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ORC 9-27-12



2012 Archives

6th Annual New England Organized Retail Crime
Symposium and Trade Show

DCU Center Worcester, MA, September 20, 2012

Recap by Kevin M. Plante
US Retail Loss Prevention Operations – Staples /
Chairman, Retailers Association of MA Loss Prevention Committee

Approximately 300 Loss Prevention, Law Enforcement and political figures came to the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, for the 6th Annual New England Organized Retail Crime Symposium and Trade Show. Twenty-three 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 safeguarding systems.

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, Founder of RetaiLPartners and loss prevention industry icon opened the session for the 6th time with a review of the present and the future of our industry. Joe touched upon some of the technological advances that will change how LP conducts business in the future. It should be noted that Joe was later presented the very first "Distinguished Service Award" to acknowledge the RAM LP committee’s gratitude for Joe’s commitment to our profession, his commitment to our conference and his overall partnership with so many over his career.

Next, Lisa LaBruno from Retail Industry Leaders Association presented. Lisa talked about RILA and what it can do for retailers and what RILA needs from retailers by way of "thought leaders" to help work on very important programs that will assist all retailers. Lisa talked about emerging technologies and how things like digital receipts will completely change how Loss Prevention operates in the future. Her example of how a seemingly appropriate stop at a retailer could turn into a liability with the introduction of "self pay" checkout options from your Smartphone was very thought provoking and makes you ask yourself "how can I really prove intent" when it comes to a customer’s use of technology?

John Dell’Anno and Shaun Frank from Wegmans Food Market, along with Retired Monroe County Sherriff’s Department Detective Tyler Barrus discussed two cases from the upstate NY area that not only highlighted some great LP and police work, but also discussed the partnerships created that helped all agencies talk amongst themselves to solve these crimes. This was a great highlight of what conferences like the NE ORC Trade Show and Symposium try to accomplish – bringing law enforcement and retail loss prevention together to meet and talk about how best to work together to solve these property crimes.

Gus Downing, President of Downing and Downing, the D&D Daily and LPNN talked about the industry and how ORC has added 20 new enforcement groups – 3 of which just in 2012 – to combat the issue. Gus mentioned that these public and private arenas are bringing together over 6000 people annually to combat ORC. He also mentioned that the Daily alone has reported on over 300 ORC cases totaling 1200 suspects in 2012 – equating to a reported $200M in losses to companies. The highlight is that ORC is not only real, but it is real BIG! Gus then introduced our keynote speakers, Albuquerque Police Department Chief of Police Ray Schultz and Albuquerque Police Department Strategic Support Division Manager Karen Fischer. Fischer and Schultz did an amazing job outlining their philosophy on property crimes, how they are typically gateway crimes to other things and what led them to being the law enforcement leaders in the fight against organized retail crime. APD has mastered the art of communicating and connecting with other private and public entities and using smart policing to understand when and where resources will be needed. They have helped many other communities start up partnership websites and we hope more cities and states on the East Coast follow their lead!

Next up was Gene Smith, President of Loss Prevention Foundation, with a message about bettering oneself through constant self improvement. Whether it is working on a career plan, mentoring or taking additional classes, the debate on whether loss prevention is an "industry" or a "profession" minimizes as people in loss prevention become more educated. Smith talked about the LPQ and LPC certifications as examples of acknowledging your commitment to the business and differentiating yourself from others applying for a particular position.

To wrap up the day, Jim Carroll and Elie Chemaly from Staples talked about a case involving coupon usage at Staples. Between counterfeiting coupons and using coupons for fraudulent use, Carroll and Chemaly walked though the investigation from store level to corporate level and eventually found the "head of the snake" to be in China. Working with Federal Authorities, websites have been shut down and assets are being seized. This case was estimated to be in the millions of dollars, but was not readily visible because the costs hit a margin line as opposed to a more visible line on the P/L like shrink.

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, Staples, Macy’s, CVS and Wegmans and Rite Aid.

Pair hitting Walmart for video games in Ohio and Indiana have the key. Police believe the two men accused of stealing $12,000 worth of video games from possibly 20 Walmarts, have the key to unlock the store’s security device. The two men started hitting Walmart’s back in July and have not yet been identified. (Source

Three arrested in Rochelle Walmart for thousands in theft, connection to other thefts in Wisconsin and Illinois. Multiple thefts throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin are allegedly solved with the arrest of three individuals in Rochelle. Jesus O. Garcia, Diana P. Garcia, and Melisa Lazcano were all arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing several thousand dollars of merchandise from the Walmart in Rochelle. The three suspects also allegedly committed the same crime at the same location on September 12. According to the Rochelle Police Department, the ensuing investigation revealed that the three were also involved in several other similar unsolved thefts in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. (Source

Wisconsin Beauty Product thieves behind bars. Anthony Williams is now faced felony theft charges in Racine County for the theft of nearly $1000 in health and beauty products from Pick n Save. The items included Crest White Strips, Nicoderm patches, Prilosec pills, and razor blades. (Source

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