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January 6, 2016

       

 
   

2015 A Year in Review


2015 In Review

The Year Everything Changed

When looking back at 2015 it's literally impossible not to see how the Paris attacks and San Bernardino attacks have changed our world and the impact it's had on the retail industry and Loss Prevention community itself. Who among us hasn't been waiting for the shoe to drop and another attack happen at a mall or shopping center. It's now gone beyond the active shooter concerns and entered a world quite frankly I don't think anyone would have imagined 6 months ago.

With Trump stirring the pot, the Department of Homeland Security now telling consumers to go on the attack if caught in the cross fire of an active shooter, and with open carry laws on the books, we now have the possibility of legal shootouts in stores for the first time in history. Which represents the biggest change we've ever experienced as a society and as an industry. The impact of which has yet to be seen.

Couple this with police shootings, Black Lives Matter protests, social media's impact, an 18% increase in robberies, a reported heroin epidemic, and a decriminalization trend because of over crowded prisons and the over reactionary 90's and what we have now is police departments unwilling to respond to our shoplifting cases and not a hope in the world for any federal ORC legislation

Yes, it certainly was a year and we won't even go into how e-commerce and Amazon itself is absolutely destroying brick and mortar stores. With store sales down 10.5% this holiday season there's no doubt stores will be closing and the merger activity will increase, as specific retail channels look to continue consolidating to simply survive the loud siphoning of online sales.

From an industry perspective we saw a huge push for senior LP positions in the back half of '15 and a 20% growth in the lower level LP jobs. All of which is in response to the above mentioned challenges and the fear factor even the "C" suite is operating from.

Probably from an industry milestone perspective the biggest news came from the National Retail Security Survey where Organized Retail Crime theft, for the first time in history, is now considered to be larger than internal theft. With five states having passed ORC legislation in the last 12 months. Organized Retail Crime has finally been recognized as the leading cause of theft in the retail industry. A fact that will now reverberate throughout the industry and hopefully fuel more resources and help pass at least state legislation in the last twenty states without it.

Also not surprisingly the top five most active ORC states remained the same as past years.

From an e-commerce perspective, as it relates specifically to our industry, we've seen more and more senior LP executives across North America picking up the e-commerce fraud piece and building fraud models that will hopefully staff our analytics groups in the future with young executives that are computer savvy. Eventually we may even seen drone security responsibilities, as that channel is set to boom over the next five years beyond anything we've ever seen before.

As it relates to data security and the insider threat the headlines where filled with it, and yes IT Security is managing it for the most part but we're starting to see our worlds merge. As we're the investigative subject matter experts and cyber crime is basically being committed by the same groups that are hitting our stores. So it's inevitable that they'll end up on our desk. It really all depends on how receptive one is in learning it and managing it. As cyber crime took all the headlines in 2015 and with the IoT at the door this will only grow.

All in all our industry had a good year. With 5 reaching the senior VP levels, the most ever named in a one year period, and 19 being named Vice Presidents.

In the news we see store closures and active shooters being the most popular articles year long.

It's been an eventful year for everyone and we at the Daily are honored to bring the news to you each and every day.

Let's keep everybody safe out there.

Gus Downing


 


TOP MOVING UPS IN 2015
 

The Biggest Promotion of a former
Loss Prevention Executive in 2015

Will Powell was promoted to CEO & President for Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc.  Will was previously Chief Operating Officer for Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores. He has been with Sears Holdings Corp. since 2003, when he joined the organization as Director, Loss Prevention Operations. Prior to that, Will held other senior-level loss prevention roles, including Director of Corporate and Distribution Loss Prevention for Office Max and Regional Manager, Loss Prevention and Safety for Builders Square. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Management from the University of Richmond - Robins School of Business. Congratulations, Will!


2015 Executives Going Beyond Loss Prevention

14 senior executives have moved into other areas of store operations.

John Ponnett was named Senior Vice President Operations for Giant Food.
Maurice Edwards, CFI was promoted to SVP, Enterprise Risk Management for Mattress Firm.
Chris Cyrenne was named Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer - EMEA and Canada for Walmart.
Bill Wagner, CFI was promoted to Regional Vice President Stores N. Carolina, S. Carolina for Burlington Stores.
Chris Nichols was named Interim EVP of Stores/VP Loss Prevention, Safety & Risk Management for National Stores, Inc.
David Homolka was named Vice President of Real Estate, Store Design and Construction for Cabela’s.
Blue Montez was promoted to VP of Risk Management for American Apparel.
Dan Geiger was promoted to Vice President - Store Operations for Target.
Todd Worthey was promoted to Vice President - US Risk Management for Brink's.
Doug Newsome, CFI was promoted to Vice President of Support Services for Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina.
Henry Johnson, CFI was promoted to Regional Vice President, Store Operations for Family Dollar.
Bobby DeAgostino was named Regional Vice President for Family Dollar.
John Bishop, CFE was named Senior Director of Operations, Total Loss for Southeastern Grocers.
James Peterson was promoted to Division Operations Director for RadioShack.



Congratulations to those achieving Senior Vice President level in 2015!

Ray Cloud was promoted to Senior Vice President, Loss Prevention for Ross Stores, Inc.
John Ponnett
was named Senior Vice President Operations for Giant Food.
John Talamo was recently promoted to Senior Vice President of Loss Prevention for L Brands.
Kevin Valentine, CFI, LPC
was promoted to Senior Vice President of Internal Audit, Loss Prevention & ERM for Signet Jewelers.
Ken Warfield
was promoted to Senior Vice President Premium Division North America & Asset Protection for Regis Corporation.


