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Everon acquires Portland Safe, Inc. out of Northeast region

Second acquisition Everon has completed in a month substantially grows company's capabilities to serve banking and financial institutions, commercial and National Accounts businesses in Northeast U.S.

Boca Raton, Fla., Jan. 4, 2024 - Everon, also known as ADT Commercial ("ADT Commercial" or the "Company"), a leading security integrator and premier provider of commercial security, fire and life safety in the U.S., announced today the purchase of Portland Safe, Inc., based out of Gray, ME. This is the second acquisition that Everon has completed in the last month, following the December 6 announcement that it had acquired Kentucky-based Newtech Systems, and indicates the new standalone company is rapidly making strides toward its goals for geographic expansion and meaningful market growth.

"We're looking forward to welcoming Portland Safe's employees to Everon and adding their wide-ranging knowledge and expertise to our deep bench of talent," said Dan Bresingham, Chief Executive Officer. "We're excited to have them on this journey with us, setting our sights on a future formed by outstanding service, a commitment to excellence, and identifying opportunities to grow our services and capabilities in the Northeast."

A Maine-owned and operated business for over 35 years, Portland Safe, Inc. specializes in providing security solutions for banking and financial institutions, including community banks, credit unions, and related businesses across Maine and New Hampshire. Their teams are experienced in the delivery, installation, service of the latest technologies in access control, alarm systems, video surveillance, physical security, drive-up equipment, cash handling equipment, NCR Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs), ATMs, and more.

For more information, visit everonsolutions.com. Read the full story here.

Loss Prevention Research Council Refreshes Brand and Launches New Website

GAINESVILLE, FL - For more than two decades, the Loss Prevention Research Council has been at the forefront of innovative research that helps its members prevent retail crime. In an effort to grow its membership and continue its groundbreaking research projects, the organization has upgraded its brand and website.

"We want our identity to reflect the high quality of research we're doing in partnership with the world's leading retailers," said Dr. Read Hayes, a research scientist at the University of Florida and the founder and director of LPRC. "Our research team continues to collaborate with our strategic partners and retail members to lay the foundation for the next phase of LPRC's evolution."

Check out the new website here: https://lpresearch.org/


The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

PA Establishes 'Office of Deputy AG for Organized Retail Crime Theft'
The new office is part of a new law increasing penalties & lowering felony thresholds

New law for 2024 aims to crack down on retail theft in Pennsylvania

According to state data, retail theft offenses in Pennsylvania increased by 30 percent from 2021 to 2022.

As a new year begins,
a newly passed law is now being enforced in the state of Pennsylvania. State Senator David Argall sponsored a bill in 2023 that was focused on cracking down on retail theft. According to state data, retail theft offenses in Pennsylvania increased by 30 percent from 2021 to 2022.

Sen. Argall's bill
changes penalties for people who commit retail theft. It also establishes a deputy attorney general whose job it is to oversee a team of prosecutors focused on retail theft throughout the state.

The bill, which received bipartisan support in Harrisburg,
passed in December. According to Argall, Gov. Josh Shapiro quickly signed the bill into law. Under the new law, the retail value thresholds that correlate with second- and third-degree felonies were cut in half.

If the retail value of the
stolen merchandise is between $2,500 and $9,999, the offense is now a third-degree felony. Under previous law, the value of the stolen merchandise needed to be between $5,000 and $19,999 to qualify as this kind of felony.

If the retail value of the stolen merchandise is
between $10,000 and $49,999, the offense is now a second-degree felony. Previous law stipulated the value of the stolen merchandise had to be more than $20,000 to qualify as a second-degree felony.

For the first time under this new law,
a first-degree felony penalty will be added if the retail value of the stolen merchandise is $50,000 or more.

This new law also establishes '
The Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft.' The legislation states the office will include five prosecuting attorneys who will focus on retail theft in districts throughout the state. 6abc.com

'Blitz Operations' Driving Down Retail Theft in San Francisco?
Larceny theft is one of the only crimes to see a significant decrease since last year in SF

How bad was crime in SF in 2023? We looked into it.

