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February 28, 2013

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News Brief
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J Crew global expansion now reaches 107 countries. International growth fueled the expansion of the logistic network, opening a new 155,000 square foot distribution center in Lynchburg, Virginia. J Crew invested $20 million into the facility; the city of Lynchburg contributed $350,000 in a one time economic development grant. The facility employs between 600 to 1200 people, and hoping to add 170 new jobs over the next three years. (Source newsadvance.com)

JC Penney struggles continue, posting lowest sales in decades.  J.C. Penney reported sales at stores open at least a year fell 31.7 percent in the fourth quarter, a much worse-than-expected plunge that might put Chief Executive Ron Johnson's future at the company at risk. The poor results for the quarter, which included the holiday season, capped a rough first year for Penney's restructuring. (Source bloomberg.com)

Office Depot asked by Investor to sell off Mexico division.  Office Depot has been urged to sell its Mexican division to Grupo Gigante SAB by major share holder Starboard Value LP. The offer from Mexico City-based Gigante expires today. Grupo Gigante, the Mexico City-based retailer that owns the other 50 percent of Office Depot de Mexico, offered to pay 8.78 billion pesos ($683 million) for the rest of the company, according to a Feb. 21 filing. Starboard had asked Office Depot last September to cut general expenses, lower advertising costs and move to smaller stores. (Source bloomberg.com)

Walmart on target to do $9 Billion in e-commerce sales in 2013.  Half a trillion dollars. That barely comprehensible number has entered the sights of the world’s largest retailer. Walmart recently reported net sales of more than $466 billion for its fiscal year 2013, which ended January 31. At its current growth rate of 5 percent, the company still won’t reach a half-trillion next year. Walmart undoubtedly looks at e-commerce sales of $9 billion and sees nowhere to go but up. Amazon’s net sales for its most recent fiscal year were $61 Billion. (Source internetretailer.com)

Nordstrom Authorizes $800 Million Stock Buyback, Boosts Dividend.  Nordstrom Inc. Wednesday said its board has authorized a repurchase program of up to $800 million of common stock, through March 1, 2015. The company intends to fund the program from existing cash on hand. The existing repurchase program has $344 million outstanding, as of February 26, 2013, and will expire on February 1, 2014. Nordstrom also approved a quarterly dividend of $0.30 per share, an increase of 11 percent over the previous quarter. Stock buybacks increase the value of the remaining shares, sometimes an indication that a company perceives their stock to be undervalued. (Source businesswire.com)

Victoria's Secret to open in Hong Kong. 
Victoria's Secret will open its first stores in Hong Kong this year. The first two stores will each span 1,500 square feet and be located at International Finance Centre in Central district and at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin district. While Limited Brands is positive about the potential for Victoria's Secret outside North America, it has maintained a cautious approach to rolling out offshore. (Source bloomberg.com)

Target sees Fourth Quarter results dip, in part to the expense of the upcoming Canadian launch.  Target saw a 2% decline in net income in the fourth quarter, citing heavy completion for holiday sales and the launch of the upcoming Canadian division. Target earned US$961 million, or $1.47 per share, for the three months ended Feb. 2, down from $981 million, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier Target is on schedule to open 24 Canadian stores in early April. (Source canadianbusiness.com)

Cell Phone Service Providers now hit from another angle, $10,000 in copper stolen from towers.  AT&T and Verizon among others have made the news for retail store robberies and burglaries, now thieves have attacked the cell phone towers in Abilene, Texas. Last week someone broke into the tower’s secured area and stole $10,000 of copper wire. Police have few leads to go on at this time. (Source ktxs.com)

New Mexico Investigative Reporters look at top 10 Stolen Items from inside the store and out.  Everything from truck tailgates to hay are among the list, as well as Tide, are making the list of trending theft items due to increased cost and or demand. (Source kob.com)

Two former postal workers sentenced to 3 to 7 years for stealing $3.5 million in US Treasury checks.  Two former postal workers were sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison after being convicted for their role in a multi-million dollar scheme involving U.S. Treasury checks. Gerald Eason, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and three months in prison, Fambro-Echols was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and Jabril McKee was sentenced to two and a half years. Deborah Fambro-Echols worked as a mail handler at the facility. While on the job, Eason and Fambro-Echols stole thousands of U.S. Treasury checks and provided them to a network of brokers and check cashers who would then negotiate the checks and split the criminal proceeds. (Source bizjournals.com)