5 LP Executives promoted or named Senior Vice President


Congratulations to those achieving Vice President level in 2015!

Nicole Accardi, CFI was promoted to Vice President, Global Loss Prevention for J. Crew.
Shawn Blankenship was promoted to Vice President of Asset Protection for The Home Depot.
Ken Boremi, CFI was promoted to Operational Vice President, Loss Prevention for Brookstone.
Brian Broadus was named Vice President of Loss Prevention for Mattress Firm.
Michael Burch, CFI was promoted to Divisional Vice President, Loss Prevention and Risk Management for Tilly's.
Larry Carroll was named Vice President of Asset Protection for 99 Cents Only Stores.
Alisa Dart was named Vice President Asset Protection for Macy's.
Brendan Fitzgerald was promoted to Assistant Vice President Asset Protection Operations for BJ's Wholesale Club.
Julie Giblin was named Vice President of Loss Prevention for ULTA Beauty.
Khristopher Hamlin was named Vice President of Asset Protection for Macy's Northwest Region.
Cary Jones, CFI was named Vice President of Administrative Services and Loss Prevention for HVHC.
Joe Marsico was promoted to Vice President/Chief Security Officer for Nike, Inc.
Jay Mealing was promoted to Vice President, AP & Security - Mexico City, Mexico for Walmart.
Perry Resnick was promoted to Division Vice President - Asset Protection for REI.
Mark Robinson was promoted to Executive Director, Asset Protection for Toys "R" Us.
Tom Rousseau was promoted to Vice President, Corporate Security and Loss Prevention for Canadian Tire.
Jon Shimp was promoted to Vice President, Risk Management for Louis Vuitton Americas.
Kathleen Smith, CFI was named Vice President of Asset Protection for Albertson's-Safeway Group.
Kirk VanZee was named Vice President of Loss Prevention, Risk Management and Facilities for Gordman's.


19 LP Executives promoted or named Vice President


Congratulations to those achieving Director level in 2015!

Tony Alongi was recently promoted to Director of LP/Safety for Petsmart Inc.
Dave Alves was named Director of Loss Prevention for Thorntons.
Mike Andreotti was promoted to Director, Assets Protection, Field Operations for Target.
Oscar Arango was named Director of Assets Protection for Target.
Ryan Barlow was promoted to Director, Loss Prevention Operations for Family Dollar.
Tim Bartkowiak was named Divisional Director, Asset Protection for Dollar General.
Ryan Bauss, CFI was promoted to Director of Asset Protection for Harris Teeter.
Barry Berkowitz, CFI was promoted to Director of Loss Prevention for Gap Inc/Old Navy.
Chris Bitner was named Global Chief Information Security Officer for Bloomin' Brands, Inc.
Steven Bova was named Director of Asset Protection for Taco Bell.
T. Jay Brennan, CFE was named Director of Loss Prevention & Safety for Eby-Brown Company, LLC.
Steve Bryant was named Sr. Manager Profit and Protection for Caribou Coffee.
Brad Buckley was promoted to Director of Asset Protection - Retail Excellence for Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Damon Cavasin was promoted to Corporate Director, Asset Protection for SpartanNash.
Crystal Collins was named Director of Retail Asset Protection for Meijer.
Denny DeMarcy was promoted to Senior Director of Loss Prevention for Dick's Sporting Goods.
Frank Devlin was named Director of Safety Operations for Sears Holdings Corporation.
Kevin Dodson was promoted to Director of Loss Prevention for Dick's Sporting Goods.
Douglas Fessenden was named Director of Loss Prevention for Restoration Hardware.
Craig M. Gage was named Director of Loss Prevention for Brown's Super Shoes (ShopRite).
Jack Gehrke was named Director of Loss Prevention for Wireless Advocates.
Jacob Gillette was promoted to Director of Loss Prevention Operations for Dick's Sporting Goods.
Adam Gilvin was named Director of Loss Prevention for Lane Bryant.
Gina Guardamondo, CFI was promoted to Senior Director of Loss Prevention for Finish Line.
Joel Gurley, CFI was promoted to Director of Asset Protection for Abercrombie & Fitch.
Bryan Hillman was promoted to Director of Field Loss Prevention and Safety for PetSmart.
Rod Holm was named Director of Asset Protection for Big Lots Stores.
Ben Johnson was promoted to Director of Loss Prevention for L Brands.
Henry Johnson, CFI was promoted to Regional Vice President, Store Operations for Family Dollar.
Randy Johnson was named Corporate Director of Loss Prevention for Performance Food Group.
Michelle Kaplan was named Director of Loss Prevention for Bed Bath & Beyond.
Amelia Kennedy was promoted to Director - Corporate Asset Protection for Dollar General.
Millie Kresevich was promoted to Director, Asset Protection for Luxottica (Sunglass Hut, Sunglass Hut Canada, and Apex).
Darren Martel, CFI was promoted to Regional Director of Operations for Regis Corporation.
Scott Martyka, CFI, CRT was named Corporate Loss Prevention Manager for ALDI, Inc.
Michael Mata was named Director of Loss Prevention for Roger Dunn Golf Shops.
John Mearls was named Director Global Asset Protection for PayPal Holdings.
Sal Miele was named Director of Loss Prevention for NPC International.
Jose Montoya was named Corporate Loss Prevention Manager for Nestle Nespresso.
Laura Morris was named Corporate Asset Protection Management for Rastelli Food Groups, Inc.
Mike Nagyhazy was promoted to Senior Director, Loss Prevention for 24 Hour Fitness.
Mark Neapolitan, CFI, LPC was promoted to Senior Director, Signet Loss Prevention for Signet Jewelers.
Jim Nelson was named Director of Safety for CVS Health.
Steven Pace was promoted to Operating Vice President - Loss Prevention & Risk Management for Bloomingdale's.
Joe Pfeifer, CFI was named Director of Loss Prevention & Safety for Merchants Distributors.
Wallace Phillips, CFI was promoted to Director Asset Protection for Saks Fifth Avenue.
Troy Porteus was named National Director of Loss Prevention for Town Shoes of Canada.
Tony Quintal was promoted to Senior Director of Restaurant Operations & Loss Prevention for Quaker Steak & Lube.
Mark Robinson was promoted to Executive Director, Asset Protection for Toys "R" Us.
Jeff Robinson, CFI was promoted to Director Loss Prevention for Gap, Inc.
Christine Sampaio was named the Security and Loss Prevention Manager with Acklands-Grainger in Canada.
Joe Schrauder was promoted to East Business Unit Sr. Director of Asset Protection for Wal-Mart U.S.
Mark Sens was named Safety Director for Delhaize America
Steven Sherod, CFI was promoted to Director of Loss Prevention - Stores for Tractor Supply Company.
Murray Sinclair was promoted to AVP of Asset Protection for Regis Corporation.
Ron Smith was named Director, Global Physical Security & Compliance for Mattel, Inc.
Michael Staines, CFI was named Director of Loss Prevention for South Moon Under.
Paul Trickett was named National Manager of Distribution Services and Supply Chain Loss Prevention for TJX Canada/Winners Merchants International LP.
Mike Truax was promoted to Director of Field Loss Prevention at Sephora.
Mark Turner was named Director of Loss Prevention for A'GACI LLC.
Vince Vittatoe was named Director - Corporate Security & Loss Prevention for La Quinta Inns & Suites.
Bob Whitaker was promoted to National Asset Protection Manager for hhgregg.
Kimberly Willey, CFI was promoted to Director of Asset Protection for Luxottica.
Anthony Williams was promoted to Director of Asset Protection - Northeast Division for Walmart.


