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David Crowther promoted to Sr Manager Theft Strategy & Ops
for Target

David has been with Target for more than 14 years, starting with the company in 2007 as an Executive Team Leader - Assets Protection. Before his latest promotion to Sr Manager Theft Strategy & Ops, he spent more than two years as Lead Business Partner - Assets Protection. Earlier in his Target career, he served as Assets Protection Business Partner for two years and Sr. Assets Protection Investigator for more than six years. Congratulations, David!

See All the Executives 'Moving Up' Here   |   Submit Your New Corporate Hires/Promotions or New Position






Register Now: New Webinar from Agilence & Progressive Grocer
How Grocers Can Win The Loss Prevention War

Thursday, Apr 15 @ 2:00 PM EDT

The disruption food retailers experienced during the pandemic touched all areas of operations, including loss prevention and asset protection. New challenges emerged and existing ones intensified thanks to the growth of e-commerce, increased organized retail crime and rapid adoption of frictionless store experiences such as self checkout. However, retailers are fighting back with new approaches and new tools to win the loss prevention war. Join Progressive Grocer and industry leaders in the space as we share insights and explore:

The current state of LP/AP, top threats and methods of deterrence to bolster the bottom line.
How the rise of e-commerce and usage of third party delivery services are impacting shrink.
The surge of self-checkout and best practices to thwart theft.
New technologies, tools and techniques to reduce loss.

Click here to register


Protests & Violence

More than 100 Americans a Day Are Murdered

2020 was the deadliest gun violence year in decades
Shootings never stopped during the pandemic
Until two lethal rampages this month, mass shootings had largely been absent from headlines during the coronavirus pandemic. But people were still dying - at a record rate.

In 2020, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, more than any other year in at least two decades. An additional 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun.

The vast majority of these tragedies happen far from the glare of the national spotlight, unfolding instead in homes or on city streets and - like the covid-19 crisis - disproportionately affecting communities of color.

Last week's shootings at spas in the Atlanta area and Monday's shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., killed a combined 18 people and rejuvenated a national effort to overhaul gun laws. But high-profile mass shootings such as those tend to overshadow the instances of everyday violence that account for most gun deaths, potentially clouding some people's understanding of the problem and complicating the country's response, experts say.

Shooting deaths in 2020 outpaced the next-highest recent year, 2017, by more than 3,600. The rise resembles other alarming trends: Last year, the United States saw the highest one-year increase in homicides since it began keeping records, with the country's largest cities suffering a 30 percent spike. Gunshot injuries also rose dramatically, to nearly 40,000, over 8,000 more than in 2017.

"More than 100 Americans are killed daily by gun violence," Ronnie Dunn, a professor of urban studies at Cleveland State University, said, using a figure that includes suicides. "The majority are in Black and Brown communities. We don't really focus on gun violence until we have these mass shootings, but it's an ongoing, chronic problem that affects a significant portion of our society."

Researchers say the pandemic probably fueled the increases in several ways. They also note the apparent collapse of public confidence in law enforcement that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Click here to continue reading

Civil Unrest Becoming Top Risk for Businesses Worldwide

Companies need to prepare for more political disturbance
Companies need to prepare for more political disturbances and violence in the months ahead, according to a report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).

Damage, disturbances and losses from riots, vandalism or other forms of civil unrest are now among the top political risk exposures for companies, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely fuel further unrest, AGCS said. The insurer said that business continuity planning needs to proactively address political violence risks - especially in highly exposed sectors like retail.

"Fortunately, large-scale terrorism events have declined drastically in the last five years. However, the number, scale and duration of riots and protests in the last two years is staggering, and we have seen businesses suffering significant losses," said Bjoern Reusswig, head of global political violence and hostile environment solutions at AGCS. "Civil unrest has soared, driven by protests on issues ranging from economic hardship to police brutality, which have affected citizens around the world. And the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse - with little sign of an end to the economic downturn in sight, the number of protests is likely to continue climbing."

According to the Allianz Risk Barometer 2021, an annual global risk survey, civil unrest incidents are becoming a more significant risk for companies. In this year's survey, "political risks and violence" hit the top 10 risks for the first time since 2018.

That trend is supported by recent research that predicts the number of global protesters will increase over the next two years. Research firm Verisk Maplecroft expects 75 countries to experience an increase in protests by late 2022. Of those, more than 30 - largely in Europe and the Americas - are likely to see significant activity.

COVID likely to drive further violence - Need for business continuity planning insurancebusinessmag.com

Another Bill Aims to Crack Down on Protests

Arizona bill aims to give police more power to punish protesters
The bill, HB2309, would create a new felony offense and significantly increase the penalties for minor crimes if officers declare that an assembly is unlawful and violent. Rep. Bret Roberts said he introduced the bill because of the protests immediately following the police killing of George Floyd.

