the suspect’s home on West Chicago Street where they found much of the merchandise including TV’s, computers, electronic games, drones and children’s toys. Police also said items taken from the Walmart store in Coldwater were discovered at Butler’s residence.
Butler’s bond was set at $30,000, ten percent allowed, and Butler is due back in Branch County District Court for a probable cause hearing March 15, 2018.  [Source: WTVB4 News]

Retailers using third-party company to lock returns

Major retailers, including Best Buy, JCPenny, Victoria’s Secret and a variety of others, have been tracking the return habits of shoppers and secretly punishing those who are suspected it be abusing return policies. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the retailers are making use of the services of a third-party company, The Retail Equation, that keeps a running tally of all returns made by each customer in order to prevent potential fraud. The Retail Equation, which is based in Irvine, California, claims on its website to be responsible for approving nearly 610 million returns. The company also claims to approve over 99 percent of all returns. Retail fraud is a legitimate issue for retailers. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, retailers estimate about 11 percent of all sales are returned and about 11 percent of those returns are believed to be fraudulent. However, it appears that in some cases, The Retail Equation may crack down on the wrong customers.  According to consumers, the service being utilized by a number of major retailers is not as generous as it claims. One Best Buy customer, Jake Zakhar, reported that he was banned from making a return with the chain for a year due to previous returns tracked by The Retail Equation. “There should be no secret databases. That’s a basic rule of privacy practices,” Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the Public Interest Research Group, told the Associated Press regarding The Retail Equation. “Consumers should know that information is being collected about them.” [Source: International Business Times]

The post Breaking News in the Industry: March 14, 2018 appeared first on LPM.

Suspect Tries to Run over Elderly Woman after Being Caught Shoplifting

A man has been charged with a hit-and-run that he allegedly committed back in August of 2017. According to a criminal complaint, Perry H Brooks, 51, of Racine, Wisconsin, hit an 85-year-old woman with his car after the victim saw Brooks shoplifting. According to the complaint the victim witnessed the shoplifting at the Dollar Tree in the Village of Mt. Pleasant and reported it to staff. “Witnesses then state that [the victim] left the store, and while standing on the curb, the suspect entered his vehicle to strike [the victim], shaking his fists at her, and then turned causing the back of the vehicle to strike [the victim], causing her to fall to the curb,” said the criminal complaint. Authorities said in the complaint video showed that the car never slowed down as Brooks allegedly drove it towards the victim. The victim was transported to the hospital with knee pain. A witness identified brooks in October of 2017. [Source: TMJ4 News]

The post Suspect Tries to Run over Elderly Woman after Being Caught Shoplifting appeared first on LPM.

ADT Announces Acquisition of Acme Security Systems

ADT has recently announced the completed acquisition of Acme Security Systems. Acme will join forces with recently acquired Aronson Security Group (ASG) to further drive commercial growth and expansion.

Headquartered in San Francisco and founded in 1974, Acme is among the largest privately held security systems integrators in the Bay Area, focusing on electronic security systems, access control, video networks and more.

“ADT and Acme have a shared vision for exceptional service, and this alliance not only enhances our leadership in the market, but substantially extends our service capabilities for our valued customers,” said ADT President Jim DeVries. “We’re thrilled to welcome the talented Acme team members as contributors in a significant chapter of ADT’s history.”

“For our employees to unite with one of the most successful and recognizable security brands in history is a true honor,” added Steve Harris, founder of Acme Security Systems. “ADT believes in their ability to provide unparalleled service to the commercial and national account market, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Together, we’ll be able to provide significant value for current and future customers.”

For more information, visit news.adt.com.

The post ADT Announces Acquisition of Acme Security Systems appeared first on LPM.

The Cyber Security Incident Response Plan: AP’s Role

What is the role of the asset protection department in the event of a cyber incident? It’s true that IT is typically in charge of the bulk of the prevention methods, such as firewalls, endpoint security monitoring, network device configuration, and so on. But an effective cyber security incident response plan should extend beyond IT and into other organizational departments—including AP.

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Don’t become another data breach statistic. Get our FREE Special Report, Data Security:  Data Loss Prevention Best Practices and Proven Policies to Combat Data Breaches right now!

Tom Meehan, CFI, contributing writer, exhorts asset protection professionals to reframe their thinking in a recent article for LPM Online. Since the core responsibilities for cyber event prevention commonly fall under the realm of IT, he suggests, then it behooves AP professionals in a retail organization to learn how they can help respond to an incident when it arises. Investigations are one such example. From the article:

It’s Friday, and you are the vice president of AP. You get a phone call from your organization’s chief information security officer (CISO). You have never received such a call before. He or she tells you about an unauthorized device detected on a computer in one of your stores. The IT team can perform an investigation from a cyber‐forensic standpoint and needs your help to do the physical investigation. You are officially involved in the cyber incident and asked to investigate it. The CISO says anyone involved in the investigation must sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) and work directly with the chief privacy officer (CPO) and CISO of the company before taking any actions.

Much like any investigation, you gather the facts from the CISO. In this example, someone plugged a keylogging device into a computer in a hiring center. A keylogger is a keystroke‐logging (or keyboard‐ capturing) device or software that records everything typed on a keyboard, generally covertly. Data can then be retrieved.

Now you have the facts, and you start your investigation with a quick evidence assessment and acquisition: is there video, access or alarm logs, time‐clocking info, or Wi‐Fi login info? In this case, you happen to have an excellent video of the person placing the keylogging device on the computer. The suspect works for the company. You create a report in conjunction with your CISO and CPO. The decision is made to interview the suspect. In this case, the suspect admits to trying to steal info from the computer. Luckily, the prevention methods blocked the device from working, and no information was vulnerable.

Check out “Stop Trying to Prevent a Cyber Incident and Start Planning for One” from the February 2018 issue of LPM Online to learn more and read the top five things to consider when you’re investigating a cyber incident.

If you’ve missed any of our previous LPM Online editions, go to the Archives page at the end of the February 2018 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 for a FREE subscription. (Note: if you’re already subscribed, the previous link will take you to the current issue of the print magazine.)

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