64 LP Executives promoted or named Director

See the full list of Moving Ups on our Archives, here
 


 


TOP 15 MOST POPULAR STORIES OF 2015
 

J.C. Penney Closing 40 Stores in April - Cutting 2,250 jobs
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has completed its annual store review and will close 40 stores on or about April 4. A spokeswoman for the company said about 2,250 store associates will get pink slips as a result. The retailer typically does a review of its stores annually to decide which sites to keep and which ones to shutter. The spokeswoman also said there are no other store closures planned for this year. She also said there are currently no store openings planned for 2015. See the full list of store closures here. wwd.com (January 8)

Target Closing 13 Stores Nationwide Citing Falling Profits
Target plans to close 13 stores nationwide, it announced Wednesday. The Minneapolis-based retailer says a decision to close a store usually follows several years of decreasing profitability. The retail giant plans to close the stores on Jan. 30, 2016. Target was hurt by a massive credit-card breach before Christmas 2013 that sent shoppers temporarily fleeing. The company also botched a major expansion into Canada and pulled the plug on that earlier this year. Layoffs in 2015 included 2,500 jobs, or about one-fifth of the workers in the company's corporate offices in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park. See full list of the 13 Target stores closing here. nytimes.com (November 4)

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Releases 'Surviving An Active Shooter' video - Contains graphic content
Detailing a mall and warehouse shooting incident - Inspired by true events
Most realistic we've ever seen - Released on ABC news

The sheriff's department renewed their focus on the video following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino on Wednesday that killed 14 people and injured 21 others. Sgt. Harry Drucker with the sheriff's department produced the video and said the scenarios are based on or inspired by true events.

Active shooter events are increasing with one killing more than 4 people occurring every 2.9 months. On average twenty mass shootings take place every year in the U.S.  Editor's Note: Since the San Bernadino shootings five locals have planned active shooter training exercises.  abc7.com (December 9)

Macy's restructuring: 14 store closures, thousands of layoffs, perhaps an off-price focus  In response to changes in "where the customer is headed," Macy's chief announced on Thursday a sweeping reorganization plan that will close 14 under-performing stores, lay off thousands of workers and, most far-reaching, ready the retailer to respond to an omnichannel shopping environment. According to a statement by Terry Lundgren, Macy's chairman and CEO, the department store retailer will close 14 stores, while opening two new locations, and generate an annual savings of $140 million - which will then be reinvested into the business. In tandem with the closures, Macy's and sister company Bloomingdale's will restructure their currently separate merchandising and marketing into one unified organization, and lay off thousands of workers - although its workforce of 175,000 reportedly will remain stable as additional staffers are added in other areas. About 2,200 jobs will be lost when Macy's and Bloomingdale's contract both store and field operations personnel. However, key growth initiatives for 2015 include creating a team to explore opportunities for a Macy's off-price business; growing its digital business, namely, macys.com and bloomingdales.com; and expanding its San Francisco-based digital technology organization by hiring more than 150 people. Read Macy's press release here. chainstoreage.com (January 9)

Sears to sell 300 of its best stores - "the dismantling continues" (February 27)