Knoxville Dollar General armed robbery ends in gunfire; body found.  An armed robbery at a Knoxville Dollar General store ended with an apparent fatal exchange of gunfire between the suspect and the manager Wednesday night. Witnesses indicated that the store manager, Anthony Smith, told police the suspect pulled a .38-caliber revolver during the robbery and ordered him to open the store safe. Smith said he complied and the suspect soon fled on foot with an unspecified amount of cash. Smith then chased after the suspect, who ran west from the business. The gunman fired one shot at Smith outside the store, Smith said he returned fire, although he wasn’t certain how many rounds he fired or whether he struck the man. (Source wate.com)

Shopper shoots at fleeing Walmart shoplifting suspect's car in Orange City, Florida.  A Deltona man shopping at a Walmart was arrested for shooting a shoplifter's car Wednesday, saying he wanted to mark the vehicle so police could find it. Jose Martinez, 35, was charged with aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle. About 12:30 p.m., the suspected shoplifter, Eddie Mckee, started stacking steaks and ribs into a shopping cart at Walmart, then left the store with over $200 in meat. When a Walmart Loss Prevention officer tried to stop McKee, the suspect abandoned his shopping cart and ran. As the suspect was running out of the store being chased, Jose Martinez also chased after him. Martinez said he didn't know why McKee was being chased but he joined in. As the suspect got into his car attempting to drive away, Martinez pulled out his 9 mm handgun and fired several rounds at the car. (Source wesh.com)

Man jumps 30 feet to his death at a mall in Queens, New York.  A 28 year old jumped 30 feet to his death from the third level of the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, New York. The incident occurred at 12:35pm on Wednesday, with many horrified shoppers witnessing the incident. (Source nypost.com)

Discovery Channel’s Gunsmoke Gun store burglarized in Colorado.  The store featured on a Discovery Channel show called “American Gun” was burglarized Wednesday night and an undetermined amount of weapons were stolen. The show features one of a kind and historic weapons carried at the store. The owner, Rich Wyatt is unsure if the store being featured on the show led to the burglary. (Source cbslocal.com)

Robbers tied up employees at Aspen Hill, Maryland Verizon Store.  Montgomery County police are searching for three men who robbed a Verizon store at gunpoint in Aspen Hill Tuesday. According to police, two men entered the store as it was closing, forced the two employees to the back of the store and tied them up. The associates were not injured. (Source washingtonexaminer.com)

Ace Hardware store in Wimberley, TX a total loss; $3 million in damage.  The Ace Hardware store in Wimberley, Texas was a total loss, the cause of the fire is still undetermined, but Fire Officials do not believe it was arson related. The Ace Hardware store was the number three employer in Wimberley, and number one in terms of gross sales. (Source haysfreepress.com)

Senior LP executives - We'd like to hear from you  We are conducting an informal survey in regards to the traditional retail LP model to see how LP jobs have incorporated any components of the IT security. If you are a senior Loss Prevention executive in retail and have any IT security responsibilities we'd like to hear from you and find out exactly what they are. Involvement may include but not limited to: mobile and tablet roll-outs, privacy issues, and internal threat analysis. Email Gus confidentially at gusd@downing-downing.com. Thank you.

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Now Accepting Nominations for
the 2013 LP Awards

Dear Colleague,

Each year at the NRF Loss Prevention Conference & EXPO we recognize the efforts of both law enforcement officers and retail loss prevention professionals through the NRF LP Awards ceremony.

Please take a moment to nominate a deserving LP investigator or law enforcement officer. Help us recognize and celebrate the hard work, perseverance, diligence, collaboration and ingenuity that it takes to resolve retail investigations.

Go here and submit your nomination for one of the following categories:

• Law Enforcement Retail Partner Award (LERPA) honors law enforcement officers that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support the retail industry in combating fraud and other types of losses.

