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ORC 8-6-15




ORC Leaders Series - Jerry Biggs, Director
Organized Retail Crime Division, Walgreens 

The first part of the Daily's new History of ORC starts off with Jerry Biggs interview this Monday. Be sure to catch his story and follow along as the Daily shares the History of ORC through the perspective of the Leaders.

Couple accused of scamming Kohl's Cash rewards program out of $300,000
A New Jersey couple is charged with stealing more than $300,000 in merchandise by defrauding the Kohl's Cash rewards program. Pavan Gurram and Vanaja Gattupalli, who are originally from India, are charged with 10 counts of mail fraud. Gattupalli has been released on bail, but Gurram remains behind bars in Wisconsin. Gurram has offered to put up $100,000 in bail, but prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Milwaukee are opposing his release, saying he is a flight risk back to India. Kohl's Cash is a loyalty program that gives customers $10 gift cards when they spend $50 at the store or online. According to the court documents, the investigation was opened by the FBI after customers complained to Kohl's that they were not able to redeem cash rewards certificates they had received. For instance, a couple reported in November that they were supposed to have $550 in cash rewards. Their account showed only $3. Records searches revealed the rewards from thousands of cards were claimed by a computer belonging to Gurram. Investigators allege that the couple used cash benefits from more than 7,000 customers between June 2014 and March 2015, using the money to buy merchandise or getting cash by selling the cards to businesses that resell gift cards.

Three arrested in string of CVS $58,000 ORC thefts, including five in Orange County, CA stores  A man and two women were arrested in Seal Beach on Saturday on suspicion of stealing more than $58,000 worth of merchandise from Southern California CVS stores over two years, Seal Beach police said in a statement released Wednesday night. Miguel Angel Contreras, 35; Teresa Hernandez, 29; and Maria Rosa Sarmiento, 36; all of Los Angeles, allegedly stole from CVS stores in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Vetura counties. The trio was reportedly caught on surveillance video taking high-end cosmetic items from five stores in Orange County. Two of the stores are in Seal Beach, and the others were in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa. CVS loss-prevention officials told investigators that the financial loss since June 2013 was around $58,650 for all the Southern California thefts, the statement said.

2 Wal-Mart thefts appear to be connected in West Tennessee  Investigators believe one crew of criminals is responsible for two smash-and-grabs inside West Tennessee Wal-Marts. Four men and a possible fifth suspect in a getaway car are suspected of taking nearly $8,000 in electronics from the Wal-Mart stores in Huntingdon and Lexington. "They're doing it in the early morning hours when the stores are down to skeleton crews," Commander Johnny Hill with the Huntingdon Police department said. Hill said the loss prevention unit typically doesn't work those early morning hours. The thieves took around $5,000 in cell phones from Huntingdon and tablets worth nearly $3,000 from Lexington. In both cases, the men smashed the electronics case with a hammer. Hill said the men hid the hammer close to the case in a prior trip to the store. "They are organized in what they're doing, and they're pretty good at it. They're not in the store long," Hill said. The group then dashes out a fire exit and into a waiting car. "They're actually moving around in different vehicles going from store to store," Hill said.

Hackettstown, NJ couple arrested at Target With $731 in merchandise; monitored after multiple shoplifting accusations in the past  Target Loss Prevention advised Police there were customers in the store who had been accused of shoplifting in the past. Moments later, Loss Prevention and Police witnessed Andrew Byron, 47, and Tracy Byron, 49, both of Hackettstown, try to exit the store with a shopping cart full of merchandise without making a purchase. Both Byrons were apprehended and arrested, and were charged with shoplifting. The total amount of goods in the cart was $731.14.

ORC 8-6-15
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