Bloomingdale's Loss Prevention Takedowns under question when incident Is Caught on Tape in San Francisco  On Thursday, customer Danny Scher was in the San Francisco store when he saw the scuffle. He thought he walked into a "gang fight" but then realized it was four loss prevention officers tackling a suspect. "I pulled out my camera because it just didn't seem right," Scher told KGO. "They seemed to be awfully aggressive-there was blood on the floor, on the tile." The video shows four plainclothes security guards tackling a man on the floor, with his face very bloody. One of the guards tries to keep Scher from recording. The tackled man appears to be dazed from the pain as the guards tries to keep him from moving too much. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. According to SFPD, the man on the ground in the video has been charged twice before with shoplifting from that Bloomingdales. He was being asked to leave before the altercation occurred, and was not armed. He was not charged in this particular incident, nor has he filed charges against the guards. abc7news.com (August 3)

Taco Bell executive fired after alleged assault in Uber car
A Taco Bell executive has lost his job with the fast-food company after being caught on video in a violent incident with an Uber driver in California, Taco Bell told CNBC.com. Benjamin Golden, who led Taco Bell's mobile commerce and innovation initiatives, according to an online bio, lost his position at the company after a video posted by the Uber driver went viral. "Given the behavior of the individual, it is clear he can no longer work for us," Taco Bell said in a statement emailed to CNBC. "We have also offered and encouraged him to seek professional help." cnbc.com (November 3)

February 2  LA County Sheriff Releases Tarantino-style Active Shooter Video - Warning Graphic  A graphic new PSA from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department offers violent advice on what to do during a mass shooting. The video, called 'Surviving an Active Shooter,' shows blood spurting and multiple victims left on the ground in a variety of mass shootings. Bystanders are seen using several different survival methods. 'This nine minute video presentation, which has been in production for nearly two years, is one of the most ambitious projects the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Video Production Unit (VPU) has ever produced,' a release from the LASD says. It continues, 'The video presentation features three vignettes inspired by true life events and introduces the viewer to concepts such as: cover and concealment, location awareness, and self-defense.' dailymail.co.uk lacounty.gov (February 2)

REI busts ORC ring in Marlton, N.J. using "Wrist EAS Detachers"
On September 3rd, a Market Asset Protection Specialist for REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) sporting goods busted two males attempting to steal 14 TNF Thermoball jackets valued at $2,900. They removed our security hardware with the device in the photos. He successfully apprehended one of the suspects, recovered all of the merchandise and arrested him.

Perry Resnick, REI's Director of Asset Protection, found a web site (link below) that had been selling the wrist EAS detacher and has begun conversations with suppliers on what can be done to shut down this type of activity. For anyone seeking additional information or wishing to help work with REI on this issue please contact John Mulheran at jmulera@rei.com (September 16)

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Super-Sensor-Magnetic-EAS-Security-Tag-Watch-Wrist-Detacher/584723923.html

 

One alarming reason why Wal-Mart's profit is down - "Wal-Mart's theft problem is getting worse"  Wal-Mart US President Greg Foran said Tuesday that theft, which the company calls shrinkage, is one of three major factors behind the retailer's drop in profit in the most recent quarter. "Inventory shrinkage was meaningfully higher than planned for the quarter," Foran said in an earnings call. Wal-Mart likely loses about 1% of its US revenue - or roughly $3 billion dollars every year - to stealing by customers and employees.

The other factors contributing to Wal-Mart's profit decline are a drop in gross margin, primarily related to lower than expected pharmacy reimbursements, and higher wages, Foran said. "I want to be straightforward: These issues will present continuing profit challenges for the remainder of the year," he said. "We are certainly disappointed. But we are not standing still. We know we can do better, and we will." businessinsider.com (August 18)





Gotta Watch this Video from Lock Tube - Opening a Master Lock with a Hammer (December 1)








Laid-off RadioShack employees lose severance pay - 40 'key' employees to split $3M closing bonus (February 13)

The Daily's 2,500 Store Closure Prediction in Q1 '15 Reached 1-28-15 - Store Closure Announcements Reach 3,171 Stores in 28 Days  As predicted the U.S. retail market's saturation coupled with the online impact and some struggling retailers have caused store closing announcements to reach 3,171 stores in the first month of 2015. As part of our commitment to continue to keep you informed we'll be listing the store closure announcements list in a side bar column on the Daily for the rest of this year. Which brings the question do we reach 10,000 closures this year. As this will be the a record year for closures. about.com (January 28)

Papa John's owner jailed, fined for stiffing workers amid probe (November 18)

Wal-Mart shuffles senior executives, announces departures (January 20)
 



 




Top 5: Florida, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York



TOP ORC CASES BY DOLLAR AMOUNT

Palisades Park, NJ man sentenced to time served for role in $325 Million counterfeit-goods ring  A federal judge showed leniency toward a Bergen County, NJ man on Thursday, sentencing him to time served after determining that while he made "a series of bad choices," he was not a main player in a $325 million counterfeit goods ring. Dao Feng Shi, of Palisades Park, admitted in a plea deal last year to conspiring or attempting to traffic in counterfeit goods. He said ordered Ugg labels and attempted to stick them on about 300 non-brand-name boots to get rid of surplus merchandise from his shoe and accessory business. That act was unrelated to the large counterfeit operation, said his attorney, Lawrence Welle. Shi was among 29 people charged in 2012 for their alleged involvement in what prosecutors said was one of the largest counterfeit goods smuggling operations prosecuted in the United States. The suspects attempted to import Chinese knock-offs, such as fake Nike shoes and Gucci handbags, through Port Newark-Elizabeth over several years, authorities said. Law enforcement officials arrested suspects in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Texas and the Philippines. northjersey.com (January 16)

