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NBC 5 Chicago: How Thieves Are Stealing Next to You at the Grocery Store  There's a new twist on an old crime. And you may never know it's happening in front of you as you shop for groceries or pick up your prescription medications at the drug store. It's called "fencing" and low-ticket items like razor blades, baby formula and energy drinks are in demand across the Chicago area. NBC 5 Investigates has found a tangled web of players in the fencing game. Investigators said fencing is only getting bigger in the Chicago area as it fuels addictions, costing the state an estimated $80 million in lost tax revenue each year. Jerry Biggs runs the Walgreens Organized Crime Prevention Division and showed NBC 5 Investigates a box of seemingly new medicine that had been recovered.

Shoplifting crime craze: Organized retail crime hits industry hard  Organized retail crime is shoplifting taken to a whole new level. Officials said these kinds of crime rings put a billion-dollar hit on the retail industry nationwide. In Arizona, authorities say it's a multimillion-dollar problem. Organizers from police departments across southern Arizona said a lot of money is lost in tax revenue that could be used for cities and towns, so they're taking a hard stance against shoplifting. Electronics, toys, bags and toiletries that were found in the back of a van show shoplifting taken to a whole new level. Hundreds of dollars' worth of merchandise was stolen from the Walmart in Sahuarita. Police arrested three women in March in connection with this theft and said they were part of an organized retail crime operation. "They are actually taking the merchandise systematically and converting it for cash," Sahuarita police officer James Ovieda said. "It's a $30 billion-a-year hit to the industry nationwide." Police officers said drugs are the driving force behind these crime rings. Suspects are trying to get cash to feed their addiction. "It's a large problem. It expands throughout Pima County," said Det. Olga Ramirez of the Tucson Police Department. Surveillance cameras inside a Tucson Walmart caught some men stealing a weed killer. They were later busted in a bigger shoplifting ring that spanned across the city. Cody McIntyre, a Walmart asset protection manager, said thieves are evolving their tactics. "For Walmart it's a multibillion-dollar problem," McIntyre said. "They're getting pretty organized. There's vehicles waiting with license plates taken off, so it's getting harder and harder to track," McIntyre said. Ovieda launched a new group in Pima County where officers from other departments and retail store managers come together to discuss shoplifting suspects. They trade stories to see if they were hit by any of the same people. "Arizona is No. 10 as far as shoplifting in the United States. That's pretty big," he said.


Memphis Police seeking 2 adults, 2 teenagers in $11,500 Game Xchange, $20,000 NuNu Wireless burglaries  Police are looking for four people accused of stealing from a number of electronics stores. According to police, officers found the back door of the Game Xchange store open on June 26. When they watched security footage, investigators saw a man, a woman, and two young boys come through the back door and take 20 cellphones and three iPad minis. The manager told police the suspects' haul totaled $11,500. Four days later, officers arrived at the Cricket Wireless where the front glass door was shattered. Security footage showed the same four suspects break the door and walk into the store, but they only reportedly took a dummy display phone. On July 4, officers said the same four people broke the front glass of the NuNu Wireless store. This time they took over $20,000 worth of phones and tablets.

Tire Plus District Manager arrested in South Florida in $250K theft scheme
Authorities say a Fort Lauderdale man stole more than $250,000 from Tires Plus stores while working as a district manager for the company. Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested 60-year-old Louis J. Dailey on last Tuesday charging him with grand theft, organized fraud and communications fraud. The state agency says Dailey began instructing employees in 2009 to process more than $104,000 in petty cash transactions for email advertising at local Chamber of Commerce offices. Two years later, the agency says Dailey teamed up with 28-year-old Candice N. Padron. They instructed employees to process some $150,000 by claiming transactions were for email advertising at Quantum Ad Tech.

West Palm Beach, FL woman charged with stealing thousands from Port St. Lucie Staples  Police said on July 1, Strona Domonique Virgo, 27, entered the Staples and selected four Apple I Pads, five air gift cards and a Western Digital Passport. Virgo gave the manager account information and authorization codes from a condominium association located in Clearwater, Fla. The authorization was approved, and Virgo was able to take the merchandise from the store. On Monday, Staples' security notified the manager that Virgo had fraudulently used the Clearwater condominium account to buy the merchandise. Virgo again entered the Staples store Monday and selected 96 items totaling more than $9,000. Port St. Lucie police said this time Virgo gave the Staples manager account information to a company located in Sarasota, FL.

Kohl's Shoplifting incident leads to robbery charges in Joplin, MO
Three Springfield residents are facing robbery charges in connection with a shoplifting incident Saturday afternoon at the Kohl's department store in Joplin. Police officers called to the store at 3:03 p.m. on charges of second-degree robbery. Police said a male store employee tried to stop the male suspect from leaving without paying for $1,083.89 worth of merchandise and got into a struggle with her. The 2 female suspects came to the male's aid by hitting and kicking the employee before police arrived.

Thieves take $4,000 in cigarettes in North Fort Myers, FL


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