"This bill is intended to give those individuals that choose to partake in what's supposed to be a peaceful protest, and give them a moment of pause and ask themselves, 'Do I want to attend this event?'" Roberts said during a recent committee hearing. "I need to ask myself, 'Is there the potential that this could go awry and people's lives and property could be in jeopardy?' That's the intent of the bill." abc15.com

LA riot cops clash with protesters while clearing huge homeless tent city
Scores of police moved into the Echo Park encampment at around 10 p.m. Wednesday - and were met by more than 200 protesters opposing the sweep, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Protesters threw bottles and objects at the lines of officers in clashes over the encampment that has grown to hundreds of tents and has sparked alarm over rising crime, drug use and trash, the paper said.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the LA Times that homeless residents inside the park could stay overnight - but that no one else can enter. The encampment residents must leave within 24 hours, he added. nypost.com

How COVID will make Chauvin's trial in George Floyd's death look like no other

What we know about the jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial

Criminal Justice Reform

The Progressive DA Movement in America
Calif. Names Progressive DA State AG/Is Manhattan Next?

Judge Stops LA's Progressive DA Policy Changes
The Ultimate Battle Begins

'It's a showdown': California district attorneys battle over criminal justice reforms
Criminal justice reformers nationwide rejoiced when L.A. County voters chose George Gascón to lead the nation's largest prosecutor's office, celebrating a big win in a years-long campaign to replace traditional law-and-order district attorneys with ones intent on change.

And just hours after being sworn in, Gascón delivered to his backers: He announced a slew of policy directives that barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, trying juveniles as adults, attending parole hearings or filing most sentencing enhancements that can increase a defendants' prison term.

Nearly as quickly, the news instigated a brawl among California's public prosecutors, with the organization representing 57 out of the state's 58 district attorneys questioning both the legality and wisdom of Gascón's mandates. Now, many of the state's old guard of district attorneys are openly sparring with reformer colleagues in a power struggle that could shape criminal justice in California and other states.

"It's a showdown of exactly how much power one branch of government has to override other branches," said Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert, who opposes Gascón's reforms as overreach thats ignore victims' rights. "We are elected to enforce the law, not make the law."

Although the movement to replace traditional district attorneys has gained momentum since the 2017 win of criminal defense attorney Larry Krasner as Philadelphia's top prosecutor, the anger and protests unleashed by the death of George Floyd while in police custody hardened the battle lines in Los Angeles and helped propel Gascón to power. But his immediate orders weren't well received by a staff that had questions for a boss it barely knows.

The union representing L.A. County line prosecutors - those who handle cases day to day - sued Gascón last year hoping to stall some of his changes. Monday a judge ruled largely in their favor. The decision will almost certainly be appealed and could ultimately reach the state Supreme Court.

Becton believes if Gascón ultimately loses, it could have a "chilling effect" on the authority of public prosecutors to implement reforms and decide who will face a judge and how serious charges will be - even in places where line prosecutors don't have the power of a union. latimes.com subscription required

California Governor Names Progressive DA for State AG
Rob Bonta named California AG, would be first Filipino American in role
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday appointed Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta as California attorney general, picking a leading advocate for criminal justice reform who has campaigned to abolish the death penalty and eliminate cash bail for many offenses.

"Rob represents what makes California great - our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices," Newsom said Wednesday. "Growing up with parents steeped in social justice movements, Rob has become a national leader in the fight to repair our justice system and defend the rights of every Californian."

On Wednesday, he said that the criminal justice system is "fundamentally broken."

In the Legislature he has led efforts to change the state's criminal justice system, including a bill now pending that would mostly eliminate cash bail for misdemeanors and many nonviolent, low-level felonies.

It is his second attempt on the issue. In 2018, Bonta won passage of a reform bill but the bail industry qualified a referendum on the measure and voters rejected the changes last year.

His appointment was hailed by advocates for criminal justice reform, including Cristine Soto DeBerry, executive director of Prosecutors Alliance of California, a group of district attorneys that supports addressing inequities in the criminal justice system. latimes.com

The Next Manhattan DA Could Be a Progressive
The ripple effect could impact retail shoplifting & ORC cases

Manhattan's next DA could be a Democratic Progressive
Up for election now with an incumbent not running there's eight Democratic district attorney candidates running in the June 22 primary. No Republican with strong appeal has emerged.

Because Democrats outnumber Republicans about nine to one in Manhattan, the Democratic primary winner is expected to prevail in the November general election.

Running on the most reformist platforms are three candidates.

However all of them are campaigning on an overhaul of the justice system with promises that were once on the political fringes but are now hallmarks of the progressive prosecutor movement.

Manhattan's next top prosecutor will take office amid a rise in violent crime, a continuing pandemic and in the wake of a summer of mass protests for racial justice. And run a ship as huge as the Manhattan DA's office, which has a full-time staff of more than 1,500 and a $126.1 million budget.

Nine elected progressive prosecutors are supporting Lucy Lang. wsj.com


COVID Update

130M Vaccinations Given

US: 30.7M Cases - 558.4K Dead - 23.1M Recovered
Worldwide: 125.5M Cases - 2.7M Dead - 101.3M Recovered

Former Senior Loss Prevention Executive
Know of any fallen LP exec? Let's remember & recognize.