$25 Million dollar ID theft ring busted in Jacksonville, FL 
All it took was one phone call to unravel a multi-million dollar scam. The case began when a company called authorities to report that an $85,000 check it was expecting in the mail, never arrived. "That $85,000 check ballooned into a $25 million ID theft investigation," said U.S. Postal Inspector Darnell Edwards. Postal inspectors say one of the suspects was stealing checks, usually for large sums, right out of the mail. "They would slightly alter the name on the check to throw off the scent if you will," explained Edwards. For example, if the company was called ABCD, they would make it ABCD Incorporated. "They would go to the bank and indicate they were the owner or president of the company. They would open the business account, several days later they would deposit the fairly large check, they would draw down the account as quickly as they could," Edwards explained. In addition to opening up checking accounts, the suspects were also getting fraudulent credit cards in the names of the bogus businesses. One suspect agreed to allow postal inspectors to search his home. Investigators found plenty of evidence including 300 credit cards. "They were all sectioned off into sevens," said Edwards. "One for each day of the week. So Sunday, they would swipe x amount of credit cards for x amount of dollars, Monday, Tuesday."
news4jax.com (January 21)

Daytona Beach, FL: Haynes Brothers Furniture owners, employee
charged in $24 Million theft ring
Three family members in Haynes Brothers Furniture here have been charged with racketeering and grand theft in a $24 million printer toner resale ring. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported David Haynes and his two sons, Jason and Kyle Haynes, of the five-store Haynes Brothers chain, along with employee Bryan Day, were each charged with racketeering and three counts of grand theft of more than $100,000. A state investigation determined they each made about $800,000 reselling toner belonging to Xerox Corp., the report said. Convicted sexual predator Robert Fisher also is wanted in connection with the theft, the report said. The three Haynes family members and employee allegedly defrauded the Xerox Co. in a scheme that started in 2008, lasted until 2013 and involved establishing two ghost companies. Xerox initially estimated its loss at about $7 million, but after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation, the loss was bumped up to nearly $24 million. The Hayneses and Day initially set up an HDH Graphics company as a legitimate side business. "But after they discovered how easy it was to order toner from Xerox, the focus shifted to ordering toner and selling it on eBay." furnituretoday.com (November 13)

$17.5M+ Multi-state cargo theft ring busted in Louisville, Ky.
Eight people - five of whom are from Louisville - are accused of stealing tractor-trailers and painting over identifying logos in a scheme to steal merchandise valued at tens of millions of dollars, the Justice Department announced Thursday. The southern Indiana district of the U.S. Attorney's Office, an agency of the DOJ, announced a 23-count indictment against the eight people accused of stealing products ranging from electronics and appliances to cosmetics and baby formula.

Prosecutors say that the alleged thieves would follow the trucks from various distribution facilities until the drivers would stop to rest or refuel. The men would then steal the trucks and drive to a nearby location, where they would attach the trailer to their own tractor and abandon the stolen tractor. Frequently, they would paint over logos on the stolen trailers, the release says, in an effort to evade police.

The value of goods stolen in or transported through the southern district of Indiana alone exceeds $17.5 million, according to a DOJ release. wave3.com (July 10)

N.J. couple accused of roles in $15M counterfeit watch international smuggling ring  Prosecutors say a central New Jersey couple was involved in international trafficking ring that smuggled counterfeit high-end wrist watches between Hong Kong and New Jersey. They say a search of the couple's home uncovered more than 150,000 counterfeit watches, watch parts and equipment used to assemble wrist watches. The retail value of authentic watches was estimated at more than $15 million. northjersey.com (August 18)

Newport News, VA: Man pleads guilty to laundering money from jewelry heists; $5M in 6 states
A 44-year-old man pleaded guilty in Newport News federal court Wednesday to charges related to laundering the proceeds of a sophisticated jewelry theft ring, officials said. Slavik Hayimov, aka Steve Hayimov, of Queens, New York, admitted to conspiring with a Richmond-based jewelry theft ring. The theft ring ultimately stole more than $5 million in jewelry from victims in Virginia and at least six other states. The thieves regularly watched jewelry stores and identified vulnerable people who they followed home or to hotels. In most cases, several men suddenly appeared when the victims approached or entered their vehicles. The robbers would then punch out car windows and threaten the victims at knife-point before stealing the merchandise. The robbers then traveled to New York and sold the merchandise to Hayimov, court documents state. Knowing the merchandise was stolen, Hayimov paid far less than fair market value for the jewelry. He paid in cash and by making anonymous bank deposits to conceal the activities. dailypress.com (October 15)

ORC Thief told Safeway LP "I'll be back" after being sentenced to 4 yrs in prison in 2012 - He's Back! & Safeway estimates that he and his girlfriend have stolen more than $5M from retailers over a decade  When prolific shoplifter Richard Lavern Remington was sentenced to four years in prison in 2012 and ordered not to return to Safeway, Remington blurted "I'll be back'' as he locked eyes with Safeway officials when he was led out of a Multnomah County courtroom. Store video surveillance caught Remington swiping deli food and DVDs on Jan. 13 from the same store, at 3927 S.E. 122nd Ave., according to Rick Whidden, Safeway's loss prevention director in the Northwest Division. On Jan. 15, 19, 27 and 29, he was observed shoplifting merchandise from Safeway stores in Gresham and Portland, stealing Tide detergent, Olay skin care products, Dove body wash, Dove shampoo and other hair care products and food, Whidden said. "He vowed to return to stealing at Safeway when he got out, and we in turn promised to send him back to prison if he did,'' Whidden said. "Turns out he's a man a of his word ... and so are we.'' Remington, 56, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on Saturday night on a parole violation and criminal trespass allegation. Here's other articles about this couple and their 10 year stealing spree.  oregonlive.com (February 3)