SFGATE looked into the numbers to break down the biggest crime trends San Francisco faced in 2023

Crime, and just how widespread it is, has been a surging topic of conversation in San Francisco for years, particularly since the pandemic emptied downtown of workers. With high-profile homicides and plenty of viral videos documenting retail theft, car break-ins and robberies, it's also a conversation that has gone nationwide. Salesforce has debated moving its giant Dreamforce conference out of San Francisco, and retailers and restaurants have blamed rising crime when closing locations.

A look at the numbers, though, tells a more complicated story. In 2023, crime in San Francisco, including
retail and motor vehicle theft, has decreased in most categories, albeit only slightly. But some crimes, such as robberies and motor vehicle theft, have gone up.

(Data runs through Dec. 24, 2023, the latest date for which SFPD had available numbers.)

Homicide - According to police data, there were 55 homicides in 2023, as of Dec. 24, compared to 53 for that same period in 2022

Retail theft - According to SFPD data, larceny theft, defined as stealing property without the use of force or violence, is one of the only crimes to see a significant decrease since last year. The department reported 31,428 cases in 2023, about 4,432 fewer theft cases than in 2022. The drop comes after an increase of about 4,400 cases from 2021 to 2022.

As SFGATE previously reported,
San Francisco's shoplifting rate decreased by about 5% from January 2019 to June 2023. In the last year and a half, SFPD implemented "blitz operations," which Sernoffsky credits for helping law enforcement cut retail theft. As part of the strategy, SFPD stations plainclothes and uniformed officers in retail stores to observe retail theft and detain large, organized groups of thieves.

Robberies and burglaries - More robberies have occurred in the city in 2023, with 2,693 cases reported in 2023, a 14.5% increase over last year. As SFPD defines it, a robbery is when thieves use force or fear to steal items from someone, such as someone getting mugged. sfgate.com

Will Retailers Rethink How they Talk about Theft in 2024?
How companies are rethinking retail theft in 2024

Throughout 2023, the word on nearly every retail executive's lips was "theft."

Retail theft will continue to be a talking point in the new year, especially
as lawmakers crack down on stolen goods, dispatch task forces on the issue and increase law enforcement. But tackling the issue, sources told Modern Retail, means confronting the fact that retail theft can be difficult to track and that existing data is fuzzy at best. Thus in 2024, retailers may be more likely to focus on shrink as an overall concept and less on the headline of rising crime.

Data difficulties

In fact, it is difficult to quantify just how persistent retail theft is, as several media reports have explained. Most law enforcement does not track retail theft specifically. Neil Saunders, managing editor of GlobalData Retail, agrees that
retail crime "has been increasing for retailers." At the same time, he said, "it is hard to get a handle on the extent of crime because a lot of the information is qualitative and many of the statistics used are partial or unreliable. That makes understanding the exact extent of the problem challenging."

The issue of shrink

Shrink is indeed a challenge for many retailers, as it affects the number of goods that can be sold. Yet, at a time in which retailers are battling multiple headwinds - including high inflation and shifting consumer interests - r
etailers have commonly mentioned theft as the culprit for poor performance.

While theft is a part of shrink,
shrink can occur for any number of reasons, including shoplifting, operational loss, vendor fraud and administrative errors. Retailers have not always differentiated between these in earnings calls.

Locking and unlocking

"In all of our retail research, we repeatedly see how important convenience is when it comes to shopping," she said. "And so, the more items that get locked up,
the more quickly you are chasing away your consumers." Retailers also need to realize the burden that they put on store associates when they ask them to unlock case after case.

Finding solutions to shoplifting modernretail.co

Store Product Lock-Ups Aren't Going Anywhere in 2024
"Until we get this lawless society under control, where we can arrest and prosecute... we're still going to see, unfortunately, having to secure more of the merchandise."