Private Industry Security Guard Deaths: 279   Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: 275
*Red indicates change in total deaths

CDC Issues Warning
CDC Blames Spring Breakers & Eased Restrictions for COVID Uptick
Top US health officials say they're encouraged by the accelerating Covid-19 vaccinations. But not enough Americans are fully vaccinated yet to suppress the spread of the virus -- and eased restrictions across the country coupled with spring break crowds could spell trouble, one expert said Wednesday.

The coming weeks are especially critical: Covid-19 cases in the country have seen a slight increase, according to Walensky, while a highly contagious -- and potentially more deadly -- variant is circulating. Some experts have warned that by getting lax with safety measures, the country could see infections surge again.

"If we choose to invest in prevention right now, we will ultimately come out of this pandemic faster and with fewer lives lost," the CDC director said. cnn.com

Thermal Cameras - Tracking Collars - Digital Vaccine Passports

Cuomo's COVID Vaccine Tracking Technology Draws Privacy Concerns

A New York state system for proving that you've been vaccinated uses overhyped blockchain technology - and leaves many privacy questions unanswered.

Technology firms are leaping at the chance to use the Covid-19 pandemic to ply dubious products, from thermal cameras to tracking collars. The latest comes courtesy of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who entered the state into a partnership with IBM to put citizens' Covid-19 vaccine and test data on perhaps the most over-hyped technology of all: blockchain.

Cuomo's office announced on March 2 that testing had begun on the joint IBM system, known as Excelsior Pass. The "pass" itself is a smartphone app that displays a QR code to be scanned before entering an indoor business or other public gathering place; when verified by another device, it attests that the bearer has been vaccinated against Covid-19 or received a recent negative test result. The idea is to offer streamlined access to indoor businesses as they begin to reopen, similar to plans in other parts of the country and throughout the world.

But the governor's office and IBM, neither of which provided comment for this article, have been stingy with details, like how exactly the app works behind the scenes or why New Yorkers should trust this software with their sensitive health information. The answer to both of these questions is simply: blockchain. The press release from Cuomo's office assures users that "robust privacy protections are woven throughout the digital health pass solution" without giving any details whatsoever as to what these protections are or what might make them robust. IBM's public material about the system is similarly devoid of specifics. theintercept.com

Risks for Employers Requiring Vaccine Proof
Digital Vaccine Passports and the Legal Risks For Employers
While requiring proof of vaccination may be legal, businesses and employers should carefully evaluate potential legal consequences and practical considerations pertinent to their industry.

Recent guidance issued by the EEOC reminds employers that employees can be required to show proof of vaccination before returning to work-with certain important exceptions. Many employers have long been requiring workers to submit temperature checks and health questionnaires before entering the premises. This right, however, is not absolute. Even in the context of digital vaccine passports, employers must be prepared to accommodate situations where employees are unable to receive the vaccine for disability-related or religious reasons. law.com

Businesses Nationwide Offering Freebies to Encourage Vaccinations
Free with your Covid shot: beer, arcade tokens & Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Businesses across the United States and beyond are offering free food, merchandise and other stuff to people who receive a Covid-19 vaccine. The perks include complimentary rides, doughnuts, money, arcade tokens and even marijuana.

Chobani is providing free yogurt at some vaccination sites. And Krispy Kreme said on Monday that for the rest of the year, it would give one glazed doughnut a day to anyone who provides proof of a Covid-19 vaccination.

In a promotion it is calling "Tokens for Poke'ns," Up-Down, a chain of bars featuring vintage arcade games, is offering $5 in free tokens to guests who present a completed vaccination card. Cleveland Cinemas, a movie-theater chain in Ohio, is offering a free 44-ounce popcorn at two of its locations to anyone who presents a vaccination card through April 30.

The Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland is offering 10-cent beers to the first 2,021 people who show a Covid-19 vaccine certificate. At the Greenhouse of Walled Lake, a medical marijuana dispensary in Michigan, anyone 21 or over who gets a Covid vaccine can pick up a prerolled joint until the end of the month. nytimes.com

'Breakthrough Infections' After Getting Vaccinated
Minnesota reports 89 COVID-19 cases in vaccinated individuals
None are among Minnesota's 6,798 COVID-19 deaths, including nine deaths reported Wednesday, and doctors said even those who were hospitalized after being vaccinated had milder illness.

State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said the fraction of fully vaccinated people who still contract infections was expected. Clinical trials suggested the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 95% effective.

"We should not be fooled into seeing such a case as a reason to doubt the vaccine effectiveness," said Ehresmann, noting that the breakthrough cases represented less than one-tenth of one percent of people who have been fully vaccinated. startribune.com

Employers should offer paid leave for vaccine recovery, CDC says
Employers should offer paid sick leave to employees with "signs and symptoms" following COVID-19 vaccination, according to guidance updated March 16 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Employers should consider on-site vaccination programs if they have a large workforce with predictable schedules and enough space to run a clinic that meets social distancing requirements, CDC said. Employers that choose to offer vaccinations should record each offer and employees' decisions. Employers should consider off-site vaccination if they are a small- or medium-sized organization lacking the resources to host a vaccination clinic, it said.

