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ORC 2-1-16




Martinsville, Va., PD's increased focus on shoplifting last year led to 2 ORC rings
Commonwealth Attorney Compliments Local Retail LP Teams

Shoplifting accounted for a fifth of Martinsville's total Part I crimes in 2014. Police Chief Sean Dunn said. Shoplifting accounted for 92 of the city's 441 total Part 1 crimes (nearly 21 percent) in 2014. As a result of the large percentage of shoplifting incidents, we decided to tackle this from a department-wide approach and enhance our partnership with the business community," Dunn said.

The Martinsville Police Department's initial response included patrol officers making periodic stops at local businesses. Our second step was to assign shoplifting incidents to criminal investigators when Patrol was unable to make an apprehension. Reported crime was down 23 percent from 2013 to 2014, giving us an opportunity to shift these incidents to criminal investigators with their much lower caseloads," Dunn said. "This (led) to the identification of two organized retail theft rings that were operating in the city. One of the organized retail theft rings was operating out of North Carolina and into several other states."

He added that MPD also developed Business Watch, spearheaded by Lt. R. "Tony" Turner, to facilitate dialogue between the business community and the police department. MPD's preliminary numbers for 2015 indicate 114 reported shoplifting incidents, 86 percent of which MPD cleared by arrest.

Martinsville Commonwealth's Attorney Clay Gravely said he thought shoplifting "is a significant problem which impacts us all. "In the city, most of these involve shoplifting from local grocery and department stores, such as CVS, Kroger and Belk. Fortunately, my office has a great working relationship with the loss-prevention agents at these stores, and they are always very prepared and good at what they do, which helps us to prosecute these cases effectively," Gravely said.

Brooklyn, NY: Trio Shoplifts $15K in Fur Coats
A trio of shoplifters made off with five fur coats from a Brooklyn store and police on Sunday released images of them taken by a surveillance camera. The photos show two men and a woman posing as shoppers at the Macy's Backstage store on Emmons Avenue in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood. The trio entered the store at about 8:10 p.m. Friday, removed locked wires on five fur coats, stuffed them into a bag and fled, investigators said. The furs are valued at approximately $15,000.

Wichita, KS: Six arrested after clothing thefts on opposite sides of town
Six people were arrested Thursday after two stores on opposite sides of town reported crimes an hour apart committed by a group of people using a white SUV, police said. An employee of Burlington Coat Factory said the group came into the store shortly before noon, "grabbed armfuls of clothing items" and fled the store. They left in a white Dodge Durango. About an hour later, six people entered the Famous Footwear and began to grab shoes and socks. When a clerk tried to intervene, a man in the group warned her that he had a gun. More than 50 pairs of blue jeans and jogging pants, worth an estimated $2,000, were stolen from Burlington Coat Factory. Several pairs of shoes and socks were taken from Famous Footwear, worth about $600.

Davie, FL: Police searching for 2 in Davie cellphone store burglary
A South Florida business owner is hoping police are able to locate the duo who, he said, smashed their way into his cellphone store and took off with thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise, early Sunday. Cameras rolled as the subjects used a sledgehammer to get into the Davie business, at around 6 a.m., and were in and out in seconds. Davie Police alerted the Owner, Ahmad Sharifeh about the burglary. Sunday afternoon. "[They] emptied it out, all the phones we had in there and the accessories," he said. "They took everything, snatched the cash register, and within two minutes they were gone." Sharifeh said the pair got away with about $4,000 in merchandise and cash.

West Springfield, MA: Loot seized from trio of 'professional' shoplifters included 110 pairs of ladies underwear
Stolen merchandise recovered from what police describe as a trio of professional shoplifters, arrested Thursday after they fled Kohl's on Riverdale Street, included 110 pairs of women's underwear valued at over $1,300. They are professionals," Police Capt. Michael J. Banas of the three suspects, all from Queens, N.Y. "These are guys who knew what they were doing." The underwear and a number of other recovered items had been stolen from the Macy's store at the Holyoke Mall which the suspects visited shortly before they made their ill-fated visit to Kohl's at 935 Riverdale Street. Most of the recovered merchandise had been taken from the Holyoke Mall. Along with the ladies underwear, the suspects' haul from Macy's included 11 wallets valued at $693 and a leather coat of undetermined value. Police also recovered two Target gift cards worth $1,000 apiece, 5 iTune cards worth $100 apiece and clothing valued at approximately $95. The suspects also took an iPad from the Apple Store at the mall valued at approximately $1,000. The haul from their interrupted time at Kohl's was considerably less: a camera and speaker valued at approximately $139.

Augusta, GA: Mother and son busted with $450 in merchandise from JC Penney Josette Rowan, 41, and Aron Sculley, 24, both of New Ellenton, S.C., were seen on surveillance cameras, authorities said, attempting to conceal more than $450 worth of makeup and clothing from J.C. Penney. According to an incident report, the suspects attempted to hide the items in Rowan's purse and leave the store.

Rockland, ME: Woman arrested for switching price tags; 20 previous arrests
A woman who was arrested for allegedly switching price tags of merchandise at a Rockland business was ordered held without bail on Jan. 27 pending a hearing to revoke her probation. Rockland Police charged Traci L. Cultrera, Jan. 22 with theft by deception and violating conditions of release. Cultrera has 20 previous arrests, primarily for theft, and numerous probation revocations.

Myrtle Beach, SC: Woman charged with shoplifting from 10 stores at Coastal Grand Mall
In Horry County, a woman is facing 10 counts of shoplifting following a rash of thefts Friday at Coastal Grand Mall, according to police records. Kristen Elizabeth Hardee, 28, of the Myrtle Beach area, was booked Friday at the Myrtle Beach city jail on 10 counts of shoplifting, according to booking records. Police reports filed Friday state the suspect concealed merchandise shoplifted from various stores in shopping bags and a stroller. All items were returned back to the stores, and Hardee is charged with 10 counts of shoplifting less than $2,000.

Helena-West Helena, AR: Off-duty officer helps thwart $1,500 Wal-Mart shoplifters

ORC 2-1-16
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