Ex-Home Depot CEO reveals why more stores will lock up their items in 2024
Heading into the new year,
former Home Depot and Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli warned big-box retail chains and small businesses are likely to see more items stolen off shelves in 2024, and as a result, continue locking products up.

"Unfortunately, I think it is still a problem," Nardelli said on "The Claman Countdown" Tuesday. "When I was working with the Home Depot team, when you lock it up, you tended to lose sales because it became a deterrent: a deterrent for the people who wanted to rob you, but also for the shoppers who wanted to basically look [at] it, touch it, feel it, and be able to check out, versus getting an associate, unlocking the crib and then bringing it to the register."

The House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence held a hearing titled "From Festive Cheer to Retail Fear: Addressing Organized Retail Crime," in early December. Current Home Depot execs and representatives from the NRF testified, detailing "
an unprecedented spike in retail crime."

"We hear about the big chains and their problems. Oftentimes, we forget that the
retail industry is an industry that is made up 98% of small businesses. That is the backbone of our economy," NRF executive director of research Mark Mathews previously told Fox News Digital in December, "and sometimes those get forgotten, and they're suffering as well."

Nardelli argued Tuesday that
many stores' no-chase or confrontation policies are contributing to a "lawless society."

Until we get this lawless society under control, where we can arrest and prosecute, which we did when I was there in 2000 to 2006, we're still going to see, unfortunately, having to secure more of the merchandise," he continued, "which stops the theft to a certain degree, but also prohibits shopping [and] quality shoppers." foxbusiness.com

Theft was Retail's Hottest Topic in 2023
The year in review: retail theft

Retailers from Target and The Home Depot to pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens were vocal about shoplifting in 2023.

It's never fun to talk about the ugly side of running a business, but
this year, retail theft came into focus in a new way that reached national heights. Companies, their CEOs, and special interest groups were extremely vocal about retail theft and how they said it was affecting store operations.

But as claims about retail crime made headlines this year, so has scrutiny over the scale of corporations' response-and more recently,
questions about how big a problem it really is. The NRF even went so far as to remove a "mistaken" fact from a headline-grabbing report claiming that organized retail crime (ORC) made up "nearly half" of inventory losses in 2021.

Target was one of the more vocal major companies that expressed frustration with increased shrinkage. In September, the company claimed the
reasoning behind closing nine locations was primarily because "theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance."

The big picture: Shrink is certainly a topic that comes up in earnings calls nowadays, but breaking it down at scale can prove to be difficult, as Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, explained in the Los Angeles Times.

"It is clear that
shrink is on the rise and is starting to have more of a material impact on business performance," Saunders wrote in an op-ed. "On the other hand, retailers have been known to make excuses for poor performance, and understanding the nuances of crime data and trends can be complicated." retailbrew.com

Shoplifters 'Not Facing the Consequences'
Some accused shoplifters missed court dates while PPB targeted holiday retail theft
Four times over the holiday, police reported how many people they arrested. But of the 55 people who were arrested for shoplifting, several never showed up to court.
KOIN 6 tracked 29 cases from PPB and found that at least 12 missed their court date.

"It is incredibly discouraging to see that
people we apprehended for shoplifting and other crimes are not reporting it to court and facing the consequences of their actions," PPB spokesperson Mike Benner said. "But that said, we remain committed to continued retail theft missions, And that has a positive impact in the community."  koin.com

Security expert defends Target and CVS 'last resort' of locking up everyday items

'They told everyone in the store': CVS shopper moans over anti-theft measure


Young People More Vulnerable to Workplace Injuries or Deaths
'In 2021, 398 workers under 25 died after getting injured on the job.'

Some workers get hurt on the job more than others - here's who and why
Think about your first job. Maybe it was
delivering pizza, bagging groceries, busing tables or doing landscaping work. Did you get enough training to avoid potential injuries? Chances are, you didn't - and your boss or supervisor just told you to get to work.

