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ORC 11-21-14




"Operation Holiday Steals" makes 75 arrests and establishes more ORC leads - Broward Co. FL Law Enforcement teams up with Retailers  As the holidays approach, Broward Sheriff's Office deputies are remaining on high alert to stop retail thieves and keep the public safe. Retail theft is ranked number two in the nation in the state of Florida, and due to those high numbers, BSO is cracking down as part of a three-day operation. Dozens have been arrested as part of Operation Holiday Steals. The sheriff's department teamed up with retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Publix, Home Depot, eBay and PayPal during the three days. Among those arrested, one man at a Home Depot in Hollywood, Wednesday evening. Officials said he attempted to leave the store with a large quantity of items worth hundreds of dollars. A search of the arrested man's history showed that he had been arrested more than a hundred times prior in connection to retail theft. "It's a very serious crime, and we have to do something to combat it [and] we have," said BSO Sheriff Scott Israel. "Retail and law enforcement are making a statement together, and we're saying, 'Hey, look, we're not gonna put up with this. We're gonna keep our customers safe," said Tom Jackson, a spokesperson for the Retailers Association. Another team was able to find a group of six women, Wednesday evening, at a Victoria's Secret at the Broward Mall, who, according to officials, used booster bags in an attempt to steal thousands of dollars in merchandise. Two of those women were arrested. Loss prevention experts were able to collaborate ideas and compare between those arrested. "This particular crew, there was six of them. Two of them were caught and arrested and charged with grand theft, possession of an anti-shoplifting device," said BSO Sgt. Rich Rossman. Surveillance cameras from the store caught the women entering the store with booster bags. "Very brazen, just without any hesitation, just wheeled out a vanity and a bunch of other items," said Rossman. "It effects every American household. It really does because the consumer ultimately has to pay the price for what's stolen and prices go up," said Israel. According to detectives, several booster crews have been broken up. "We're tired of the losses, the huge losses that the retail community has experienced," said Jackson. The companies that were involved include Rite Aid, CVS, Toys R Us, Gap, JC Penney, Sports Authority, Marshall's, Publix, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, Lowe's, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Discover, Capital One, and eBay Proact. Update: estimated 75 arrests and multiple ORC leads established.

Harris County, TX Sheriff's Office Investigators charge 4 in National Robbery case targeting Cellphone stores  Harris County Sheriff's Office Robbery Division investigators have charged four men believed to be part of a national robbery group responsible for numerous robberies in east Harris County, Beaumont and the West Orange area. They are identified as: Jeremiah Palmer, Kirk Jones, Zachary Johnson and Anthony Nichols. Palmer and Jones are charged with aggravated robbery for the October 16, 2014 robbery of an AT & T store in the 2100 block of US 90. There they stole about $33,000 worth of merchandise. Investigators say that Palmer and Zachary Johnson allegedly robbed the Verizon store in the 15300 block of Wallisville Road a few hours later. All four men are part of a crew that has robbed businesses in the east Houston area to southeast Texas and have ties to a criminal enterprise in the Atlanta, Georgia area that purchases stolen merchandise. All four men were armed when they entered the stores demanding cash and merchandise, specifically iPhone 6 and Android phones. The four suspects netted over $56,000 worth of phones in their robberies. Authorities in the Atlanta, Georgia area recovered stolen phones from two of the suspects in an unrelated incident. The phones and information on a stolen vehicle that was recovered in the east Harris county robberies broke the case for HCSO investigators. All four suspects are currently in the Jefferson County Jail in Beaumont on aggravated robbery charges, awaiting extradition to Harris County.

