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 January 8, 2016

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Developing Tomorrow's
LP Leaders, Today

John Voytilla, VP Global LP & Safety, Office Depot



New Perspectives
on the National Retail
Security Survey

Dr. Richard Hollinger, criminology professor at Univ. of Florida, lead author of the NRSS



Keys to Collaboration:
Building Effective Public-Private Sector Partnerships

Joe LaRocca, RetaiLPartners; Eric Ives, Unit Chief International ORC Task Forces, FBI; Cpt. John Romero and Det. Joe Hopkins, LAPD Commercial Crimes Division


View all episodes here




 




























































































































































































































































































































































































































How PGA Tour Superstore drove video and CCTV improvement
For Atlanta-based, 24-store specialty golf retailer PGA Tour Superstore, getting a better store-level view has meant starting to upgrade a legacy analog video management system (VMS) to a modern IP-based VMS.

"I joined PGA Tour Superstore about 12 months ago and analyzed the infrastructure from a security and loss prevention perspective," said Kevin Thomas, global director of loss prevention, asset and risk management, said in an interview with Chain Store Age. "I identified an opportunity to upgrade the VMS platform. We had a major footprint that was analog-based, and I decided to seek ways to pursue modernization."

Already using electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags and technology from loss prevention solutions provider USS, Thomas decided it would be practical to use VMS and closed-circuit television (CCTV) technology offered by USS as well. The retailer selected the supplier's NDVision solution, which automatically manages the conversion of analog video systems to an IP-based digital video system.

"We wanted the consistency of services from one vendor," explained Thomas. "We avoided incurring the cost of retrofitting all the relevant equipment."

A full retrofit of VMS and CCTV infrastructure would have cost roughly $30,000 - $35,000 per store. But the cost was considerably reduced by leveraging the existing USS install base, Thomas noted.

In September 2015, PGA Tour Superstore implemented its first NDVision system at a test location.

"We were pleased with the results," said Thomas. "Not only from a clarity standpoint, but also from a standpoint of having current video footage."

NDVision allows the retailer to store 90 days of video, where it typically could only store 30-45 days of video with its previous analog system. "Having access to more video provides a lot of benefits for incident management," commented Thomas.

Other benefits cited by Thomas include the elimination of end-of-life issues associated with older analog-based video systems. The retailer now has NDVision implemented at four stores, and will continue rollout to more stores this year.

"IP-based video has gained a lot of popularity at all the stores where it's been implemented," stated Thomas. chainstoreage.com

US Marshals raid booth at Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas to seize allegedly counterfeit hoverboards
Attendees at the CES in Las Vegas on Thursday were treated to a more dramatic sight when US Marshals marched onto the show floor to seize allegedly contraband hoverboards. A Chinese company accused of making counterfeit hoverboards was raided and forced out of its booth.

The raid was conducted at the request of a company called Future Motion, the original maker of the one-wheeled hoverboards. The report says its staff members at CES had difficulty communicating in English.

Here's the video of the raid right on the expo hall floor....

On Thursday afternoon, two U.S. federal marshals showed up at the Consumer Electronics Show to conduct a raid. As a crowd gathered, the marshals packed up a one-wheeled skateboard on display at a Chinese company's booth, as well as a sign and fliers promoting the product, and carried them away. It quickly became clear this wasn't the usual CES publicity stunt. Staffers for the company, Changzhou First International Trade Co., were stunned.

CES, the world's largest annual gadget conference taking place in Las Vegas this week, has always been full of small-bore dealers, many from China, selling products that look like something you might find in the discount bin at a Best Buy. bloomberg.com

Q&A with Shoppers World CEO on his 'Undercover' experience
with shoplifting first hand
A theft occurred at one of the stores you were working in and you were told the store had no formal security. Did this incident result in any company-wide changes?
Since the episode, to ensure our employees safety, we hired two of the country's top security and loss-prevention firms. We invested more than $1.5 million in the top loss-prevention software and surveillance. Editor's Note: They're going from 40 to 500 stores. Be on the look out for them to develop an in-house LP program. chainstoreage.com

Wal-Mart sued over sale of bullets used in Pennsylvania murders
Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, faces a lawsuit in Pennsylvania claiming store employees negligently allowed an underage, intoxicated customer to buy a box of bullets later used to commit three murders.

At no time did the Walmart defendants ... require that Robert Jourdain present appropriate and valid identification," the lawsuit says. "Nor did the defendants take any precautions to determine whether Mr. Jourdain was intoxicated."

Jourdain, then 20, walked out of the store with the bullets and handed them to Todd West, then 22, who loaded them into his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, the suit says. About 15 minutes later, West randomly shot and killed a stranger, Kory Ketrow, 22, in Easton. Twenty minutes after that, he murdered Francine Ramos, 32, and Trevor Gray, 21, in Allentown. Both of them were strangers to him.