Employing young people helps them in many ways. They can learn a trade, develop job skills, become more responsible and earn money. But there's danger, too: Americans between 15 and 24 years old are up to 2.3 times more likely to get injured on the job than workers who are 25 and over.

In 2021, 398 workers under 25 died after getting injured on the job.

In my research about the unique occupational safety hazards young workers face, I've identified three common causes of this susceptibility to injury: their l
ack of experience, developing bodies and brains and reluctance to speak up.

19 million young people employed today make up approximately 13% of the U.S. workforce. Work is more dangerous for young people because they've simply had less time to become aware of many common workplace hazards than their older co-workers.

And yet
this problem isn't typically addressed during onboarding: Even those who have been trained to do a specific job may not be taught ways to avoid common injuries. And despite these inherent risks, Arkansas, Iowa and other states have recently weakened labor laws, loosening restrictions about the kinds of work teens can do and increasing the number of hours they can work. cbsnews.com

   RELATED: California is poised to protect workers from extreme heat - indoors

NYC Street Vendor Ban Goes Into Effect: 'A Public Safety Issue'
Street vendors gone from Brooklyn Bridge as NYC enforces ban aimed at pedestrian safety
new street vendor ban on the Brooklyn Bridge went into effect on Wednesday. In the early morning hours, as the new ban went into effect, city crews were seen removing the property of some street vendors on the iconic bridge and in some cases then giving it back.

Mayor Eric Adams said city officials will be enforcing the ban, whether vendors are licensed or not. He previously called the vendor situation on the Brooklyn Bridge hazardous. "People couldn't walk. It's not only a sanitary issue, but also
a public safety issue," Adams said. However, vendors say this is how they make a living and they should be allowed to stay.

Vendors usually sell memorabilia and other New York City trinkets on the Brooklyn Bridge.
If a vendor refuses to leave, the Department of Transportation will confiscate the items and put them into storage for later pickup.

The new ban
aims to enhance pedestrian safety, ease overcrowding, and promote the safety and security of the bridges, according to the DOT. The full rules and the city's plan can be found here. pix11.com

Will 2024 Be Another Strong Year for Retail Labor Unions?
Costco just notched its first organizing victory in two decades

Virginia Costco Workers Vote to Join Teamsters Union
Costco workers in Norfolk, Va. have voted to join the Teamsters Local 822, with the union calling this its
first organizing victory at the wholesale retailer in two decades. The 238-worker group will join more than 18,000 Teamsters at Costco nationwide.

Successful unionization efforts in the retail industry have been relatively rare, but they
may pick up steam this year following a strong year for labor in 2023, with successful strikes by the United Auto Workers against the Big Three carmakers and by SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America against Hollywood studios.

The Teamsters had ratified a first-ever national master agreement for Costco in October 2022, boosting wages and pension contributions by the retailer and providing benefits including a more flexible attendance policy.
Many Costco workers in Norfolk cited the national contract as a catalyst for organizing, according to a Teamsters statement. retailtouchpoints.com

Post-Holiday COVID Surge Coming?
Did you gather in large groups for the holidays? A virus may be your post-holiday present
Every year since the start of Covid-19, there has been a surge in coronavirus activity after Christmas, New Year's Eve and other winter holidays. Even before the holidays this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already warned that Covid-associated hospitalizations were rising, along with hospitalizations for influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus (also known as RSV).

While many people took steps prior to and during holiday gatherings to reduce their risk of contracting these viruses, others
engaged in large get-togethers with higher-risk exposure. cnn.com

Retail trends that shaped the holidays in 2023

2024 Is the Year Retail Gets Personal

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In Case You Missed It

Tally Integrates their ORC Early Warning System with the Clinton Electronics Connect PVM

Integration was debuted at LPRC Impact in October

Tally Retail Solutions recently announced that they have integrated Clinton IP Connect PVM with Tally's ORC Early Warning System. If ever one + one could equal three, this is it. The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) has researched both technologies independently and given them their highest grades. When used in combination it is an unmatched force multiplier against organized retail crime, point of purchase advertising, and store safety. Suppliers have wanted to help retailers address organized retail crime as it erodes their brand and sales. They've never found a loss prevention solution that brings benefits to both retailers and suppliers until now. While retailers are stopping organized retail crime and shoplifting at the shelf, not at the exit, the CPG's are getting truly affordable point of purchase advertising to their targeted customers without changes to their product, displays, or planograms.