The agency also said that whether an employer may require COVID-19 vaccinations is a matter of state or other applicable law but noted that exemptions may apply: Medical exemptions for people who are at risk for an adverse reaction because of an allergy to one of the components used in the vaccine or a medical condition; and religious exemptions for people who reject being vaccinated because of their religious beliefs. hrdive.com

Cuomo reportedly secured early virus tests for the well-connected, including family members

INFORM Act & Buy Safe America Coalition Getting More News Coverage
Retailers embrace Senate effort to fight fakes sold through marketplaces
Several retailers and retail organizations on Tuesday applauded the introduction of congressional legislation aimed at curtailing the sale of fake and stolen goods through online marketplaces.

They include the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Buy Safe America Coalition (a RILA effort that includes retailers, consumer groups, wholesaler-distributors, and manufacturers including Walgreens, Dick's Sporting Goods and the Toy Association, among others). Not among them so far is the National Retail Federation, which declined to comment Wednesday.

Support in the industry is broad, and the effort in Congress is bipartisan. The "Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act," or INFORM Consumers Act, was introduced in the Senate Tuesday by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), with cosponsors including Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina).

"We need common-sense transparency to protect consumers from the sale of fraudulent, expired, defective and unsafe products," Buy Safe America Coalition spokesperson Michael Hanson said in a statement. "The INFORM Consumers Act will make it much harder for scam artists and criminal enterprises to peddle illicit goods to unsuspecting American consumers."

Bill supporters from Buy Safe America tied the 44% rise of U.S. e-commerce during the pandemic to attempts by "criminal networks [targeting] unsuspecting customers with the sale of stolen, counterfeit, expired, dangerous and defective products," with links to a slew of news stories to demonstrate that. Many of those stories feature Amazon, which faces chronic issues of counterfeit and stolen goods sold through its marketplace. Amazon, which last year was pressed by the Buy Safe America Coalition to support the effort, on Wednesday didn't immediately return requests for comment. retaildive.com

Francis D'Addario recognized as Protective Intelligence Thought Leader

D'Addario co-leads global next-generation leader talent development, operational work groups, and solution innovation consulting services at SEC

The Security Executive Council congratulates Emeritus Faculty of Strategic Innovation Francis D'Addario for being recognized as a Thought Leader in the inaugural Protective Intelligence Honors from Ontic's Center for Protective Intelligence. Ontic is an SEC Solution Innovations Partner.

Francis co-leads global next-generation leader talent development, operational work groups, and solution innovation consulting services at SEC. The former Starbucks Coffee Partner and Asset Protection Head collaboratively helped operationalize people protection and enterprise all-hazard risk mitigation with over a decade of persuasive multi-million dollar returns on investment. Prior to Starbucks, D'Addario led cross-functional teams in the convenience store and quick service restaurant industry sectors where Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) implementations reduced average violence by 89% with hundreds of millions of dollars of cost avoidance. securityinfowatch.com

Jobs Market Bouncing Back
Weekly jobless claims tumble to lowest level in more than a year
First-time claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly fell sharply last week amid signs that hiring has picked up in the U.S. economy, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Claims totaled 684,000 for the week ended March 20, the first time the number has been below 700,000 during the Covid-19 era. The level was a substantial decline from the 781,000 from a week ago and was the lowest since March 14, 2020, just as the pandemic had begun. cnbc.com

Travel Demand is Climbing
United Airlines will add more than two dozen flights as leisure travel picks up
United Airlines plans to add more than two dozen new flights starting Memorial Day weekend, the latest sign that demand for leisure travel is picking up as the national vaccination rate moves higher.

Most of the new flights will connect cities in the Midwest to tourist destinations, such as Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; Portland, Maine; Savannah, Ga.; and Pensacola, Fla. United also said it planned to offer more flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America in May than it did during the same month in 2019. nytimes.com

Starbucks apologizes to Black customer asked to wait outside
Starbucks is facing another incident of alleged racial discrimination, this time in California where a Black man said he was told to leave one of the coffee chain's San Jose locations because it was overcrowded under COVID-19 restrictions.

Bryce Ward told an ABC News affiliate that he left the store at the request of a Starbucks manager. Other customers, who were not Black, then walked into the store and were not asked to leave, KGO-TV reported. Ward, a barber from San Francisco, said the incident happened March 15 and that he believes he was asked to leave the store because he's Black. cbsnews.com

Addressing 'Zoom Fatigue' Head-On in the Future of Team Conferencing

Beauty and bargain retail could be the biggest winners in 2021

Quarterly Results
At Home Q4 comp's up 30.8%, net sales up 41.3%, FY 2020 comp's up 19.4%, net sales up 27.3%

Game Stop Q4 comp's up 6.5%, global e-commerce sales up 175%, net sales up 12%
Game Stop FY 2020 global e-commerce sales up 191%, net sales down 21% (closed 693 retail stores in 2020)