$5 million theft ring in Washington D.C. area shut down: 7 members of 'Simple City Criminal Organization'  Federal and local law enforcement officials announced Thursday that they shut down a theft ring that netted $5 million through a series of carjackings, robberies and other crimes allegedly committed around the region since 2009. Seven members of the Simple City Criminal Organization were arrested Thursday after 140 federal and local law enforcement officers executed 11 search warrants in the alleged racketeering conspiracy. The group specialized in "hop-ins" - thefts that occur when someone leaves their keys in the car as it warms up or at a gas station, prosecutors allege. After stealing a car, members of the ring would use it to commit robberies or other crimes, authorities said. They would sell the cellphones, tablets and computers found in vehicles for a profit and use any credit cards, checkbooks or debit cards found to commit fraud, federal investigators charged. washingtonpost.com (July 17)

9 Minnesota Men Indicted In $3.8M Stolen Cell Phone Ring
A 30-year-old Golden Valley man is accused of leading a stolen cell phone ring that trafficked at least $3.8 million worth of devices between Hong Kong and the United States. Eight Twin Cities co-conspirators also face charges. Zibo Li was indicted on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. The indictment says Li and others entered used identity theft to fraudulently enter service contracts in the U.S. at the reduced rates that come with long-term contracts. They would then break the contracts with the mobile service carriers and sell the phones in Hong Kong. "These defendants stole the identifying information of nearly 60 known individuals and 20 known businesses," said Assistant United States Attorney Manda M. Sertich in a statement. "They exploited vulnerable members of our society, including people residing in homeless shelters, to steal cell phones and turn a profit." The case is a result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, the St. Paul Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, the University of Minnesota Police Department and the Plymouth Police Department. cbslocal.com (May 15)

San Diego, CA: Imperial Valley business owner admits trafficking $3.2 Million in counterfeit cell phone parts
An Imperial Valley businessman pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to a long-running conspiracy involving money laundering and the trafficking of millions of dollars of counterfeit cell phone parts. Octavio Cesar Sana, a Spanish national with legal U.S. residency, admitted in a plea agreement that he sold at least $3.2 million worth of Chinese-made counterfeit cell phone parts through businesses he operated since 2007-including a website called "Flexqueen.com." Sana admitted in his plea agreement that he and co-conspirator Hongwei Du attended meetings in the United States to set up and expand their counterfeit trafficking ventures. The two were arrested Feb. 3 at the Imperial Valley Airport following an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigations. HSI special agents executed a series of search warrants throughout the U.S., resulting in the seizure of more than 55,000 counterfeit items and additional criminal charges in several jurisdictions. imperialvalleynews.com (September 28)


 


TOP ORC CASES BY SUSPECT


The 'Awwad Criminal Enterprise' - The Middle East Connection to ORC - Twenty-six indicted in stolen equipment & fencing ring in Toledo, OH  Twenty-six people, most of whom are Toledo residents, have been indicted in U.S. District Court for roles in a stolen-equipment ring that shipped goods to Michigan and the Middle East, the U.S. Department of Justice said today. The items were fenced at stores in Toledo and resold elsewhere. They included stolen computers, smart phones, and other electronics. Officials said some members of the conspiracy used guns, threats, or violence as part of their work. Allegations also included illegal check cashing and selling counterfeit clothing at stores. The announcement today at a news conference comes after authorities earlier conducted a series of raids at businesses and homes across the city. In one instance, FBI agents raided an apartment building in the 800 block of South Avenue near Broadway in South Toledo. Agents wearing FBI jackets were seen carrying boxes in their hands from the structure to a vehicle nearby about 7:45 a.m. Two people were taken into custody. The United States Department of Justice says the accused sold stolen computers, smart phones and other electronics in Toledo, Michigan and the Middle East. Some in the group are also accused of illegally cashing millions of dollars worth of checks in their stores, laundering money and selling counterfeit clothing. Editor's Note: This investigation was led by Kroger's ORC team and the investigation is ongoing. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes public as it will extend for some time. toledoblade.com toledonewsnow.com (March 10)

33 arrested in Marion Co, FL retail theft bust
Marion County Sheriff's Office detectives, along with the Ocala Police Department, arrested and charged 33 people for a total of 17 felonies, 34 misdemeanors, six violations of probations and two warrants during a two-day retail theft sting on Thursday and Friday (3/12/15 and 3/13/15). MCSO and OPD partnered with Walmart, Bealls, Target and Publix during this operation. All the stores provided additional loss prevention personnel who all worked with the same goal in mind to reduce retail theft in Marion County. During the operation, loss prevention officers patrolled the stores and made apprehensions with the assistance of detectives. Detectives then conducted thorough investigations and interviews with the suspects to determine if they were involved in any additional crimes in Marion County. This operation is funded by a grant from the Florida Legislature with no impact on the Sheriff's budget. "This retail theft sting could not have been possible without the cooperation of all the businesses that participated," said Sheriff Chris Blair. "We are extremely grateful to have these community partners. Together, we can continue to reduce crime in Marion County, for our citizens and our businesses alike." During the operation, loss prevention officers patrolled the stores and made apprehensions with the assistance of detectives. Detectives then conducted thorough investigations and interviews with the suspects to determine if they were involved in any additional crimes in Marion County. This operation is funded by a grant from the Florida Legislature with no impact on the Sheriff's budget. "This retail theft sting could not have been possible without the cooperation of all the businesses that participated," said Sheriff Chris Blair. "We are extremely grateful to have these community partners. Together, we can continue to reduce crime in Marion County, for our citizens and our businesses alike." facebook.com (March 16)