Until recently, sellers of guns and ammunition assumed they were protected from liability by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. But last year, in a Wisconsin case, a jury found a Milwaukee gun store liable for selling a gun to a 21-year-old customer even though clerks had serious misgivings that the buyer was illegally buying the gun for someone else.The gun was later used by an 18-year-old to shoot and critically wound two police officers, who were awarded damages by the jury.

Spokesman Randy Hargrove said Wal-Mart has a policy requiring cashiers to verify ages in guns or ammo purchases, and has cash register prompts to remind them. He said the company may argue that the bullets purchased by Jourdain for West could be used in either handguns or rifles, and that the lower age limit of 18 for purchases of ammunition for rifles should apply in the case.  reuters.com

Mall of America to shoppers during lockdown: "Seek shelter in nearest store"
- BLM Protest over the holidays highlights free speech debate
- Has the shopping center replaced the town square?
On December 23, the day before Christmas Eve, the United States' largest mall moved to shut down a potentially landmark Black Lives Matter demonstration before it even really began. Management at the shopping center, Mall of America, located just outside Minneapolis, had stores lower their metal security gates about half an hour before the protest started, part of a "lockdown" that cleared shoppers from that wing of the mall. Only moments after Black Lives Matter organizers entered the mall's east rotunda, the cousin of Jamar Clark, whose death at the hands of police was the center of the protest, was led away by a throng of police. Organizers directed demonstrators to exit the mall toward the light-rail station. As protesters walked out, the mall broadcast a looping announcement in a friendly Midwestern voice: "Mall of America is now going into lockdown. Seek shelter in the nearest store, and follow employee instructions."

A year earlier, Black Lives Matter protesters were able to spend close to 90 minutes in the shopping center, chanting slogans and staging a "die in." This December, Mall of America threw its massive security and legal resources behind stifling the Black Lives Matter protest. Although the activists still managed to have mall stores shuttered during the holiday shopping period, organizers redirected the protest to the airport.

Legal arguments that free political speech should be allowed at malls center around the idea that the shopping center has replaced the town square as a place where opinions can be heard and exchanged. Besides an on-site police station, the Mall of America features an amusement park and a wedding chapel, and hosts morning walkers. The publicly funded light rail line was designed to draw residents and tourists to its doors; the mall is the line's last stop.

In a statement, Mall of America said its ban on political protests is in place to protect guest and employee safety, adding, "We respect the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly. However, the courts have affirmed our right as private property owners to prohibit demonstrations on our property."

States, however, may still decide individually that malls in their jurisdiction should allow political speech. A handful of states, including California, New Jersey, Colorado, and Massachusetts, have compelled malls to do so, at least to some extent, but more than a dozen others, including Minnesota, have held that malls are private spaces free to prevent such speech. theintercept.com


Kohl's $4M Manager OT Settlement Gets Final Approval
A New York federal judge on Wednesday granted final approval of a class and collective action settlement worth up to $4 million that resolve allegations Kohl's Department Stores Inc. misclassified managers as supervisors who were ineligible for overtime. law360.com

With Dollar Tree deal done, Family Dollar CEO to step down
Howard Levine is stepping down as chief executive of the chain on Jan. 15. Gary Philbin, president and chief operating officer of Family Dollar, will continue to lead the company. charlotteobserver.com

Finish Line announces plans to close up to 150 stores
Finish Line will close up to 25 percent of its stores over the next four years as same-store sales continue to decline. The athletic wear retailer is bringing on a new CEO next month in an effort to recharge its business. time.com

Former CEO puts together bid for American Apparel Former CEO Dov Charney has found an investor to back a rival bid for his former company
The bid is valued at more than $200 million. wsj.com

Supervalu files for possible spin off of Save-A-Lot

London: 'Heil Hitler' men attack Jewish shoppers, activists claim

UK: Man detained after Liverpool city center bomb scare



December & Holiday period Same Store Sales
Children's Place nine week period comp's up 7.3%
Signet Jewelers eight week period comp's up 4.9% with total sales up 5%
Five Below nine week period comp's up 4.1% with sales up 24%
Costco December comp's up 3%
Toys R Us December domestic comp's up 2.9% with international comp's up 5.1%
Fred's December comp's up 2.4% with total sales up 10%
Barnes & Noble nine week period - stores comp's up 1.6%, excluding NOOK
Gap December comp's down 5%, Gap Global down 2%, Banana Republic down 9%, Old Navy down 7% with net sales down 4%
The Buckle five week period comp's down 5.4% with net sales down down 4.5%
Conn's December comp's down 5.6% with total net sales up 2.5%

Quarterly Same Store Sales Results
Ruby Tuesday Q2 comp's up 0.8% with sales up 0.6%
The Container Store Q3 comp's up 0.5%, with net sales up 3.3%
Canada's Jean Coutu Group Q3 comp's up 0.1%, pharmacy up 1.6%, front-end up 2.4% with sales up 1.7%
Bed Bath & Beyond Q3 comp's down 0.4% with net sales up 0.3%


 


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Fake IRS agent scammed Deltona man out of $1,300

The PayPal Global Asset Protection Investigations team assisted the Volusia County Sheriff's Office with their investigation into the affairs and arrest of Michael Kolodin. Kolodin impersonated an IRS collections agent in order to extort money, in the form of back taxes, from multiple victims. Investigators seized credit card processing equipment, financial documents, identification cards, bank records, computer equipment, modems, routers and storage devices connected to the operation during a search of Kolodin's home. Currently Kolodin is facing only one count of organized scheme to defraud but looking to find more evidence to bring further charges in the future.