Senior LP & AP Jobs Market

Director, Asset Protection NF4 job posted for Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) in Quantico, VA
The incumbent serves as the Director of Asset Protection and is responsible for coordinating and implementing asset protection and loss prevention policy and programs for MR-directed programs and support services. Supports the Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) governance and oversight processes and performs tasks in support of policy development, compliance and risk management functions, asset protection, and strategic analysis. Serves as the subject matter expert and principal author for MR policy pertaining to MCCS Asset Protection. Develops, documents, and evaluates policies and procedures for inventory management, warehouse and receiving operations, cash handling, property control, security, loss prevention, safety, and other business processes. usajobs.gov

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Victim Impact Statements - Follow-through is the key to success

More than 40% of Victim Impact Statements are never returned by retailers.

Do not lose your restitution opportunities!

It is fair to say that without an organized program for collecting and responding to Victim Impact Statements, most retailers are missing an opportunity to inform jurisdictions of their full loss. Retailers may not be awarded restitution from a loss suffered in their stores, warehouses and/or corporate locations if they do not respond to official requests. Without having a central location for jurisdictions to send Victim Impact Statements, they will most likely be sent to the location where the theft occurred; where they may sit unanswered or worse yet, be discarded. Victim Impact Statements are deadline driven and normally require research and follow through. Each year thousands become stale due to lack of response or are rejected as incomplete. While the basic information may be the same, each jurisdiction has its own set of rules and expectations for completion. Knowing the nuances required by each jurisdiction can make the difference to the restitution awarded.

The Zellman Group has a long-standing relationship with thousands of Courts and Department of Corrections across the country. This relationship ensures smooth communication between all parties. Our centralized process ensures every Victim Impact Statement arrives from the jurisdiction of offense to our firm. Zellman processes all Victim Impact Statements well within deadlines and manages all follow-up. Our process ensures that our retail partners will recover substantially more money with very little expense.

Click here to learn more.

The Zellman Group, LLC is a full-service Loss Prevention provider located in Greenvale, NY. Contact us at info@zellmangroup.com or at 516-625-0006.






Criminal Gangs Targeting Microsoft Business Servers
Microsoft servers being hacked 'faster than anyone can count'
The key vulnerabilities in the Microsoft business email servers have left cyber security experts flummoxed as this free-for-all attack opportunity is now being exploited by vast numbers of criminal gangs, state-backed threat actors and opportunistic "script kiddies," researchers at F-Secure have warned.

To make matters worse, proof-of-concept automated attack scripts are being made publicly available, making it possible for even unskilled attackers to quickly gain remote control of a vulnerable Microsoft Exchange Server.

"Tens of thousands of servers have been hacked around the world. They're being hacked faster than we can count," said Antti Laatikainen, senior security consultant at the cyber security firm F-Secure. According to F-Secure analytics, only about half of the Exchange servers visible on the Internet have applied the Microsoft patches for these vulnerabilities.

Microsoft has released an emergency patch for its Exchange Server product, the most popular mail server worldwide.

According to the F-Secure report, Countries currently seeing the most detections (in descending order) are Italy, Germany, France, the UK, the US, Belgium, Kuwait, Sweden, the Netherlands and Taiwan. cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Creating a Computer Security Incident Response Team for all of Europe
EU Council Adopts New Cybersecurity Strategy
The Council of the European Union has adopted a new cybersecurity strategy aimed at protecting EU citizens and businesses from cyberthreats by promoting best practices, such as strong encryption and threat information sharing.

The strategy outlines a set of frameworks for cybersecurity designed to help build "a resilient, green and digital Europe."

It calls for setting up security operation centers across the EU to monitor for attacks on networks. It also endorses implementing a security standard for 5G technology.

"The key objective is to achieve strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy," the EU Council notes. "This includes reinforcing the ability to make autonomous choices in the area of cybersecurity, with the aim to strengthen the EU's digital leadership and strategic capacities."

Senior security experts attending an online EU cyber policy forum on Tuesday hosted by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky supported the new cybersecurity policy, calling it a much-needed measure. govinfosecurity.com

RaaS Has Become Big Business
Ransomware as a service is the new big problem for business
Easy-to-use ransomware as a service schemes are booming, accounting for almost two-thirds of ransomware campaigns during the past year, warn researchers.

Ransomware as a service is proving effective for cyber criminals who want a piece of the cyber-extortion action but without necessarily having the skills to develop their own malware, with two out of three attacks using this model.

Ransomware as a service (RaaS) with developers selling or leasing malware to users on dark web forums. These affiliate schemes provide low-level attackers with the ability to distribute and manage ransomware campaigns, with the developer behind the ransomware receiving a cut of each ransom victim's pay for the decryption key.