"Our retail and CPG customers tell us their tired of locking cabinets, chains, cables, and devices that detract from their product presentations. The combination of IP Connect PVM's and smart shelving which switches between advertising messages and real time video when actual ORC events are happening is a game changer", said Sean Ryan Chief Marketing Officer at Tally.

"We have been on the forefront of innovative video solutions for retailers. Combining smart shelving from Tally with our IP Connect PVM solutions is a natural progression for us. Not only does this approach bring greater value to retail loss prevention it gives CPG's true benefits by investing in loss prevention technologies. We don't know of any other solution that can deliver real value to both retailers and CPG's."

About Tally Retail Solutions

Tally Retail Solutions LLC works with retailers and Consumer Products Manufacturers to discover and implement innovative technologies that reduce shrinkage and risk to increase profits. Tally's leadership has over 75 years of Loss Prevention technology development, sales, and marketing experience.







Brands Targeted by Cybercriminals on Twitter
Criminals can 'impact brand reputation by posting damaging content'

Cybercriminals Flood Dark Web With X (Twitter) Gold Accounts

Verified accounts for celebs and organizations deliver a deep vein of cybercrime riches for crooks.

Cybercriminals are taking over verified "Gold" accounts on X, the social media service formerly known as Twitter - and selling them on the Dark Web for up to $2,000 a pop. The Gold badge on X means that the service has independently verified the account as legitimately belonging to a high-profile organization or a celebrity. It was introduced a year ago as a paid option after X made the blue checkmark - formerly a designation of legitimacy - a badge that anyone could pay to include on their profiles, no validation needed.

Cybercriminals are now brute-forcing passwords and stealing credentials through malware in order to gain access to existing Gold accounts, according to CloudSEK researchers; more often, they are also taking over non-Gold accounts associated with real organizations that haven't been used in months and upgrading them to verified status. In all, hundreds of accounts with reach to tens of thousands of followers are on offer in underground forums.

Nefarious types willing to pay can then use the accounts to host
phishing links, launch disinformation campaigns and financial scams, or impact brand reputation by posting damaging content.

The value to crooks in infiltrating major accounts has been a known quantity since at least 2020, when hackers were able to compromise the internal networks of what was then Twitter, gaining access to verified accounts and
sending out tweets on behalf of several high-profile individuals.

To protect themselves,
organizations should "regularly monitor brand mentions on Twitter and implement strong password policies to protect against account compromise," CloudSEK recommended. Effective brand monitoring means identifying fake profiles, unauthorized product listings, misleading advertisements, and malicious content. darkreading.com

Banking Apps Targeted Globally - U.S. Top Target
29 malware families target 1,800 banking apps worldwide
Mobile banking is outpacing online banking across all age groups due to its convenience and our desire to have those apps at our fingertips, according to Zimperium. However, this surge is accompanied by a dramatic growth in financial fraud.
The research uncovered that 29 malware families targeted 1,800 banking applications across 61 countries last year. In comparison, the 2022 report uncovered 10 prolific malware families targeting 600 banking apps.

Banking trojans continue to evolve and succeed due to their ability to persist, bypass security, and evade detection on mobile devices. As investment from fast-moving
threat actors continues to increase, traditional security practices are unable to keep up.