• LP Case of the Year Award is the premier recognition program for Loss Prevention professionals. It is awarded to a LP professional whose investigation has made a positive impact on their company, the community, or the industry.

Nominate a colleague today. The deadline for submissions is March 29, 2013.

Regards,

Angelica Rodriguez
Sr. Director, Loss Prevention
National Retail Federation

 

ORC News
 
Pittsburgh area woman busted for her 13th time in seven years. Seven of Patricia Coto’s 12 convictions occurred in 2012, so I guess we can saw she is not getting better at it. Coto was recently apprehended at Best Buy in Cranberry attempting to steal an Xbox controller. Best Buy Loss Prevention had recognized her from a failed previous attempted shoplifting event. (Source wpxi.com)

Steaks now the commodity of choice for drug using shoplifters in Southern Ohio.  In Clark County, Ohio Law Enforcement has seen an alarming number of steaks being stolen which are later traded for heroin. Police say that the Drug Dealers in the area are trading $50 worth of high quality steaks for as little as $10 worth of drugs. Kroger and other grocery store Loss Prevention departments have already been on the alert for this rising trend. (Source whiotv.com)

Victoria’s Secrets apprehends two suspects with $1600 in merchandise near Philadelphia.  Police responded to a call from Victoria’s Secret at The Shops at Valley Square but the suspects had already left with $1600 in merchandise. Store management was able to give a detailed description of the car and suspects to police who located the car moments later. Two suspects from Philadelphia were arrested and charged with retail theft. (Source phillyburbs.com)

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From Mobile Data Terminals to Smartphones: New Hotbed for Crime?



When I started in law enforcement at the Portland Police Bureau in 1978, the bureau was proud of two great advancements, a single computer station in each precinct that printed results on paper (no video screen, just a printer!). What’s even more amazing, Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) – computerized devices used to communicate with central dispatch offices – became available in a few police cars.

How we fought over the chance to drive a car with an MDT! The power and speed of being able to run license plates for registrations and wanted persons via mobile wireless connection was a giant step forward for policing. Today, the power of mobile data is just as amazing, and just as valuable, to every consumer. Having a smartphone that allows you to text, email, play games, and surf the Internet is to teenagers today what owning a 1970 Camaro Z-28 was to my generation. I gotta have one!

Mobile Device Stores: Criminals’ New Mecca

This desire to have the latest version of a Mobile Data Terminal in the palm of your hand has brought out the crooks to meet the demand. We at 3VR CrimeDex are seeing a dramatic increase in burglaries and armed robberies of wireless communications stores and retailers who sell these devices.

In the old days, I used to respond to wall and roof-forced entries of pharmacies and jewelry stores, and armed robberies of banks. Today, the places to hit are sellers of mobile devices. A thief can load up a duffle bag with iPhones and iPads, knowing they will be easy and fast to fence at a high price.

As the New York Daily News reported, there were 26,000 incidents of electronic theft in the city during the first 10 months of 2011; 81% of those reported robberies involved cellphones.

Beating Theft of Mobile Devices with FCC's PROTECT Initiative

The wireless industry is responding to the problem. In April 2012, the Federal Communications Commission announced the PROTECT initiative to combat the theft of smartphones, tablets, and the data they contain. They are creating a shared national database of stolen mobile devices that will make them useless to a buyer.

The database went live in November 2012; so far, GSM network carriers AT&T and T-Mobile have launched their databases. CDMA network carriers Verizon and Sprint should be merging their data by November 2013.

No longer will carriers activate a stolen phone from their own network or a competitor’s network. Hopefully, this will end the demand for stolen smartphones.

Will the crooks go back to robbing banks? Or, will they find a way to get around the blocking database by hacking the phones? Hacking phones to make them usable again may yet spawn another underground technology industry.

What do you think?
 

 

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My Turn

Going from Law Enforcement to Asset Protection


By Curtis Bridges

as published on December 19, 2012

In the last issue of LP Magazine, Joseph Alvino gave his personal account of making the transition from a career in Asset Protection to law enforcement.

After reading Joseph’s personal account, I thought it might be interesting to share an article which addressed the opposite side of his journey as a comparison for those currently involved in this occupation.

