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ORC 12-15-15




Volusia Co, FL: 'Operation Plastic Paradise'; $2M flowed through illegal gift card-for-cash ring, 23 suspects charged
Roughly $2 million in a year flowed through an illegal cash-for-gift-card ring dismantled in Volusia County, leading to charges against 23 people, officials announced Monday. Members of the ring shoplifted a wide range of items - everything from sports bras to plumbing fixtures - from big-box stores and then returned the items in exchange for store credit on gift cards, investigators said. The shoplifters then sold the cards for roughly half the value at two Cash For Gift Card businesses, one in Deltona and the other in Daytona Beach, officials said. The stores would then resell them in bulk to online companies, investigators said. "This is an attack on every consumer," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement. Bondi joined Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson on Monday to reveal details of the seven-month operation dubbed Operation Plastic Paradise. Eighteen people were arrested, including owners of the business, father-son duo Dale Holcombe, 52, and James Holcombe, 27. Four of their employees were arrested. The other 12 suspects shoplifted the items, targeting such stores as Lowe's Home Improvement, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot or Toys R Us, investigators allege. The shoplifters even recruited homeless people into their operation by coercing them to steal items from the store and then return them, according to Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson. In the first eight months of this year, the Cash For Gift Card stores bought 16,870 cards, Davidson said.

Lewisville, TX: Multiple suspects rob Lewisville Kohl's of more than $100,000 in jewelry
Police said multiple suspects robbed a local store around 3 a.m. Friday. According to police, two suspects broke into Kohl's located at 1001 Valley Ridge Blvd and stole approximately $140,000 of jewelry. It appears that the suspect's primary target was high-end watches, gold and sterling silver necklaces. After entering the store, the suspect in the grey sweater shattered several glass display cases while the second suspect stood at the front watching for police. As the suspects were exiting the business, they placed the bags of stolen jewelry on the stores wheelchair and left the location. At this time, there is no vehicle description. Kohl's loss prevention team said this is the fifth incident in the Metroplex involving one of their stores being broken into and jewelry being stolen.

Portland, OR: Police say 6 arrested in multi-state theft ring; $26,000 in gift cards
Authorities say they have arrested six Seattle-area suspects in what they are calling a theft ring that victimized 110 people across seven states. The Oregonian reports five adults and a 15-year-old girl were arrested Nov. 29. They all face several charges, including organized retail left and fraudulent use of a credit card. Police say the suspects were arrested in West Linn after reports that six people were using stolen credit cards to purchase more than $11,000 in Apple gift cards. Authorities stopped an SUV carrying the suspects along Interstate 205. The suspects are accused of buying more than $26,000 in gift cards in the stolen credit card scheme. The credit card numbers were linked to victims in Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado and Wisconsin.

Natick, MA: $2,000 in Stolen Merchandise, Rental Car, Leads to NY Trio's Arrest
Three from New York are facing theft charges after the group was stopped in a stolen rental car, allegedly after stealing $2,000 worth of merchandise from Natick stores. Karina Porras, JeanPierre Tobon and Nolan Lopez, all from New York, were arrested and charged with receiving stolen property. The trio was stopped Saturday around 5 p.m. in Natick with the merchandise in their car, none of which they would claim. The three remained detained at the Natick police station until they were brought to court on Monday morning. While it is not clear if the three are part of any organized retail crime, Natick police did say that similar crimes are increasingly popular in Massachusetts, particularly Natick.

2 women arrested for shoplifting $1,427 worth of merchandise
from Annapolis Mall
Police arrested two women suspected of shoplifting $1,427.23 worth of merchandise at the Annapolis Mall Saturday. On Dec. 12 at approximately 2:43 p.m., police responded to the mall for reports of a shoplifting in progress. The suspects, 22-year-old Diasiah Chapman and 21-year-old Daysaja Nickleson, attempted to leave a retail store with merchandise and flee the scene in their vehicle, when a nearby citizen observed what was happening and blocked the suspects from leaving with their car. Police say the suspects rammed the other vehicle and then attempted to pull the driver from car. The suspects then fled the scene on foot. Patrol officers then found Chapman and Nickleson hiding in a nearby parking lot and took them into custody. Chapman was charged with second degree assault, attempted carjacking and theft. Nickleson was charged with first and second degree assault, reckless endangerment, theft and conspiracy to carjack.

North Miami Beach tackles
evolving economic crimes
The police department in North Miami Beach announced the creation of two new units-a gang unit and an economic crime unit. Both will work in conjunction with gangs and street crimes. "We're finding that the gangs these days are a lot more sophisticated," police Capt. Richard Rand said. "In order to generate revenue for their enterprise, they steal people's identity. They steal people's Social Security numbers. They take credit card numbers, clone the numbers, or install skimmers at gas stations at ATMs."



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ORC 12-15-15
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