The research also revealed that
United States banking institutions remain by far the most targeted by financially motivated threat actors. There were 109 US banks targeted by banking malware in 2023, compared to the next most targeted countries which were the UK (48 banking institutions) and Italy (44). The report also noted that trojans are evolving beyond simple banking apps, targeting cryptocurrency, social media, and messaging apps. helpnetsecurity.com

Ransomware Group Claims Cyber Breach of Xerox Subsidiary
Xerox Business Solutions, a subsidiary of Xerox,
experienced a "cyber security incident," according to a press release from the company. The cyber incident's scope was limited to XBS in the US and has now been contained after initially being discovered by Xerox cybersecurity personnel. Xerox Corp. makes office and production printers, projectors, scanners, and a variety of other office equipment. darkreading.com

Emerging cybersecurity trends and expectations for 2024
In this Help Net Security video, John Dwyer, Head of Research at IBM X-Force, discusses how 2024 is poised to be an incredibly impactful year for cyber attacks, driven by world events and access to advanced technologies like AI.

3 main tactics attackers use to bypass MFA

Hackers raided crypto for $1.7bn in 2023 - check out the top 10 heists of year







Introducing Sapphire's Loss Prevention course!

The Importance of Loss Prevention

"Implementing proactive loss prevention measures among a business begins by educating employees and arming them with the right information. Since it can be difficult sometimes to determine whether theft, loss, or diversion is internal or external, this is why fortifying a company with tools before an incident begins is vital."


One of the Top Issues Facing Cannabis Businesses: Violence & Crime
Armed Robberies Awareness and Prevention in the Cannabis Industry

How to Prevent Armed Robberies in Your Cannabis Business
Business owners need to identify the risk of armed robberies in their cannabis business. Owners must determine the estimated value of inventory products and the average amount of cash that will be on hand at any time to decide if the business is "high risk". The location of the store or facility is also a consideration. If the area is considered "high crime" or if neighboring businesses have experienced a history of robberies or thefts, this could increase the business' risk of incurring an incident.

To accommodate this increased risk, business owners should increase security measures at their facility, such as installing more security equipment, contracting with a security guard company, or hiring a security expert to conduct a risk assessment to determine the specific risks for the business. Security risk assessments should be completed during the pre-inspection phase, after the build-out concludes, and annually after that. This can include analyzing 3-5 years of crime data for the property and surrounding area, noting robberies, burglaries, nearby instances of civil unrest, gang-related incidents, and other violent crimes.

How to Respond to an Armed Robbery

If an armed robbery occurs at the business, thoroughly vetted and trained employees will know that the business values its employees' safety over replaceable things like products, or cash. Employees should know not to panic, make sudden moves, or attempt to subdue the robber. In the interest of safety, employees should comply with the robber's demands. Employees should not offer any additional information, conversation, cash, or products. Playing the hero can quickly worsen the situation as a confrontation with the robber increases the chances of an adverse reaction. The goal of responding to an armed robbery should be to get the robber out of the premises as quickly as possible. 

The Importance of Preventing Armed Robberies

Cannabis businesses can be appealing targets for criminals since they operate mostly on cash. Business owners should evaluate the store's security plan and standard operating procedures to look for ways to improve the security at the facility and may seek out security consultation to reevaluate the store's security. Cannabis business owners should also meet with their employees to provide additional training and ask for employees' input on the store's security and safety measures. sapphirerisk.com

Biden's Big Shift in Federal Drug Policy
Why fears about Biden's marijuana moves are overblown

Former top FDA official Howard Sklamberg doesn't see how loosening federal restrictions will lead to a crackdown on state-legal markets.

AdvertisementPresident Joe Biden's administration is poised to make the biggest shift in federal drug policy in decades by loosening marijuana restrictions, but the move is sparking blowback from an unlikely constituency: legalization advocates.

They argue that moving marijuana to a lower classification
would do nothing to address the federal-state divide in marijuana laws, fail to address the impacts of criminalization, disrupt existing state-regulated cannabis markets, lead multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies to dominate the medical cannabis industry and spur a potential federal crackdown.

