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ORC 11-25-15




Jared's 'Smash & Grab' could be part of theft ring
The Detroit-area men arrested in an Asheville jewelry heist earlier this month could be linked to a string of brazen thefts that began last year and have occurred in stores throughout the eastern United States, according to federal agents. Many of the cases have been tied to a Detroit street gang known as the Red Wings, and suspects - several of them already arrested and indicted - are accused of stealing millions of dollars in jewelry. Federal investigators are trying to determine if that ring came to Asheville on Nov. 8, when two men wearing hooded sweatshirts broke glass jewelry cases with sledgehammers at Jared Galleria of Jewelry while a third held open the door of the Tunnel Road store. The men made off with an estimated $500,000 in loose diamonds and jewelry in a red Dodge Caravan, which was soon after spotted by a sheriff's deputy, leading to a chase and their arrests. The "smash and grab" tactic has been used in store robberies in states from Michigan to North Carolina, and law enforcement officers have examined 50 similar thefts that occurred in 2014 and 2015, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in Asheville. Federal investigators in Detroit are aware of the Asheville case and any possible ties are under investigation, said Christopher Graveline, an assistant United States attorney there and chief of the violent and organized crime unit.

Meza, AZ: Operation Fade to Black Friday in effect for holidays
Just in time for Black Friday, police and retailers are cracking down on shoplifters this holiday season. The City of Mesa and the Salt River Police Department are teaming up with the East Valley Fusion Center for the third year of Operation Fade to Black Friday. Undercover detectives and retail loss prevention officers are working in Mesa and at Scottsdale Pavillions to target shoplifters, booster organizations, fencing locations and repeat offenders. Fade to Black Friday kicked off last week. So far, 35 people have been arrested, eight active organized retail theft investigations were created and more than $4,000 worth of stolen merchandise was recovered.

Avon, NY: Two Cuban nationals arrested in massive Identity Theft Ring based in Florida
When the Livingston County Sheriff pulled over a black Mustang with Florida plates in Friday, he said he knew the men inside were likely tied to a massive identity theft ring that has been under investigation for some time. "With the amount of purchases they've been making it's quite a large operation," said Investigator Brad Schneider. The alleged identity theft ties back to credit card skimmers found on gas pumps around Monroe County in October. The skimming devices stole credit card and identity information. A short time later, victims began noticing fraudulent charges. "We went to investigate a purchase at a local retailer and we found $9,300 of merchandise charged to a fraudulent card,' said Inv. Schneider. The men arrested Friday are identified as Juan Pablo Aguila and Frank Toledo. "These two individuals went into the Tops Market in Avon and to the Dollar General with fraudulent credit cards," said Avon Police Chief Gary Bennedict. "They were actually able to make a purchase at the Dollar General and then they went to the Tops and the cards didn't work." During their arrest, police say they confiscated other credit cards with fake names but using actual bank accounts of the identity theft victims from Monroe and Livingston Counties. "We've identified some people who've been involved in this, and we've identified that they came into New York State from Miami; they're Cuban natives," said Inv. Schneider.

The Villages, FL: Shoplifter with wire cutters busted at Belk, violating probation on burglary charges
A 37-year-old resident of the Village of Mallory Square is being held at the Lake County Jail after violating his probation on a burglary charge. Sean Vincent Sheehan was arrested Nov. 18 after he allegedly attempted to shoplift items from Belk in La Plaza Grande shopping center in The Villages. He allegedly attempted to conceal nearly $200 in merchandise in a Belk bag, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. He was found to have a wire cutter on him, presumably used to remove anti-shoplifting tags, the report indicated. After his arrest, it was determined he had violated his probation. On June 6, 2013, Sheehan had been arrested on charges of burglary of a structure and criminal mischief.

Salem, OR: Safeway Pharmacy Robbery suspect and 'associate' caught on camera
Police have released surveillance images in hopes of tracking down a man and a woman wanted in connection to a Safeway pharmacy robbery. Officers were called to the grocery store at 1265 Center Street Northeast at 10:13 a.m. Nov. 9 on the report of an armed robbery. A man entered the store and walked around for a short time before approaching the pharmacy. He had a note demanding drugs and indicated he had a weapon. Police said no weapon was seen.

Montgomery, AL: 'top lieutenant' sentenced to 8 years in Federal Prison; part of a massive Identity Theft Ring
Talashia Hinton, who prosecutor Michael Boteler referred to as a "top lieutenant" in a massive identity theft ring, was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison on Monday. Hinton was described as an integral part of the operation - someone who ringleaders of the scheme entrusted responsibility to at every turn. However, Richard White, who represented Hinton, argued that Hinton participated in the scheme at a lower level. "This was not a one time deal. This was a scheme that happened over the course of several years," said Boteler, an attorney for the Department of Justice's tax division. The scheme allegedly took place from 2007 to May 2013, claiming more than $20 million in fraudulent tax returns, with about $7 million actually paid out.

Alpharetta, GA: Smash and grab takes $10K in clothes
Nearly $10,000 in clothing was reportedly stolen Nov. 7 from a sports store on North Point Parkway. According to employees, an alarm went off just after midnight. Someone used a brick to smash out a front door. Checking security footage, police were able to determine a man had run into the store and grabbed large amounts of clothing, then left the store for a minivan. He then returned and grabbed a second batch of clothing before fleeing. He was in the business for less than three minutes. Employees told police they suspected a customer from earlier in the day who was acting suspicious and matches the description of the suspect.

ORC 11-25-15
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