For further information on PayPal GAP Team, email inquiries to lawenforcement@paypal.com. 
 

 


 


 

J.C. Penney overcomes warm weather with enhanced omnichannel capabilities
Omni is working at Penney's with 3.9% same store sales increases
Who'll be the next VP of LP?

Less than 12 hours after Macy's shared bleak holiday results, J.C. Penney Co. said enhanced digital capabilities and strong demand for its private-label offerings helped it to produce strong holiday season same-store sales growth, which allowed the company to reaffirm its full year profit forecast.

"Although we have much work to do, our strengthened omnichannel capabilities enabled our supply chain network to process millions of jcp.com orders this season, supported by 250 stores across the country that helped fulfill online orders using in-store inventory," Ellison said. "With this level of selection, we saw more online customers take advantage of our in-store pick up option available at over 1,000 J.C. Penney stores nationwide. We look forward to capitalizing on this digital progress through 2016."

"We have much work to do," Ellison told the Wall Street Journal, noting he expects to see more good results in 2016 from investments in digital retail efforts.

Barring a major fall off in January sales, the 3.9% increase through November and December has J.C. Penney well positioned to achieve its full year outlook, which called for same-store sales growth of 4% to 5%, considering comps during the first, second and third quarters increased 3.4%, 4.1% and 6.4%, respectively.  chainstoreage.com retailcustomerexperience.com

Saks Owners Accelerate Omnichannel -
Acquire online shopping hub Gilt Groupe In $250M Deal
Hudson's Bay revealed plans to integrate Gilt.com with Saks Off 5th stores through Gilt concept stores inside the retail locations. Execs also expect traffic to increase as consumers will be able to return items purchased on Gilt to stores.

L2's 2015 Digital IQ Index®: Department Stores finds online and in-store sales are no longer divided as retailers are looking to integrate them with online-to-offline services such as in-store pickup and inventory visibility. For example, Nordstrom and Sears have introduced and are scaling "in-vehicle pickup" and Macy's allows users to check if an item they are considering for purchase in a nearby store. Omnichannel sophistication has increased; among brands tracked since 2013, real-time inventory present on product pages has jumped from 16% to 61%. chainstoreage.com l2inc.com

SuperValu Hack Victims Haven't Shown Harm, Judge Says
A Minnesota federal judge on Thursday booted multidistrict litigation involving a proposed class of SuperValu shoppers who alleged they were harmed after the supermarket chain's payment systems were hacked, saying their claims of possible future injuries were too speculative to give them standing.

U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery said that although the two 2014 data breaches affected more than 1,000 retail stores operated by SuperValu more than a year and a half ago, the only fact asserted by any of the 16 named shoppers regarding the misuse of their personal information was a single unauthorized charge suffered by one person which, given the frequency of credit card fraud, isn't even fairly traceable to the hacks incurred by the grocery store.  law360.com

ATM malware: Gang behind Euro ATM malware attacks targeted in police swoops; Romanian police have acted to end a series of malware ATM attacks carried out in Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Romania
Alleged members of an international criminal group responsible for a year-long campaign of ATM malware attacks across Europe have been rounded up, according to EU law-enforcement agency Europol. Eight people have been arrested in Romania and Moldova this week on suspicion of "causing substantial losses across Europe to the ATM industry" and inflicting at least 200,000 euros ($218,000) of damage on ATM machines located in several European countries. The gang behind the attacks used the Tyupkin Trojan, a piece of Russian-made malware identified in 2014 by Kaspersky Lab. According to Europol, the gang embarked on large-scale ATM 'jackpotting'. To use this technique, a criminal launches a Trojan via an executable file to gain control of the ATM's PIN pad and submit commands to the malware to empty the machine's cash cassettes. zdnet.com

 


 

RC Willey saves millions, reduces shrink 170% below industry average by adding Axis network cameras to its inventory tracking system


Mission
In order to fulfil its promise of same or next day delivery, home furnishings retailer, RC Willey, manages $500 million of inventory in warehouses and stores throughout the Western US. With millions of dollars of product in constant motion, tracking inventory discrepancies and investigating shrink was a challenge without video support. The company installed analog cameras to document the inventory flow, but when that system reached the end of its life, RC Willey began searching for a high resolution IP video surveillance system that could deliver better video with greater forensic value.