Howard Sklamberg, an attorney and former top official at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, argues those fears are alarmist and misguided.
He doesn't believe the cannabis industry needs to worry about a crackdown if the drug is moved from Schedule I to III under the Controlled Substances Act, as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration after a review of the scientific evidence.

"If you're going to launch an enforcement initiative against cannabis, why would you start off with saying, 'Oh, by the way, it's less of a risk than we thought,'" Sklamberg said in an interview with POLITICO. "You would use your power under Schedule I and go after it." cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

NY 'Emergency' Cannabis Regulator Meeting Turns Into 'Old West Bar Fight'
Final NY Regulator Meeting of 2023 Gets Testy
The emergency meeting of New York's Cannabis Control Board (CCB) called for last Friday (December 29) started 20-minutes late, a seeming eternity, but that was forgotten as soon as the meeting began and it became clear that something was off in New York Regulatorland, where even the worst of times are called the best of times. The meeting lasted all of 30 minutes when all was said and done - and a lot was said, with little done - but within that brief window a curtain was opened that revealed a palpable tension not only among the board members but also between the Board and the Office of Cannabis Management, whose Executive Director, Chris Alexander, participated in the meeting.

At times it felt like an old west bar fight, with participants taking metaphoric swings at anyone within reach, and a reasonable first reaction was that it was little more than an airing of dirty laundry, a release of frustration following a long, hard year. And that may have been a part of it, but what seemed at first like whiny complaints about poor scheduling and not sticking to bylaws that people hated in the first place soon began to sound a lot more like legitimate concerns about a vote they were being asked to take under emergency circumstances for the benefit of only two companies. And then, more to the point, beneath that concern there seemed to be a profound if unexpressed lack of faith that these companies, each of which is owned by a multistate operator, will behave in ways that benefit New York's local cannabis farmers. But were those concerns as ominous as they were made to sound, or, as Alexander suggested, were they being overblown? cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

2024 SMS Marketing: Updated Rules Cannabis Brands Should Know

Don't Use AI to Write Cannabis Contracts




Sellers Lawyer Up Against Amazon's Crackdown
Amazon crackdown on sellers spawns new legal industry

Small businesses seek advice to reactivate accounts after being caught by drive to clean up ecommerce platform

Merchants who have been suspended from selling goods on Amazon's marketplace are turning to a cottage industry of lawyers to regain access to their accounts and money, amid growing scrutiny of how the retailer treats independents.

Millions of accounts on the leading ecommerce platform have been
prevented from engaging in sales for alleged violations of Amazon's broad range of policies and other bad behaviour. Even temporary suspensions can be a critical blow to the small business owners who rely on online sales.

Four ecommerce-focused US law firms told the Financial Times that
the majority of the cases they took on were complaints brought by aggrieved Amazon sellers, with each handling hundreds or thousands of cases every year.

About a dozen sellers also said they had grown worried about Amazon's power to suspend their accounts or product listings, as it was not always clear what had triggered the suspension and Amazon's seller support services did not always help to sort out the issue.

Account suspension was "a big fear of mine", said one seller, who declined to be named. "At the end of the day, it's not really your business. One day you can wake up and it's all gone."

Amazon's recent efforts to
crack down on issues such as fake product reviews have come as US and European regulators have upped their scrutiny of the online harms facing shoppers.

But critics said the existence of a growing army of lawyers and consultants to deal with the fallout from Amazon's actions pointed to
a problem with the way the retailer treats its sellers. ft.com

Holidays Are Over But Online Shopping Scams Live On
Better Business Bureau warns of online shopping scams, gives tips to avoid them
Online shopping scams remain the most reported scam in western Michigan for the third year in a row according to the Better Business Bureau. They said what made this year different was more scams were done on social media.

To avoid falling for a scam,
they recommend making sure the website link is legitimate. They also recommend doing your due diligence before handing over important information. And above all, they said people should use common sense before shopping online.

