Gang Members embrace White-Collar Crime; NYPD Commissioner Bratton |
Some street gangs are finding white-collar crime can be lucrative. In a
"national trend," gangs are committing crimes such as check fraud and identity
theft, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports in a story noted by the
newspaper's Law Blog. Such offenses have a bigger payoff, are more difficult to
detect, and are subject to lower prison sentences than more traditional gang
crimes. Some gang members in New York are carrying re-encoded credit cards using
stolen data. Gang members prosecuted in Brooklyn were accused of defrauding
banks by creating fake checks, depositing them and withdrawing the money before
the forgery was discovered. In California, gang members were accused of stealing
identity information to file fraudulent tax returns and to commit other
financial crimes. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton wrote
about the trend in a December op-ed for the New York Daily News. "To an
astonishing degree," he wrote, "crew members are learning the skills of credit
card fraud-stealing with computers, embossing machines, and stacks of blank
cards instead of resorting to robbery and burglary. Yet despite their migration
to white-collar crime, they show no signs of becoming less violent."
MI: Traffic stop helps bust up shoplifting scheme
State Police are investigating a shoplifting scheme that may have earned a group
of suspects as much as $30,000 dollars. Investigators say the group had been
driving through several states, stealing from stores and returning some of the
stolen items for gift cards and cash. Trooper Ed Brinkman with the Michigan
State Police Rockford post made the discovery last month after pulling the
suspects over for various traffic violations. "We had a couple of simple
violations, [like] lane use violations," said Brinkman. Trooper Brinkman pulled
the car over and said he searched the vehicle after smelling marijuana coming
from inside. "We were expecting one thing," he said. Authorities found a lot
more than they expected when they opened the trunk to reveal all kinds of
electronics, designer handbags and jeans, some with the security tags still
Livonia, MI: Victoria's Secret hit by a 2 person Distraction Team
at Laurel Park Place
Livonia police were dispatched Saturday afternoon to Victoria's Secret on the
report of two suspects accused of stealing merchandise had fled the store.
Dispatch told police two suspects had fled the store in a vehicle with an Ohio
license plate. Police searched the area but could not locate the vehicle. When
speaking to a store manager, police found out the two suspects came into the
store with one distracting an employee while the other concealed some unknown
merchandise. When an employee confronted the suspects, they fled the store. The
items were concealed in a large black purse.
Wilmington, NC: 15 year in Federal Prison for suspect in Burglaries of Gun
Stores across NC; over 200 stolen guns believe sold in Camden, NJ
A Fayetteville man has been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison
for stealing nearly 200 firearms from various gun shops in North Carolina,
including two stores in Wilmington. Ahkeem Donte Pratt, 24, was sentenced
Wednesday to 188 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release.
Pratt was named on a 17-count federal indictment in March 2015, charging him and
several other co-defendants with breaking into five North Carolina gun stores
between August and December 2014, and stealing 193 firearms, 82 of which were
stolen out of Wilmington.
bike owners, retailers believe theft ring taking stolen cycles to Juarez
High-end bikes worth thousands of dollars are disappearing left and right out of
the Albuquerque metro. Owners of these bikes have no clue who is responsible,
but they say they're pretty certain they know where these bikes are ending up.
The Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office are
investigating the thefts. "I think they know exactly what they're after," said
Sports Systems GM Jerry Shere. "They're looking for high-end, $5,000-$10,000,
full-suspension mountain bikes." Sports Systems in Albuquerque just had 16 of
those bikes go missing. They are valued around $70,000 altogether.
Portland, OR: Undercover Operation builds case against alleged Lego thief
A Happy Valley man is in custody after police say he agreed to sell stolen Legos
to undercover investigators. Pavel Illich Kuzik, 25, was arrested in a stolen
car on Thursday, the Portland Police Bureau said in a news release, and booked
into the Multnomah County Jail on multiple outstanding warrants. Kuzik is
accused of stealing Lego sets and other goods and selling them online on
OfferUp.com. Detectives and Fred Meyer loss prevention officers started
investigating the thefts in late February, according to the news release. The
investigation is ongoing, and police expect Kuzik will face additional charges.
Kuzik also pleaded not guilty to third-degree theft in a separate case Thursday
morning, court records show. He's accused of stealing merchandise worth less
than $100 from a Target store in late January. Kuzik is being held at the
Multnomah County Jail on $46,234 bail, jail records show. His criminal record
includes felony convictions for second-degree burglary, unauthorized use of a
vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, and identity theft,
court records show.
Cooper City, FL: Elderly victim speaks out after distraction theft Publix
92-year-old woman was shopping at a Cooper City supermarket when, authorities
said, two men stole from her right under her nose. Betty Swanson was shopping
for groceries at a Publix in Cooper City on Feb. 28 when, according to
investigators, one man distracted her while another man took her belongings out
of her purse. Detectives said the suspects the supermarket in search of an easy
target, and they found one. "I feel like blasting them, I'll tell ya," said
Swanson. "If they had been in front of me doing that, I would have hit them with
a cane. I really would." According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the thieves
immediately went to a Best Buy in Pembroke Pines to use Swanson's credit card.
Surveillance footage captured them purchasing $1,600 worth of computers and then
exiting the store with the devices.