Solution
After lengthy on-site testing of 15 IP camera vendors, RC Willey selected Axis network cameras to track inventory in transit from its distribution centers, retail stores and delivery trucks. West Valley City, UT-based systems integrator and Axis partner, Alphacorp, was selected to undertake the installations. Advanced imaging features such as Wide Dynamic Range-Dynamic Capture provide the company with sharp, identifiable details under widely diverse lighting conditions - from vast warehouse racks to open dock bays, retail stockrooms and will-call pick-up centers. RC Willey stores the video locally at each site where it can be accessed remotely by Loss Prevention staff and other authorized personnel through a Genetec video management system.

Result
Since the Axis cameras were installed, inventory shrink has dropped significantly to 0.01 percent, a full 170 percent below the home furnishings industry average. The cameras have helped the company pinpoint the root causes of inventory discrepancies and take steps to correct their procedures. The cameras also help the company improve warehouse management best practices to prevent future inventory from going astray.

Read the full story here.
 
 


 



WG Security

The Silicon Valley has long been the world's center of technological innovation, so it should come as no surprise that WG Security is located at its very heart in San Jose, CA. Whether tackling the phenomenon of "wardrobing," preventing counterfeit online returns, taking EAS service to the next level, or developing a new solution for cylinder-shaped merchandise, WG continues to turn heads in the EAS and RFID industry with its ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking. Ed Wolfe, VP Business Development for WG, tells us how the company has been so successful at solving retailers' chronic shortage and operational problems.
 


LPNN Quick Take #2

Joe LaRocca - tech guru and "borderline Millennial" (as Amber calls him) - talks about some of the challenges and opportunities of technology in today's retail world - from live video streaming to social media.
 

Solution Providers, have a video or commercial you want to publish? Contact us.




THE BIG STORIES TO WATCH IN 2016
Prices will increase - Here comes luxury - e-retailers will cause pain

In many respects, 2015 was a year to forget for Canadian business. Are the prospects for 2016 any better? Globe reporters look at the year ahead in six key areas for Corporate Canada.

Retail
Retailers are bracing for a year of fast-paced change that could hit their bottom lines even as they raise some prices. A weak Canadian dollar will push up some import prices, although consumer resistance may force some merchants to swallow the added currency cost. At the same time, new luxury players will expand in Canada and help shake up that market amid the rise of e-commerce and shrinking physical stores. And 2016 will bring more pain for retailers in oil-squeezed provinces, particularly Alberta.
 
Merchandising sales are projected to rise 3.6 per cent in 2016, compared with an estimated 2.2 per cent in 2015 and 4.6 per cent in 2014, said retail consultant Ed Strapagiel.

"The biggest issue is still the economy - it's simply not recovering in any significant way," he said. The retail slowdown in the second half of 2015 will carry over into the first half of 2016, with some pickup by the end of the year, he predicted.

In the mall, landlords will feel the strain of empty stores in the wake of U.S. Target Corp.'s 2015 departure and other faltering retailers' closings. The changes are rapidly redefining the retail landscape as digital powerhouse Amazon.com Inc. and other e-commerce players step up their efforts while brick-and-mortar stores increasingly scale back. Retailers will need to find ways to marry their physical and digital stores and better serve the ever more important mobile customer. theglobeandmail.com

2016 Retail Sales to be better than 2015 -
Up 3.5% to 4% range vs. '15's mere 2.3% increase
In an analysis of Statistics Canada figures for up to October 2015, Strapagiel estimates total retail sales will reach $513.8 billion in 2015, a 2.3% increase from 2014. We're ending the year on a low ebb, maybe even a sour note, depending on the retailer."

The picture for 2016 is a little bit sunnier: retail sales growth should be in the 3.5% to 4.0% range, says Strapagiel. He expects 2016 to have a slow start with growth modestly accelerating as the year plays out.

This year, Canadian retailers will continue to be challenged with higher costs of imported goods due to the low Canadian dollar. However, there is a silver lining: Canadians are more likely to spend their dollars at home, and retailers can encourage more Americans to cross-border shop, says Strapagiel. marketingmag.ca

Food Prices Soaring 20% in Canada is Driving Increased Theft
Stealing meat: Grocery stores fighting shoplifters in Montreal

Grocery stores are coming up with innovative ways to stop shoplifters, and some fear the rising price of food could lead to an increase in the amount of theft.

The Food Retailers Association of Quebec estimates that $600 million worth of food is stolen from stores in Quebec each year. Meanwhile the price of food went up by 4.1 percent in 2015, and is estimated to rise by an equal amount in 2016. In dollar figures, that's about $300 more per year for a family of four.

Recently we've seen 20 percent [increases] especially in meat and they're predicting it's going to go up even more. And that's not just for meat but also for other products like fruits and vegetables and all of that," he said.

With the increase in prices comes a change in thefts from stores, with some people targetting meat. Stores have been fighting back by attaching sensors to packaging, and in some cases putting sensors inside the packages of meat prepared by grocery store butchers.