When I graduated from Eastern Michigan University, back in the Vietnam War era, you were offered only four job choices: fireman, teacher, policeman and soldier. Hard to believe; but true.

I was fortunate to have both a law enforcement and teaching offer in part due to the shortage of available men. Having always wanted to join a well established department, I was sworn in with Ann Arbor Police a mere 10 days after college graduation.

I worked around the station at various jobs until the academy started several months later.

Upon completion of a three month program provided in teaching the basics of law enforcement I hit the streets and was soon confronted with almost two solid years of student and race riots.

Long days and weeks of never ending tension shared by patrolling the streets with three other officers in the same car watching for the next rock or missile thrown our way.

Finally when things settle down, I became a fatal accident investigator and later the recruitment and background verification officer.

Although more fulfilling than pushing around a patrol car around for 8 hours, the desire to excel brought me to the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado where a college degree and three years of experience was a basic requirement.

Here I joined an elite group of men and women who to date have provided more police chiefs in the United States per capita than any agency.

I found the completion to achieve rank extremely intense and slow deciding to take a turn into the field of criminal justice planning eventually running a 28 agency crime prevention program housed at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Like Mr. Alvino, I had experience a job in Asset Protection as a security executive trainee with the J.L. Hudson Company in Detroit. I thought this was an exciting field, but I knew that if I had accepted a full time position upon college graduation, my draft exemption would disappear and next stop would have been the induction center.

Upon leaving Colorado state government, I secured a position as Manager of Security Services for the Denver Dry Goods.

At the time DDG was a 90+ year old high end retailer who was looking for a back up person to train under the current Director of Loss Prevention.

Finally, advancement was at hand when 7 years later DDG was bought by May Department Stores and closed.

I had learned many things about the private sector of law enforcement in those 7 years. I learned the importance of looking and acting like a businessman at all times which required wearing a suit and white shirt. I learned the real importance of profit and loss and return on investment. I changed the focus of the department from shoplifter apprehension to that of investigating employee theft. Goals and objectives along with the importance of annual reviews, proper hiring and termination all became a major focus in my new career choice. Far different indeed from acting as a solo unit patrol the city streets responding to citizen complaints and request for assistance. I liked the difference and wanted to make Asset Protection my career.

Upon the closing of the Denver Dry Goods, I was recruited by a new company called PACE Membership Warehouse to become their first Vice President of Corporate Security. All of a sudden I found myself using the management the skills learned at DDG as invaluable in establishing a new Asset Protection program for this $320 million dollar Denver based company.

This is when the law enforcement side prevailed in that I called the department Security—big and bold operating in a clearly different segment than the upscale department store industry. Additionally, I was not responsible for the audit and safety functions within the company, thus security was indeed a more appropriate title for the area I was responsible for on a daily basis.

Establishing hiring standards not really scene in this industry before: all applicants were required to have ten years of experience and a college degree.

With the help of Downing and Downing, I was able to grow the department to over 35 members in a $4 ½ billion company reaching from Puerto Rico to Alaska.

The job of a life time indeed. Unlimited support and financial backing from the president along with being voted the best department in the entire organization. How could life be any better?.

I guess the true success of the program resided in the fact none of the security department employees ever left and the recovery dollars approached total dollars spent for the security operation prior to being purchased by Wal-Mart in 1993.

As my career continued I worked as a Regional Director for Kmart and later as the Executive Director for American Coin/Coinstar.

As I reflect back over this wonderful career, I was very fortunate to have experienced, like Mr. Alvino, the opportunity to serve in both the public and private side of law enforcement.

As for me, I totally enjoyed being part of the management team and setting polices which had a direct bearing on the bottom line. I was fortunate to realize my goal of establishing a Asset Protection/Security department from the ground floor while understanding the importance of providing measurable results to gain recognition.

Being an active participant in NRF and the relationships that resulted more than compensated for those days of riding around with three other officers in a patrol car waiting for the next call for service.

When it’s all done and you feel satisfied with the career you have chosen---then I guess that is personal success.

For those leaving a career in public law enforcement and joining the Asset Protection field, your opportunities are many. Yes, there are many differences but the skills learned in protecting the public and investigating crimes will be invaluable in the career with many option which lies ahead.

 

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