Researchers at cybersecurity company Group-IB have detailed that almost two-thirds of ransomware attacks analysed during 2020 came from cyber criminals operating on a RaaS model. zdnet.com

New Trend Spells More Trouble For Enterprises
Ransomware Incidents Continue to Dominate Threat Landscape
Ransomware operators relied heavily on a handful of commodity Trojans, open source reconnaissance tools, and legitimate Windows utilities to execute many of their attacks during the past quarter, according to data from incidents handled by the Cisco Talos Incident Response (CTIR) team.
The data, collected from customer locations between November 2020 and January 2021, showed attackers continuing to overwhelmingly use phishing emails with malicious documents to deliver Trojans for downloading ransomware on victim systems. Many of the Trojans used for this purpose in the past quarter were commodity tools such as Zloader, BazarLoader, and IcedID.

For enterprises, the trend could spell even more trouble on the ransomware front.

"Commodity Trojans are easy to obtain and possess numerous capabilities for lateral movement, command-and-control communications, etc., which can increase the efficacy of a ransomware attack," Garnett notes. darkreading.com

6 Tips for Limiting Damage from Third-Party Attacks
The ability to protect your organization from third-party attacks will become increasingly critical as attackers try to maximize the effectiveness of their malicious campaigns.

The breach disclosed by SolarWinds and another involving a legacy file transfer appliance from Accellion have focused fresh attention on the risks that enterprise organizations face from attacks via the software supply chain and other trusted third parties.

Both attacks impacted numerous organizations, targeting them for further exploit activity designed to steal data and establish a persistent presence on their networks. darkreading.com

California State Controller's Office Suffers Data Breach




Cracking Down on Theft & Violence at Cannabis Stores
Senators Reintroduce SAFE Banking Act To Normalize Cannabis Commerce
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), along with 27 other members of the Upper Chamber, reintroduced The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the U.S. Senate.

Federal law currently defines all marijuana-related endeavors as criminal enterprises, including those commercial activities that are licensed and legally regulated under state laws. Therefore, almost no state-licensed cannabis businesses can legally obtain a bank account, process credit cards, or take standard business deductions on their federal taxes.

In this environment, the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar cannabis industry must operate largely on a cash-only basis, which makes businesses more susceptible to theft and more difficult to audit. This ongoing federal prohibition also places the safety and welfare of these businesses' customers at risk, as they must carry significant amounts of cash on their persons in order to make legal purchases at retail facilities.

Here are what the bill's sponsors had to say:

"No one working in a store or behind a register should have to worry about experiencing a traumatic robbery at any moment," said Senator Merkley. "That means we can't keep forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate entirely in cash-a nonsensical rule that is an open invitation to robbery and money laundering. Let's make 2021 the year that we get this bill signed into law so we can ensure that all legal cannabis businesses have access to the financial services they need to help keep their employees safe."

"Montana businesses shouldn't have to operate in all cash-they should have a safe way to conduct business," Senator Daines said. "My bipartisan bill will provide needed certainty for legal Montana cannabis businesses and give them the ability to freely use banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without the fear of punishment. This in turn will help increase public safety, reduce crime, support Montana small businesses, create jobs and boost local economies. A win-win for all."  norml.org

Former Undercover Narcotics Cop Starts Consulting Firm
to Secure Cannabis Facilities
This is the path that former undercover narcotics officer Chris Eggers has taken, using the knowledge he gained learning from admitted burglars and robbers to start a new career as president of a consulting firm that offers security solutions for cannabis facilities dispensing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.

On the heels of turning in his badge after more than 12 years as a police officer in the Oakland Police Department and San Francisco Police Department, Eggers told Security Systems News that he voluntarily left the force to join the private sector and form his own consulting firm.

"I spent a considerable amount of time working undercover infiltrating known violent offenders and violent offender groups. My knowledge base is from offenders themselves, admitted burglars and offenders teaching me what they looked for when they commit crimes and target specific places and people."

With the knowledge he gained working undercover, Eggers formed Cannabis Compliant Security Solutions (CCSS), a consulting firm that allows him to take what he learned undercover and use that knowledge to advise cannabis facility operators what they could to protect their business and decrease any vulnerabilities that alarm companies and guard companies may not address.

"My passion is cannabis. I am now starting my own firm around security consulting in the cannabis space," he said. "I aim to offer security plans for pre-permanent businesses, and I offer security audits, identifying deficiencies as I see them through the eyes of a burglar or robber on a physical space. securitysystemsnews.com

Legalization in New York
New York lawmakers reach a deal to legalize recreational marijuana, source says
New York State lawmakers have reached a deal to legalize recreational marijuana, a legislative source familiar with negotiations told CNN Wednesday, stating lawmakers were finalizing bill language to be passed next week.

"The Cannabis Law" legislation would create a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) controlled by a Cannabis Control Board, according to an internal legislative memo obtained by CNN. The proposal would eventually allow New Yorkers over the age of 21 to grow their own plants in their homes, and a 13% tax would be tacked on to retail sales for state and local tax revenue.