No solution is perfect, however, and Menard said thieves have been spotted ripping meat out of packages and slipping it inside plastic bags in an attempt to avoid detection. ctvnews.ca

Hudson's Bay agrees to accept gift cards from other stores
Canada's oldest retailer, The Hudson's Bay Company, announced this week it will allow consumers to trade in gift cards from other stores in order to make purchases at the Bay. Under its Gift Card Advantage program, Hudson's Bay customers will receive an offer for the cards they want to trade in, said Tiffany Bourré, the company's director of external communications.

"This program will be a first in the Canadian marketplace, as current exchange programs only offer a prorated cash equivalent," Bourré told Global News. globalnews.ca

The Canadian Push Continues
28 international retailers opened freestanding Canadian locations in 2015

 


Ottawa, CN: Peoples Jewelers robbed of over $133,000 in Smash and Grab
On 1/4/2016, at approximately 8:28 pm, a Peoples store at the Billings Bridge Plaza, in Ottawa, ON, was the victim of a smash and grab. Four male subjects entered the store and began smashing two solitaire showcases at the back of the store. The subjects were in the store for three minutes.

Edmonton, AB: One suspect in custody
after cell phone store armed robbery
Police have one man in custody after a number of armed robberies at cell phone stores in and around our city. The EPS teamed up with RCMP after a robbery at the Rogers Wireless in Leduc on December 16, 2015. Shortly after, police issued a press release asking for information on the whereabouts of one of the suspects. On Tuesday, Dawit Abraham Atsbaha turned himself into Edmonton police. The 20-year-old is facing one count each of robbery with a firearm, forcible confinement, and disguise with intent to commit robbery. He's being held in custody until he's scheduled to be in court on January 28, 2016. Police believe that two other people are involved in at least some of the robberies. 630ched.com

Saskatchewan RCMP use social media to nab robbery suspects
RCMP used social media to help find three suspects after a grocery store and gas bar was robbed in Lafleche, Sask. On Dec. 29, just after 10 p.m. an alarm went off at the store after what RCMP called a "smash and grab" style theft. Surveillance video footage showed a pickup truck ram into the side of the building and three suspects run into the store. RCMP said 52 cartons of cigarettes and a lot of hard liquor was taken from the store and thrown into the truck before it took off from the scene. After the robbery, RCMP released the surveillance video on Facebook and YouTube. Witnesses began to call the RCMP with information about the video and different parts of the crime, which RCMP said helped them identify the suspects. cbc.ca

New Brunswick: RCMP seek suspect in attempted armed robbery at McDonald's

Humboldt, Sask.: Prepaid credit cards snatched by thief at 7-Eleven

Okotoks, AB: RCMP Looking For Suspect In New Years Day Mac's Robbery

Clinton, BC: RCMP Looking for Grocery store Armed Robbery Suspect

Maple Ridge, BC: Men caught inside jewelry store facing burglary charges
 

 

Despite e-retail growth, many retailers struggle to grow online
The report shows that online sales in 2015 were flat for 17% of responding retailers, versus only 3% in last year's report. "Much of this is due to more retail competition than ever before," says the report, authored by Forrester e-retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. "More than 800,000 online stores in the U.S. alone are now vying for recognition, market share and relevance with assortment.

What's more, the report concludes that, "while it's relatively easy to launch a web store, scaling an online business is extremely difficult." Retailers saying they're spending 9% of their online revenue on information technology now versus 5% in 2013. In addition the average marketing cost per order is $20 for responding retailers, with 49% saying it's increased in the past year, and the average cost to fulfill an order is $10, with 27% saying it's up in the past year. internetretailer.com

Study: What drove online holiday sales growth?
According to the MarketLive 2015 Holiday Flash Report, smartphone revenue during the just-completed holiday season (Nov. 23, 2015 - Jan. 3, 2016) increased 50%. Overall e-commerce revenue grew 8% during that period.

In terms of online visits, smartphone growth (19%) slightly tailed overall visits (21%). However, smartphone conversion rate rose 8% to 1.3%, from 1.2%. Meanwhile, overall conversion rate plunged 13% to 2.7%, from 3.1%.

In addition, average order value (AOV) increased at a higher rate for smartphones than for overall e-commerce orders. Smartphone AOV rose 9% to $140.63 from $129.06. This brought smartphone within less than $8 of overall e-commerce AOV, which climbed 6% to $147.24, from $139.24. chainstoreage.com

4 Predictions for Credit Cards and the Payments Industry in 2016
Here are 4 predictions for the payments world in 2016:

Selfie Pay
In an interesting twist on the rise of the "selfie," your face may become the most secure way to process a credit card transaction in 2016. This technology, called "Selfie Pay," would work in a similar fashion to current biometric authorizations already in place, such as the fingerprint scan to confirm an ApplePay payment. A benefit to this type of technology is that it would make online payments more secure, which is currently a high-risk fraud platform.

Mobile Wallets
The security, speed and convenience offered by a mobile wallet will continue to be the biggest selling point. Mobile wallets can store your credit card information so you don't need to carry plastic, and it can speed up the checkout process. Perhaps what's best of all is that your card information cannot be stolen even if you lose your phone!