Dozens rounded up as suspects in Berks County, PA crime ring; 28 of 38 suspects sought are in custody  Police have pulled the plug on a massive crime ring accused of causing chaos across Berks County. "I think it's going to make a huge dent," said District Attorney John Adams during a news conference Friday morning. Thirty-eight suspects have been charged following a lengthy grand jury investigation dubbed "Operation Gucci." Gucci" was reportedly a term used by the ring, which committed a variety of crimes over several years, investigators said. "Not just one type of crime was occurring, they were all over the books," Adams told 69 News. Some of the suspects have been linked to robberies reported in November 2014 at Sunocos in West Reading and Alsace Township. Officials said some suspects were also behind a check fraud scam that victimized Gage Personnel in West Reading last year, and the credit card scam that originated from the Dunkin Donuts in Wyomissing earlier this year. Investigators said the suspects were influenced by three ring leaders: Jose McFarland, Danita Sanders and Jerome Fiers. Early Friday morning, roughly 100 law enforcement officers rounded up suspects, in addition to executing over a dozen search warrants. As of Friday afternoon, 28 of 38 suspects were reported in custody. Police said 11 suspects had been arrested prior to Friday. The investigation involved members of the Berks County sheriff's office, the West Reading and Reading police departments, Berks County district attorney's major crime task force, Pennsylvania State Parole, Berks County Probation Department and the Berks County Jail System. wfmz.com (May 18)

Houston Police Operation: "Can You Hear Me Now?" - 26 busted in Cell Phone Robbery Ring  Investigators say they've busted a big cell phone theft ring that has ties to the Crips gang. Twenty-four adults and two juveniles are charged in connection with 20 armed robberies since September of 2014, according to Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman. They call themselves "ABM" or All 'Bout the Money. Investigators say they targeted cell phone stores in Harris County and often threatened to kill employees and customers. One of the robbers allegedly shot a Houston Police officer. They sold the stolen phones to a buyer who shipped them overseas. The crime ring is also connected to two FedEx truck robberies last September, Hickman said. Ringleader Terrance Edwards, 24, would recruit young men from the East End to join his team, HCSO investigators say. They were paid $1,000 for each robbery. Charges against the suspects range from aggravated robbery, engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated sexual assault on a peace officer. The arrests come after a joint investigation called "Operation: Can You Hear Me Now?" by the HCSO, HPD and the Harris County District Attorney's Office. They broke the case open after some of the early suspects arrested started naming names. khou.com (July 9)

Polk County's 'Operation Free Ride' Organized Retail Crime Investigation Results in 36 Arrests  From Wednesday, July 8th through Saturday, July 11th, the PCSO Organized Retail Crimes Unit and partnering entities conducted a countywide operation focusing on those who shoplift from Polk County retail stores, and made 36 arrests.

"All of these suspects earned a 'free ride' to the county jail after attempting to steal merchandise. Our Organized Retail Crime task force works with area retailers and other law enforcement agencies to apprehend those who refuse to comply with the law. We are sending out this warning to everyone: if you shoplift in Polk County, you will go to jail." - Sheriff Grady Judd

The participating businesses involved in this investigation from Auburndale, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Haines City, were: · Bealls · Bealls Outlet · Home Depot · Lowes  · Macy's · Target · TJ Maxx · Walmart

Detectives worked with loss prevention personnel at each store, focusing on identifying suspects who were trying to conceal items on their person and leave the stores without paying, and who were scanning items not being purchased in order to pay less for the items. Some of the suspects were consuming food in the stores, without paying for it.

Of the 36 arrests, 30 were for Retail Theft, and 6 were for other crimes discovered during the investigation. Of the 36 arrests, 4 of those arrested were juveniles - 3 for shoplifting, and one for marijuana possession. PCSO filed a total of 46 misdemeanor charges and 10 felony charges against the 36 suspects. The total value of items stolen by these suspects is $691.00.

29 of the suspects have criminal histories, and 13 of the suspects told detectives they are receiving government assistance. Those with criminal histories have a combined total of 110 previous misdemeanor and 102 previous felony charges.

During the operation, PCSO simultaneously hosted the second annual Organized Retail Crime Training, with 40 hours of instruction for law enforcement officers from across the country. The students were able to observe firsthand how to investigate retail theft and how to facilitate partnerships with retail loss prevention investigators to help prevent and solve crimes. polksheriff.org (July 16)

Meza, AZ: Operation Fade to Black Friday in effect for holidays
Just in time for Black Friday, police and retailers are cracking down on shoplifters this holiday season. The City of Mesa and the Salt River Police Department are teaming up with the East Valley Fusion Center for the third year of Operation Fade to Black Friday. Undercover detectives and retail loss prevention officers are working in Mesa and at Scottsdale Pavillions to target shoplifters, booster organizations, fencing locations and repeat offenders. Fade to Black Friday kicked off last week. So far, 35 people have been arrested, eight active organized retail theft investigations were created and more than $4,000 worth of stolen merchandise was recovered. kpho.com (November 25)

20 Arrested In $83,818.72 - Lowe's Retail Theft/Return Scheme in Western PA  Police have arrested 20 people in connection with an elaborate retail theft and return scheme involving area Lowe's stores. According to police, 21 thefts happened from Feb. 9 through April 15 at several stores in five different counties across Western Pennsylvania. We had a number of individuals that were shoplifting various items from Lowe's stores," said Sgt. Chuck Mascellino, of the Cranberry Police Department. "They would then return them throughout Beaver County and Butler County for the gift cards or cash cards."