The deal follows marijuana legalization in neighboring New Jersey. Last month, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed bills to legalize and regulate marijuana use for those 21 and older, decriminalize possession of limited amounts of marijuana and clarify marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for those younger than 21. cnn.com

Muncie, IN: Man caught on camera breaking into CBD & Smoke shop

Minnesota Marijuana Bill Continues Push Through House




Agree To Be Surveilled by AI Or Lose Your Job
Huge Safety Improvements

Amazon delivery drivers have to consent to AI surveillance in their vans
or lose their jobs
Amazon is well-known for its technological Taylorism: using digital sensors to monitor and control the activity of its workers in the name of efficiency. But after installing machine learning-powered surveillance cameras in its delivery vans earlier this year, the company is now telling employees: agree to be surveilled by AI or lose your job.

As first reported by Vice, Amazon delivery drivers in the US now have to sign "biometric consent" forms to continue working for the retailing giant. Exactly what information is being collected seems to vary based on what surveillance equipment has been installed in any given van, but Amazon's privacy policy (embedded below) covers a wide range of data.

The data that drivers must consent to be collected includes photographs used to verify their identity; vehicle location and movements (including "miles driven, speed, acceleration, braking, turns, following distance"); "potential traffic violations" (like speeding, failure to stop at stop signs, and undone seatbelts); and "potentially risky driver behavior, such as distracted driving or drowsy driving."

These cameras record "100% of the time" and are supposed to identify dangerous behavior, like if a driver is yawning or checking their phone. The systems can then provide real-time feedback, telling a driver to take a break or keep their eyes on the road.

This level of micro-management - and the potential for the AI systems to get it wrong - seems to have angered some drivers. One driver speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation earlier this month said the cameras were an "invasion of privacy." "We are out here working all day, trying our best already," the driver, 22-year-old Henry Search, told the publication. "The cameras are just another way to control us."

Other drivers have simply refused to sign, reports Vice. "It's a heart-breaking conversation when someone tells you that you're their favorite person they have ever worked for, but Amazon just micromanages them too much," the owner of one Amazon delivery company told the publication.

In a statement given to The Verge, Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass said that the cameras were only there "to help drivers and the communities where we deliver safe." Bass said that in pilots of the technology from April to October 2020, over more than two million miles of driving, "accidents decreased 48 percent, stop sign violations decreased 20 percent, driving without a seatbelt decreased 60 percent, and distracted driving decreased 45 percent. Don't believe the self-interested critics who claim these cameras are intended for anything other than safety." 

Click here to read Amazon's privacy policy for vehicle camera technology  theverge.com

Top Amazon official swipes at Bernie Sanders over planned Alabama visit
"I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that's not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace," Dave Clark, the chief executive of Amazon's worldwide consumer business tweeted on Wednesday.

In another tweet, Clark said, "if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring."

Several labor leaders and lawmakers have said the union election is one of the most important ones in U.S. history.

The election has also earned support from President Joe Biden, who released a statement defending workers' rights to form unions. While he did not mention Amazon, he referenced "workers in Alabama."

Allegations by many workers of a grueling or unsafe workplace, have turned unionizing the company into a key goal for the U.S. labor movement. reuters.com




Town and Country, MO: Man charged after shot fired at Home Depot Loss Prevention
St. Louis County prosecutors charged a Dellwood man Wednesday with assault after authorities say he fired a gunshot at Home Depot loss-prevention officers trying to stop him from shoplifting. James McDaniel Jr., 31, was being held in lieu of $200,000 cash bail. McDaniel had no attorney listed in online court records. Police said he lives in Spanish Lake, but charges list his home address in Dellwood. McDaniel is accused of firing the shot about 5:45 p.m. Saturday outside the Home Depot, on Manchester Road. No one was hurt. Loss-prevention officers had tried to detain McDaniel and two other people for shoplifting. They ran off and jumped into two cars, and the shot was fired during the escape, authorities said. Police said Michael Jackson, 54, of St. Louis, was with McDaniel and has been charged with a municipal offense of stealing. Police said they are searching for a woman who was with the men during the shoplifting. stltoday.com

Ex-gas station employee, girlfriend charged with $13,000 theft of cigarettes and lottery tickets
An ex-gas station employee and his girlfriend are facing felony charges, including lottery fraud, for reportedly stealing more than $13,000 in lottery tickets, cartons of cigarettes and cash from the El Paso Shell before leaving the state. Warrants were issued this month for Robert Wayne Jones, 36, and Rebecca J. Brewer, 41, on class C felony theft of property and class D felony lottery fraud charges. The crime reportedly occurred Jan. 3, 2020. The manager told White County Deputy Derek Warren that Jones had stolen items worth a combined $13,296.53 during his work shift the previous day. Security footage reportedly showed Jones stealing the items and Brewer coming to the station and "picking up bags" from him. The station manager told the deputy that Jones did not come back to work and that she believed they had left the state. thecabin.net