Mobile Banking
2016 should see an increase in online and app banking as more institutions begin limiting in-person branch opportunities and maximizing online capabilities. With overhead costs a concern for banks, this push will be driven as much by the bank as by the consumer, where statistics show that app users are more loyal, cost less, and report a more pleasant customer experience overall.

Credit Score Adjustments
2015 marks the year that credit score assessments were revised to factor in payment history in different ways than existing models. 2016 will mark the first year this new equation is implemented for the major credit bureaus. huffingtonpost.com

 

 

Leader Of International, $200 Million Credit Card Fraud Scam
Sentenced To 80 Months In Prison
TRENTON, N.J. - A New York man was sentenced today to 80 months for leading one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever charged by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Tahir Lodhi, 56, of Hicksville, N.Y., previously pleaded guilty. Lodhi directed the activities of a number of other conspirators in fabricating more than 7,000 false identities to obtain tens of thousands of credit cards. They doctored credit reports to pump up the spending and borrowing power associated with the cards. Lodhi and others then borrowed or spent as much as they could, based on the phony credit history, but did not repay the debts, causing more than $200 million in confirmed losses to businesses and financial institutions.

The conspiracy generated enormous profits for Lodhi and his conspirators - even though they spent millions of dollars sustaining the elaborate network of drop addresses and running credit reports on the thousands of false identities. Records of the New York and New Jersey Departments of Labor reveal that many of Lodhi's conspirators had no reported legitimate employment in the last five years. Nonetheless, Lodhi and his conspirators used the proceeds of the criminal enterprise to buy luxury automobiles, electronics, spa treatments, expensive clothing and millions of dollars in gold. They also stockpiled large sums of cash.

Lodhi and his conspirators also relied upon complicit businesses, including several jewelry stores in the Jersey City, N.J., area, to extract money from the fraudulent cards. The complicit businesses would allow certain conspirators to conduct sham transactions on the phony cards and would then receive the proceeds from the credit card companies and split them with the other conspirators.

Due to the massive scope of the conspiracy, which involved more than 25,000 fraudulent credit cards, loss calculations are ongoing. Final figures may grow beyond the present confirmed losses of more than $200 million. justice.gov

Sacramento, CA: Two plead guilty in $186,000 Target Credit Card Fraud
Lee Yang, 34, and Chee Yang, 28, both of Sacramento, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner. According to court documents, Lee Yang and Chee Yang participated in a scheme that involved at least 500 unauthorized and counterfeit credit cards and debit cards, affecting at least 1,800 victims, and leading to an estimated loss of $186,000. The pair stole or possessed stolen mail, created or received fraudulent credit and debit cards, and made fraudulent purchases totaling thousands of dollars using the cards at national retailers such as Target in various Sacramento-area locations, the U.S. Attorney's office says. The Yangs remain in custody. Five co-defendants remain in the case, which is next set for a status conference on February 25. centralvalleybusinesstimes.com

Anderson, IN: Suspect in $60,000 credit card theft receives suspended sentence
The first of five defendants accused of using stolen credit cards to take more than $60,000 at two Indiana casinos received a suspended sentence on Dec. 28. Timothy A. Smith, 25, of Flossmoor, Ill., will have the opportunity to just be on probation for six years and not go to jail if he doesn't get into any more legal trouble. This is in part because of a plea agreement he entered on Dec. 14. With the agreement, he agreed to plead guilty to two counts of Class C felony fraud on a financial institution, Class C felony corrupt business influence, two counts of Class D felony fraud and two counts of Class D felony theft. Smith's sentencing included a sentence of two years for the two counts of fraud on a financial institution and the count of corrupt business influence concurrently. Smith received one year each for the other charges, but he will have to serve the other charges concurrently. Smith will have to abide by all probation rules to avoid jail time, including keeping a job of at least 35 hours a week. The suspects reportedly used credit cards with numbers belonging to eight different victims to obtain cash advances, totaling more than $48,000 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson and more than $16,000 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville. heraldbulletin.com

East Lampeter Twp. PA: More than $40K in merchandise stolen from Lancaster County Verizon store overnight
The burglary took place overnight at the Verizon store in the Mill Creek Square complex on Lincoln Highway East, said East Lampeter Township police Lt. Robin Weaver. High-end smart phones and tablets were stolen, police said. Store employees discovered the theft Thursday and called police to investigate shortly thereafter, Weaver said. Police are working to obtain surveillance video. pennlive.com

Fairfax Co, VA: Police seek man who dons Walmart employee vest in theft scheme
Authorities are searching for a man who may be stealing from Walmart stores by wearing an employee vest and who, on one recent occasion, used a ruse to get a cashier to walk away from their logged-in register, Fairfax County police said Thursday. Police said the unidentified man walked up to a cashier at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center store around 4 p.m. on Dec. 15. He told the cashier that he was needed in the office and, after the cashier left without logging out of the register, proceeded to check out a customer before taking an undisclosed amount of cash. washingtonpost.com