Organized Theft Ring targeting Ross and TJ Maxx in Beaverton, OR Police arrest 3; $22,000 of merchandise recovered from vehicle  Three suspects who have been targeting TJ Maxx and Ross Stores throughout Oregon have been arrested. Beaverton officers responded to a report of three people stealing merchandise from a TJ Maxx on SW 117th Ave Wednesday night. When officers arrived at the store, loss prevention told them that two of the suspects had left in a vehicle and the third suspect was walking away. The suspect on foot was arrested near the store. The vehicle with the two other suspects was stopped at SW TV Highway and SW Murray, and they were arrested. Approximately $22,000 worth of stolen merchandise including clothing, shoes, purses and perfumes were recovered in the suspects vehicle. Police say the three suspects left California on the 19 and had hit TJ Maxx and Ross stores from Medford to Beaverton. The items they stole were likely going to be taken back to California to be sold. The suspects were identified as Alicia Flores, 42, Valeria Blanco, 22, both from San Jose, CA, and Rafael Valencia-Guzman, 33, of Santa Ana, CA. All three suspects were taken to Washington County Jail on multiple charges of theft 1 and organized retail theft.

Social media sting takes down $7,700 ORC operation in Oakwood, GA  When you post your alleged criminal activity on social media sites there is a good chance police will find your information, then exploit it. That is exactly what Oakwood police said happened to Torinto Christian. Cpl. Danny Sridej said Christian shoplifted thousands of dollars in merchandise. Investigators said Christian is part of a shoplifting ring that steal very specific high-dollar items such as Rogaine, Zantac, probiotics, and batteries, then sell them to another person at a discounted price. "The store price would be $20. He is selling it for $4," Sridej said. Police investigators used social media to lure Christian to a gas station parking lot. Christian was under the assumption someone was going to buy his stolen goods. Instead, police swarmed his vehicle. It was full of $7,700 worth of merchandise. "We were able to convince him that we would like to purchase the items you have in your possession for whatever price," Sridej said. A majority of the stores hit have been Publix grocery stores. At least four across the metro area have been hit. Investigators said they are working to track down an accomplice who helped shoplift the items and are trying to find another buyer that was purchasing the stolen goods. At this point, investigators don't know if the stolen items were being sold online, in flea markets, or a home. Investigators believe other stores may be victims of the shoplifting crew but don't know it. Christian was just released from prison after serving 12 years for armed robbery.

Police search for crew of three violent shoplifters in King and Pierce Co. Washington Police say three women shoplifters most recently hit the Eileen Fisher store at 5th and Pine in downtown Seattle. When store employees tried to stop them from taking $2,600 worth of clothing, things went from bad to worse. "The suspect with the clothing kicks the clerk in the groin, smacks her in the head, tries to pull her clothing off of her and another employee steps in and she also gets smacked by one of the suspects," Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound Executive Director Myrle Carner said. "I think it's crazy. To beat someone up after you're stealing from their store. You already know that you're wrong," shopper Ashaunti Martin-Smith said. Police have already identified two of the three suspects, who they identified as Precious Shabazz and Valerie Heard, but they still need to know who the third woman is dressed in all black. Police say they target high-end shops in King and Pierce counties and are known to drive a 1999 Mercedes Benz ML320.

Fencing Operation: Sam's Big Apple Convenience Store in Ocala, FL accused of dealing in stolen property: $60,000 over last 2 years  Sheriff's detectives arrested an employee of an Ocala convenience store on suspicion of organized dealing in stolen property and possessing Viagra pills -- for sale at $5 a pop -- without a prescription. Samer Abuokab, 51, was arrested Wednesday after detectives followed up on a tip from Wal-Mart's loss prevention office regarding gift cards. Wal-Mart had received a tip that Sam's Big Apple, a convenience store at 1943 W. Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala, had been buying its gift cards from people at a price far below their actual value, according to a Marion County Sheriff's Office arrest report. The tipster said people were stealing items from one Wal-Mart and returning them to another in exchange for gift cards. According to an MCSO news release, detectives confirmed that Sam's Big Apple had used gift cards over the past two years to buy nearly $60,000 in merchandise from Sam's Club. They worked with a confidential informant, who sold gift cards or new cellphones to Abuokab at the store on three different occasions, according to the report. On Wednesday, the informant sold him nine iPhones, each worth $699, for a total of $600. The informant allegedly told him about stealing from Wal-Mart.

ORC 11-21-14
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