5th Annual New England Organized Retail Crime
Symposium and Trade Show
DCU Center Worcester, MA, September 21, 2011
Recap by Kevin M. Plante
US Retail Loss Prevention Operations – Staples/
Association of MA Loss Prevention Committee
More than 330 Loss Prevention, Law Enforcement and political figures came to
the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, for the 5th Annual New England Organized Retail
Crime Symposium and Trade Show. Twenty vendors filled the trade show area
showing everything from surveillance equipment to background screening programs
– merchandise protection items to radios – access control items to point of sale
Hosted by the Retail Associations of the six New England states, the event was
planned and coordinated by the Loss Prevention Committee board of the Retailers
Association of MA. The board consists of Kevin Plante of Staples
(Chair), Brendan Fitzgerald of BJ's Wholesale Club, RJ Gaites of Target, Shannon
Lenahan of Wegman's, Jason Adams of Gap, Inc., and Andrea Shea and Ryan Kearney,
both of The Retailers Association of MA. Plante also served as Master of
Ceremonies for the event.
Joe LaRocca, Senior Advisor of Asset Protection for the National Retail
Federation, opened the session with a review of the present and the future of
our industry. Joe talked about flash mobs and preparedness for any emergency in
a retail environment and touched upon some of the technological advances that
will change how LP conducts business in the future.
Next, Paul Jones and Dave DiSilva from eBay Global Asset Protection put on a
presentation about how eBay is continuing to refine and redefine its exception
reporting tools to ensure eBay is as free of negative elements as possible. eBay
has a vested interest in customer satisfaction and knows its customers consist
of people who buy and sell on their site, but also retailers, loss prevention
professionals and law enforcement personnel.
Leaders of the retail associations for the New England states gave us an
overview of what legislative efforts they've undertaken in the past year as well
as the status of those campaigns. Each New England state is taking a proactive
and aggressive stance against Organized Retail Crime with varying success. In
the end, it was asked of each participant in the conference to help in any way
they can to push forward efforts to legislate against ORC and add stiffer
penalties to those that participate in it.
Walter Palmer, President of PCG Solutions, provided conference participants with
a perspective of professional balance. Working hard is important, but with
increased focus on planning and constant learning and self-development cycles,
loss prevention professionals can do more with less at a much more productive
Members of the Tilton, NH police department (Chief Robert Cormier, Detective
Mathew Dawson and Detective Nathan Buffington) discussed their recent case
involving three out-of-state convicted felons who were traveling all over the
central and eastern states engaging in identity fraud and counterfeiting of
checks. This trio was identified by a vacationing, yet always vigilant loss
prevention professional (Michael DeMeo of Kohl's) shopping in NH, who reported
the activity to Tilton PD. What started as an investigation into possible
fraudulent credit card usage grew into a counterfeit check case when detectives
found volumes of fraudulent identifications, a printer using banking industry
standard magnetic ink and thousands in cash and merchandise. It was also
uncovered that these suspects cashed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of
bogus payroll checks. Secret Service is still investigating with the Tilton
Police, but it is believed this case will value upwards of $1 million.
To wrap up the day, Lisa LaBruno, VP of Loss Prevention and Legal Affairs from
Retail Industry Leaders Association, talked about the legal risks associated
with conducting an ORC investigation. Topics like motor vehicle surveillance and
privacy issues were covered in this well-received presentation. Lisa is a huge
proponent of investigations, but definitely gave people "food for thought" with
regards to doing the investigation in a way that will limit the liability to the
company you work for as well as your own, personal liability.
The day was wrapped up with "thank you's" to all the New England state retail
associations and our premier sponsor, Target, as well as our other generous
sponsors RILA, BJ's Wholesale Club, TJX Companies, NRF, Macy's, CVS and Wegmans.
We also held raffles sponsored by the RAM LP Committee, Verint and Kenwood.