Westlake, OH: Police release surveillance pics of vacuum cleaner thief at Bed Bath & Beyond; employee injured
Westlake Police are releasing surveillance pictures from a November robbery that left a Bed Bath and Beyond employee injured. Two vacuum cleaners, totaling $1399, were stolen from the Detroit Rd. store. According to police there were two suspects. One came in the store to steal the merchandise while the other remained in the vestibule. He apparently stayed there to trigger the automatic sliding door to help the other suspect escape. Police say during a struggle with the thieves an employee was hit by the suspect's car and hurt her foot. She was able to get one of the vacuum's back. wtol.com

Ephrata, PA: Retail theft suspect arrested after standoff
Ephrata Police say Charles R. McCarraher, 32, was arrested in Chester County. McCarraher was wanted for allegedly stealing over $1,000 from a Walmart in Ephrata. Police had issued a felony retail theft warrant for his arrest. Ephrata Police say they received a tip McCarraher was staying in a hotel and contacted local police, who found his vehicle at the hotel. McCarraher was taken into custody after a brief standoff. abc27.com
 

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Terrell, TX: Police exchange gunfire with man outside of Tanger Outlets; suspect later died
Terrell Police Department captain was involved in a shooting in the Tanger Outlet Center parking lot on Thursday afternoon with a possible "mental patient" who had been missing from Savannah, Georgia, since Monday. The man, identified as 25-year-old Joseph Buckley, later died at a Dallas-area hospital. Terrell Police Department Chief Jody Lay says at approximately 1:15 p.m., the department received a 911 call about a suspicious person in the Applebees parking lot. Terrell Police Captain A.D. Sansom and another Police captain were in the area for lunch when the 911 was aired. The two officers observed a subject in a vehicle, both of which matched the description given by the 911 caller, backing into a handicapped parking space in front of Rue 21 at the Tanger Outlet Center. As Sansom, who was uniformed at the time, approached the vehicle, a gunshot rang out inside the vehicle and the subject pointed a gun in the direction of Sansom, according to Lay. Sansom "fired a single self-defense shot at the man and then moved back to cover." The man suffered at least one gunshot wound to the center of his chest and was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Its unknown if the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or inflicted by the officer. The Texas Rangers and the Terrell Police Department Criminal Investigations Division are investigating the shooting. inforney.com

Los Angeles, CA: Security Guard Shot During Botched Robbery at Chinatown Jewelry Store
Police were searching for three people in connection with a shooting that wounded a security guard during what officers described as a botched robbery at a Chinatown jewelry store Thursday morning. An exchange of gunfire between the guard and two suspects was reported at 11 a.m. on Broadway near Alpine Street, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Aerial footage showed shattered glass in front of Kim Phuoc Jewelry. It was unclear if anything was stolen. The security guard suffered a wound to the hand during the gun battle. The guard was taken to the hospital in stable condition. nbclosangeles.com

Stockbridge, GA: Police release description
of two GameStop armed robbery suspects
Police released the description of two male suspects who were involved in an armed robbery at GameStop Monday in Stockbridge. Around 6:45 p.m., the Henry County Police Department responded to GameStop on Davis Road after the store manager reported that he had been robbed at gunpoint. According to the incident report, two black males walked in the store pulling blue bandanas over their noses and mouths. The first suspect who entered the store went straight to the cash registers and then told everyone to freeze, the report states. The first suspect reportedly told two other employees to open their cash registers. He grabbed all cash from the drawers and then threw the drawers to the ground. The second suspect remained in the middle of the store without speaking during the robbery, the HCPD reported. henryherald.com

Franklin, IN: Rooftop burglars hit Lowe's store, flee with nothing
At least four people wearing ski masks cut a 4-foot-by-4-foot hole in the roof of a Lowe's store to steal copper plumbing and wiring materials but were scared off, police said. Franklin police are investigating an attempted burglary at Lowe's, located off U.S. 31, between 1 and 2 a.m. Thursday. About 5 a.m., Lowe's employees saw buckets full of copper plumbing and wire in an aisle of the store then noticed a hole in the roof, Franklin Police Chief Tim O'Sullivan said. A similar theft happened in 2014, when thieves also cut a hole in the roof to steal copper wire. The two break-ins have similarities in how the thieves entered the store, but police think they were done by separate groups. On Thursday, the thieves climbed up the access ladder on the east side of the building, which leads to the roof. There, they cut into the metal roof, dropped onto one of the shelves, then down to the floor. fox59.com

Greensboro, NC: Robberies Force Triad Jewelry Stores To Re-evaluate Security
Triad jewelry stores are taking a closer look at security policies, after a serial jewelry robber hit Jared Vault in Mebane. A Greensboro jewelry store manager says he's known about the suspect since September. The woman is suspected of robbing 6 jewelry stores throughout the southeast, with the help of a male accomplice. "We weren't surprised. We know she's made a habit of hitting many stores up and down the south east," Royal Diadem Jewelers manager, Brian Wilson, said. "So we know she's coming. The object is to be alert and pay attention." Now that Wilson knows the suspect was in North Carolina, he's taking a second look at procedures. Royal Diadem Jewelers already has video surveillance and panic buttons installed. "Once a weapon is shown, there's really nothing a jeweler can do at that point unless they want to get into a gunfight," Wilson said. So, he tells employees to cooperate with the thief. wfmynews2.com