In all but one case, two men would enter the store and grab a five-gallon bucket or hand-held shopping basket. The men would walk through the store and load up on tools and other small, valuable items. At that point, they would make their way to the front of the store, where they would wait for employees to be tied up with customers before running outside. The stolen merchandise was then given to other people to return to the store. The value of the returned items were placed onto a Lowe's merchandise credit card, as is store policy for items returned without a receipt. The returns were made only to the Lowe's stores in Center Township, Beaver County, and Cranberry Township, Butler County. It's a larger case because of the dollar amount and the number of people involved," said Sgt. Mascellino. "We have had smaller cases before, but eventually they will be caught." Once the credit cards were obtained, they were sold to several Beaver County pawn shops for a percentage of the value on the card. The total value of the credit cards ended up being $27,780.40. cbslocal.com (April 20)

"Operation Red Flag" 4-County Check Fraud Ring dismantled in Florida  Following a massive, multi-agency investigation spanning a four-county region, it's now game over for 20 people who are accused of running an expansive check fraud ring. Several of the defendants are facing federal charges for their part in an organized criminal enterprise responsible for more than $30,000 in losses from fraudulent bank transactions. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office along with the U.S. Postal Inspector's Service coordinated the investigation, which spread out to law enforcement agencies in Volusia, Flagler, Seminole and St. Johns counties. Launched last August, the investigation was dubbed "Operation Red Flag". It was a fairly structured operation, according to investigators who spent months toppling the group. "The organization developed a refined method of operation, from the selective targeting of certain neighborhoods or areas, to the method of forgery and culminating in the techniques used to utter the forged checks," Sheriff's investigators wrote in a nearly 100-page affidavit outlining the group's crimes. The organization has been linked to more than 70 cases in the four-county area. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office alone has investigated nearly 30 of the cases. In Volusia County, frauds also were committed in DeLand, Orange City, Daytona Beach, Edgewater, Holly Hill, Ormond Beach, Port Orange and South Daytona. The stolen checks were intended for a wide range of recipients, everything from banks, department stores, credit card, insurance and vehicle finance companies to utility firms and cable providers. The 20 defendants linked to the criminal organization include 15 men and 5 women. Their ages range from 27-47. In addition to confessions from several defendants, investigators have mountains of physical evidence linking the organization to a trail of crimes, including personal identification, thumbprints, recovered checks and surveillance video from many of the bank transactions. facebook.com (June 5)

Lansing, MI: Police arrest 21 in shoplifting blitz
Police from Lansing and Lansing Township arrested 21 people last week - including a 12-year-old -in what they're calling a "shoplifting blitz." The police partnered with stores including Walmart, Meijer, Target, Sears, Kmart, and Kroger - and on Wednesday and Thursday, November 18th and 19th. They spent 15 hours over the course of those two days working with loss prevention officers in the various stores to make the arrests. They arrested 13 men and 7 women. Seventeen of them are from Lansing. Police say they wanted to let people know they're keeping an eye out for these crimes - particularly in the run-up to the holiday shopping season. "This collaborative effort between Police Departments and local retail stores strengthened relationships and sent a strong message to people considering shoplifting," said Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski. wlns.com (November 24)

"Operation T-bone" - Fencing Operations Funneling money to Yemen - Steaks shoplifted leads to 11 stores raided & 242 arrest warrants issued for massive food stamp fraud in Alabama - Funding terrorism?  A couple of steaks shoplifted at a Gardendale Walmart three months ago led to the biggest food stamp fraud investigation in Jefferson County's history, and launched 11 simultaneous raids at convenience stores countywide. Led by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, teams of law enforcement officers. The officers and agents were armed with 242 arrest warrants and plans to arrest 17 suspects.

The massive probe, dubbed Operation T-bone, targeted those they say have been cheating the food stamp system to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and sending at least some of the profits via wire transfer to Yemen.

The investigation began in February when Gardendale police arrested a man for shoplifting steaks and some other items at Walmart in that city. When they interviewed the suspect, he said he was boosting the items to give to two convenience stores, and he named the stores, authorities said.

Investigators contacted Walmart's Global Investigations Unit in an effort to let them know they would like to attempt to sell property represented to be stolen to those stores, but when they told Walmart the nature of their probe, they learned the conglomerate was already investigating those two convenience stores for EBT fraud. Simply put, they learned, the store owners and managers were using EBT cards that did not belong to them to buy goods in bulk to sell at their stores. ..."

This is huge for us,'' Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls told AL.com. The defendants are accused of buying the government-issued debit cards from those who legally qualified to have them, and then using them to purchase bulk food products to stock their store shelves. The pervasive scheme cheated the food stamp system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said. The 19 people arrested were charged with public assistance fraud, fraudulent use of a credit card and theft of property.  nydailynews.com f169bbs.com (June 8)

 

 

 
 

 
 

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