Update: Rochester, NY: Man sentenced to 21 years in prison after AT&T Armed Robbery
Troy McCollough, 49, of Rochester was sentenced to over 21 years in prison after he robbed an AT&T in Irondequoit at gunpoint in December 2019. Officials say McCollough was convicted of Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Two others assisted him - James Houston and Raekwon Fuqua. McCollough entered the store wearing a mask and brandished and pointed a firearm at the store employee while instructing him to open the safe. He held the employee at gunpoint while Fuqua helped him take 32 cell phones, valued at over $32,344, from the safe and take them out of the store. McCollough was arrested shortly after that at a residence on Champlain Street in Rochester where the stolen phones were recovered. Fuqua and Houston were convicted of Hobbs Act robbery and haven't been sentenced yet. rochesterfirst.com

Lee County, FL: Wanted suspect arrested (3rd conviction), this time $500 theft from Victoria's Secret in Edison Mall
Darrell Williams was wanted in Lee County for violation of probation on charges of petit theft (3rd conviction). His current warrant, which was issued in late January, stems from an incident at the Edison Mall, where he had been trespassed from several times because of his thieving ways. On this particular occasion, he was spotted by store security stuffing $500 in stolen merchandise from Victoria's Secret into his pockets. winknews.com

Lady Lake, FL: Two sought after anti-theft wires cut and $1,000 of chainsaws stolen from Lowe's

Santa Clara, CA: Police investing theft of blender and vacuum totaling $959

Vadnais Heights, MN: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office investigating a $900 shoplifting incident at Target

Beaufort County, SC: Suspect accused of shoplifting from Bluffton Home Depot wanted by Beaufort Co. Deputies

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Shootings & Deaths

Fremont, CA: Armed Robbery suspect dies in Fremont Police shooting
Gunfire erupted on a Bay Area highway at the height of the Wednesday afternoon commute with traffic at a standstill. It was a traffic mess after a Fremont police officer was involved in a shooting where an armed robbery suspect died at the scene. It happened just before 3 p.m. at Highway 84, west of Newark Boulevard. California Highway Patrol said the suspect was linked to an armed robbery and the Toyota Highlander, he was driving, was reported stolen. A chase ensued when the suspect fled and a Fremont police officer pursued him. ktvu.com

Tallahassee, FL: One person dead, another injured in broad daylight shooting at Apalachee Parkway gas station
One person was killed and another injured during a broad daylight shooting at a gas station on Apalachee Parkway, according to the Tallahassee Police Department. The shooting happened just before 11 a.m. at the Circle K convenience store at 2849 Apalachee Parkway, across the street from the Neil Kirkman state office building. tallahassee.com

Fresno, CA: Man stabbed to death by panhandler outside of gas station
A man was stabbed to death after he refused to give money to a panhandler outside of a gas station in Fresno, according to police. Around 10 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, the Fresno Police Department says officers learned of a stabbing at the Family Express Food & Liquor, a gas station on Fresno and B Streets, near Fresno's Chinatown District. Fresno Police say a 60-year-old man had pulled up to the gas station in his car and was trying to head into the store. kmph.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Atlanta, GA: Police arrest man with 5 guns, body armor inside Publix grocery store at Atlantic Station
Police on Wednesday arrested a man who walked into an Atlanta grocery store with five guns, just days after a shooting at a Colorado supermarket left 10 people dead. The Atlanta Police Department responded to a call of an armed man at the Publix in Atlantic Station and spoke with a manager who said a man armed with a rifle was inside the store, police said in a statement. The man was openly carrying the rifle and went into the bathroom, a witness told police. "When the male exited the bathroom, arriving units immediately detained the male," police said. APD arrested 22-year-old Rico Marley and charged him with reckless conduct. Police found five guns (two long guns and three pistols) and body armor in "the male's possession," during their investigation, police said.  nbcnews.com

Rochester, MN: Man accused of stealing $1,250 in Girl Scout cookies from loading dock
A southern Minnesota man is accused of stealing more than 20 cases of Girl Scout cookies, worth an estimated $1,250, from a Rochester loading dock Saturday night. Joel Whittaker, 43, was charged Monday with felony burglary and theft counts. fox23.com

Hamden, CT: Man is accused of pushing a Home Depot Loss Prevention and threatening to use mace while stealing more than $120 worth of items

Opelika, AL: Police searching for two credit card fraud suspects hitting Target and The Home Depot

Pataskala, OH: Girl Scout leader accused of stealing $12,500 in cookie money




Auto Dealership - Paducah, KY - Burglary
Beauty - Newark, NJ - Robbery
C-Store - Iowa City, IA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Hoover, AL - Robbery
C-Store - York County, PA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Columbia, MO - Robbery
CBD - Muncie, IN - Burglary
Cellphone - Wetumpka, AL - Burglary
Cellphone - Edina, MN - Burglary
Gas Station - Fresno, CA - Armed Robbery
Hardware - Hamden, CT - Armed Robbery
Hardware - Fresno, CA - Armed Robbery
Jewelry - Fairfield, CA - Robbery
Jewelry - Madison, WI - Robbery
Jewelry - Allen, TX - Robbery
Jewelry - Charlotte, NC - Robbery
Restaurant - Tomah, WI - Burglary (Papa Murphy's)
Shoes - Minden, NV - Robbery


Daily Totals:
• 13 robberies
• 5 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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