Baltimore, MD: FBI and Baltimore PD release video of Aldi Armed Robbery suspects
Baltimore Police are seeking the public's help to find two men in connection with an armed robbery at a grocery store. City police said two men armed with guns robbed the Aldi in the 3600 block of West Coldspring Lane on Dec. 27. Police released on Thursday surveillance video showing the two men. wbaltv.com


Englewood, CO: Police follow footprints in snow to smash-and-grab suspect; may be tied to more than 20 similar burglaries
Englewood police followed footprints in the snow Friday morning from an Englewood store to a man's apartment and nabbed a smash-and-grab store burglar early Friday morning. Police often use high tech tools to solve crimes, but in this case simple detective work may solve a case of more than 20 similar smash-and-grab thefts, said Kevin Sage, Englewood police spokesman. Englewood experienced four smash-and-grab burglaries early Friday morning. denverpost.com

Houston, TX: Penalties cut for low level criminals
in effort to avoid jail overcrowding
Shoplifters will be allowed to avoid jail time. If they don't have felony records, they'll have 90 days to take a class designed to discourage theft. If they stay out of trouble, they can stay out of jail. khou.com

UK: CCTV captures 'daring' masked robber who threatens Asda supermarket Loomis armed guard with pump-action shotgun
A masked robber pointed a pump-action shotgun at a supermarket security guard before making off with a cash box. Police have released CCTV images of the 'daring' raid at Asda in Leigh early on Friday morning. The drama happened after a Loomis security van pulled up at the store on Priesteners Way at 6.17am. When the driver entered the store, he was confronted by a masked robber wearing a hi-vis vest who was pointing a pump-action shotgun directly towards him. The brazen thief snatched a cash box the security guard was carrying and ran out. manchestereveningnews.co.uk

Crestwood, IL: Police Officer injured when struck by vehicle of fleeing Walmart shoplifter

Atlanta, GA: Thieves strike Ponce City Market store; 2nd time in 2 months

Topeka, KS: Academy Sports Robbery suspect pleaded guilty to hold-up

Lansing, MI: C-Store Clerk could be charged for shooting at would-be robbers

Port St Lucie, FL: Four smash-and-grab burglaries on the Treasure Coast may be related

Natick, MA: Woman bought more than $2K in items through credit fraud

Waynesboro, PA: Walmart shoplifter with a knife faces multiple charges after police pursuit

Mount Joy, PA: Police investigating New Year's Eve burglary that netted $3.5K from Dunkin' Donuts

North Bend, NE: Nebraska Law Enforcement and Humane Society investigating Horse Hair Theft; estimated value is $400 a pound



Aldi - Baltimore, MD - Armed Robbery
AutoZone - Tulsa, OK - Burglary
Bigfork Stage Stop -Flathead Co, MT - Burglary
Boost Mobile - Jonesboro, GA - Armed Robbery
BP Amoco - Port St Lucie, FL - Burglary
C-Store - Dallas, TX - Burglary / Smash & Grab
CVS - Evansville, IN - Robbery
CVS - Azusa, CA - Robbery
Dollar General - Buffalo, NY - Robbery
Dollar General - Knoxville, TN - Armed Robbery
Dollar General - Roanoke, VA - Armed Robbery
Dunkin Donuts - Mt Joy, PA - Burglary
East Market - York, PA - Armed Robbery
Family Dollar - Wichita, NE - Armed Robbery
Family Video - Holland, MI - Armed Robbery
GameStop - Stockbridge, GA - Armed Robbery
Henderson Drugs - Indianapolis, IN - Armed Robbery
Kim's Food - Sanford, FL - Armed Robbery/ Owner murdered
Lakeside General Store - Helena, MT - Armed Robbery
Papa John's - Wichita, NE - Armed Robbery
Papa John's - Jonesboro, GA - Armed Robbery
Pawn City - Santa Fe, NM - Shooting
Ponce Denim Company - Atlanta, GA - Burglary
Sam's Club - McDonough, GA - Burglary
Verizon - East Lamenter, PA - Burglary
Walgreens - Fort Wayne, IN - Armed Robbery
7-Eleven - Norfolk, VA - Armed Robbery/ Clerk shot

 

 


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Healthy debate in any industry spurs growth and understanding, and challenges the status quo. Without it the normal evolutionary processes, which are slow to begin with, slow even further. It is those who have the courage to debate that make a difference and create change. However, as in the case of any debate, interpreting and understanding the messages is critical in order for it to have a positive impact and facilitate change.

Usually driven by opposing sides, debates are driven by individual experience and environmental influences that are often times invisible and therefore unrealized. But at the end of the day, regardless of opinion, all debates spur discussion, thought, and emotion. And that is what causes change and understanding.

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