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ORC 11-18-15




California woman pleads guilty over Michaels retailer cards theft -
Data Breach - Stole $420,000
A California woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to participating in a conspiracy to steal 94,000 credit and debit card numbers from Michaels Companies Inc customers in a massive, nationwide breach at the U.S. arts and crafts retailer.

Crystal Banuelos, 28, pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden, New Jersey, to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, nearly four months after she and an alleged co-conspirator were first charged.

The case stemmed from the discovery in 2011 of a breach at Michaels, in which the perpetrators installed devices on point-of-sale terminals that acquired customers' bank account and personal identification number information.

Banuelos, of Bloomington, California, and others then obtained counterfeit bank cards linked to those stolen numbers, prosecutors said. She and her co-defendant, Angel Angulo, used those cards to withdraw more than $420,000 from automated teller machines, prosecutors have said. The two possessed 179 counterfeit cards in New Jersey, prosecutors said.

The case follows an earlier prosecution of two other individuals charged in connection with the breach, Eduard Arakelyan, 24, and Arman Vardanyan, 26. Both are serving five-year prison terms after pleading guilty in 2012 to defrauding holders of 952 stolen debit cards. Banuelos is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23. Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Kennewick, WA: Two Cuban immigrants, now from Florida found with over 60 fraudulent credit cards in Kennewick hotel
A person reported the fraudulent use of their credit card at the Target store in Kennewick, where officers saw two men on surveillance video using multiple credit cards including the victim's to purchase gift cards. Kennewick police were given a description of the vehicle the suspects were driving, and found a vehicle matching the description parked outside a local hotel in Kennewick. Police also recovered stacks of gift cards in the hotel room, all valued at $35,400. After investigating detectives were able to determine that Bonachea and Garcia were Cuban immigrants, residing in Florida currently who came to Washington state.

Boca Raton, FL: Anthropologie employee busted for theft
of over $11,000 using duplicate receipts
An Anthropologie employee in Boca Raton is accused of stealing $11,000 from the store in the three months that she worked there, police said. Boca Raton police arrested Keyla Kekempanos, 19, on Friday. While working, she would make duplicate receipts during transactions with customers and then make false returns on the items to collect the money back for herself. She took $11,196.42 over about three months. The manager of the store noticed the thefts after he looked at the store's refund transaction log and realized that Kekempanos was putting return credits on her personal credit card. He confronted Kekempanos, who admitted the theft. Police interviewed Kekempanos on Friday at the store. She told them she had been using old receipts to make fake returns and then refund herself the money. She estimated she had done it about 25 times. She is charged with grand theft, organized fraud and obtaining merchandise money with false receipt.

Upper Township, NJ: Shoprite video
of 5 Credit Card Fraud suspects in southern NJ
New Jersey State Police are looking for 5 individuals responsible for stealing hundreds of dollars' worth of gift cards. The state police say that throughout the month of October, several suspects attempted to buy gift cards at the ShopRite in Upper Township using multiple credit cards. The suspects attempted to purchase $500 in gift cards and often the credit card they were trying to use was declined, but police believe that at least $1,000 was fraudulently charged. In each incident, police say the suspect attempted to conceal their identity.

Merritt Island, FL: Woman shoplifted $7K in groceries
over several months...Blames Cashiers
A woman who investigators said walked out of a Merritt Island Wal-Mart with more than $7,000 in groceries over a span of several months is blaming a cashier for failing to check the cart. Karen Lynn Henderson made at least nine transactions at the store, stacking her cart with groceries and other goods while the clerk would only scan $20 worth of merchandise. Henderson was charged with grand theft shoplifting of over $5,000 in the case and was arrested Monday. Henderson was also seen on surveillance video bagging many of the items and putting them back into her cart. She paid only $174 for items that eventually totaled over $7,000. She would also go directly to the unidentified cashier's checkout line. The Wal-Mart clerk was questioned and admitted to assisting in the theft but told investigators that she did not speak up due to "not wanting to lose her job," reports show. Henderson, however, told investigators that she did nothing wrong and that, "it is the responsibility of the clerk to check the cart."

Meriden, CT: Two charged in theft of $3,000 worth of items from Stop & Shop
Two people face charges after police say they attempted to steal $3,000 worth of merchandise from Stop & Shop on Broad Street. Michael Nolisa, 26, was charged with third-degree larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school zone and interfering with police. Jessica Kohler, 21, was charged with third-degree larceny. About 8 p.m. on Friday, police responded to Stop & Shop for a report of shoplifting. Store security followed a woman, later identified as Kohler, as she took several items and left the store without paying. The items, valued at $3,046, included beauty products, razors, electronic toothbrushes and medicine.

Orange, CT: ORC gang busted at TJ Maxx; $3,300 in merchandise recovered Police here say they have broken up a retail theft ring that had shoplifted more than $3,000 worth of merchandise from a Boston Post Road store. Five New Haven residents: Mary Rivera, 33, Jakmara Padilla, Clinque Green, Natalie Viera Cruz and Katherine Roman Castillo were arrested recently after police responding to a shoplifting complaint at T.J. Maxx stopped their car a short distance away, police said. All were charged with fourth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny and organized retail theft. Orange police also served two outstanding warrants on Rivera, for alleged incidents in New Haven. Officers learned that the suspects had taken $3,390.57 worth of clothing, handbags, and luggage from the store without paying. Two of the suspects were found to be in possession of shoplifting devices designed to defeat security sensors.

Melrose, CA: Burglar Steals 15 Bags At Melrose Boutique, valued at $2,500 each
On September 13, a burglar stole 15 bags from the high-end boutique Parabellum located on the 8200 block of Melrose Avenue. According to the LAPD's blog, the suspect, who was seen looking inside the boutique at around 2:40 a.m., used a sledge hammer to smash a display window. He then proceeded to go around the store stuffing purses and other merchandise into an industrial sized dry cleaning bag.

Niles, OH: Security video shows an $850 Shoplifting Spree at Victoria's Secret
It was a bold crime, and it was all caught on camera. Surveillance video at Victoria's Secret in the Eastwood Mall captured three women inside the store, stuffing sweatshirts and other Pink brand gear into shopping bags. "You can see they're just loading up the bags. Takes a little while for someone to notify the manager," Niles Police Patrolman Kevin Helmick said of the security footage. When that manager finds out, she confronts the suspects, but they keep taking more items. The video shows the manager grab what she can, and the three women take off running with what police say is about $850 worth of stolen goods.

Solon, OH: Organized retail crime groups hitting Northeast Ohio;
Walmart, Giant Eagle and Acme stores
Local police departments are scrambling to identify several people who could be part of organized retail crime groups stealing from stores throughout northeast Ohio. On Tuesday, police released Nov. 8 surveillance video of an unidentified man stealing 5-hour ENERGY drinks, worth more than $400, from the Giant Eagle on Aurora Road. "He produced bags and just took pretty much the whole stock that was on the shelf of the 5-hour ENERGY drinks," Solon Detective Sergeant Jamey Hofmann added. The man, wearing a black North Face jacket, gray pants and gray shoes, is suspected of committing similar crimes at Wal-Mart stores in Brimfield Township and Akron. Hofmann said it's possible he acted alone, but it's likely that he's part of a an organized group targeting grocery stores. Hofmann explained that police departments and retailers are ramping up a partnership, through the Ohio Retail Crime Coalition, to detect and prosecute theft suspects.

Ludington, MI: Habitual Offender sentenced to six months in jail; history of theft since 2001

Michigan City, IN: Police investigating 2 vacuum cleaner thefts at Walmart

ORC 11-18-15
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