"If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. A lot of scammers, especially around big shopping times, are going to make those highly sought-after products, very good deals online to make you think that you're getting this popular product for a discount and it makes sense there'd be a discount at that time. So use a little bit of common sense," Katie Grevious, the marking and community relations manager at Better Business Bureau, said.

The Better Business Bureau is also asking people to report any scam they come across to their
scam tracker so others can avoid it. 9and10news.com

Online holiday spending reaches record $222B, driven by buy now, pay later options
Cyber Monday was the biggest day of buy now, pay later transactions, accounting for $940M in spending

Amazon shutters last stand-alone Fresh Pickup location








Tampa, FL: Bay Area retail theft ring busted, second suspect wanted by deputies
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office busted a retail theft scheme across the Tampa Bay area and beyond. HCSO's Organized Retail Theft Working Group said two suspects are responsible for six thefts at Target and Home Depot stores across Hillsborough County. Deputies arrested Christopher Hawkins, 37, on Tuesday, through an operation where investigators arranged to meet up with the suspect to buy some of the stolen merchandise. The sheriff's office said Hawkins and a second suspect, Thianna Robinson, 23, are suspected of stealing more than $8,000 worth of merchandise, in addition to other thefts in other counties around the state. "These organized retail theft rings just don't work in Hillsborough County," HCSO's Chief Deputy Joe Maurer said. "So they work in Pasco, and they work in Pinellas, and they work in Polk County and Manatee County." Maurer said this retail theft spree stretched from Hillsborough County, to Pasco County, to Orlando. After conducting a search warrant at Hawkins' home, deputies said they found more than $11,500 worth of stolen merchandise, including power tools, electronic and high-end perfumes and colognes. "It was power tools and high-end electronics like Nintendo switches," Maurer said. "So what he would do is he'd go on other platforms to try and resell that at half the price." Maurer said the retail stores reported the thefts and worked with the sheriff's office to identify the suspects.  fox13news.com

Clay County, FL: 6 "Crash and Grab" Clay County and Jacksonville Burglaries this week; 3 GameStops, 3 Vape stores
A string of burglaries over the last few days in the greater Jacksonville may all be connected. These incidents have caused thousands of dollars in damages to at least six businesses. Surveillance videos show a group of young men using cars as battering rams to crash into stores like GameStop and smoke shops. Khian Sykas, the manager of SoCal Smoke Shop in Orange Park, says they had thousands of dollars' worth of items taken, on Monday, January 1st. "Basically, around like five, six o'clock in the morning, there were some kids that drove a Kia right through the front door," Sykas said. "And they ran in and grabbed a few items; they hit the register." Sykas said that the burglars took T-shirts and backpacks valued at about $4,000, but left damages totaling more than $40,000. He expressed frustration, saying, "With more damage being done than what they took, I don't understand it. It's more of a hassle than anything else." Tuesday morning, there was another "crash and grab." Surveillance footage from Smokey Bubble Smoke Shop in Orange Park shows thieves crashing a car into the building. One of the workers tells Action News Jax, they took CBD jars and managed to access the cash register. This marked the second smoke shop in Clay County targeted within 24 hours. These recent burglaries were happening around the same time as the incidents at GameStop stores in Jacksonville. 

Colorado Springs, CO: Smoke shop has $20,000 stolen on New Years Day, asking for help to find suspects
A local business owner in Colorado Springs is out thousands of dollars after a burglary on New Year's Day and is asking for the public's help in identifying the suspects. Colorado Springs Police say they got a report of a 'cold burglary' just after 8:00 a.m. on the morning of January 1, that happened at the Speedys Smoke Shop along Airport Road in eastern Colorado Springs. The shop owner, Carmen Garcia who also owns the neighboring Los Compadres Liquor Store says the alleged suspects first broke into her car at her home in the early morning hours of New Year's Day and found the keys to her businesses in the process. Garcia says they then tried to use the keys to open the entrance to the liquor store, which she says did not work before they went to the smoke shop and stole a safe that contained upwards of $20,000. 

Irvine, CA: Police arrested two suspects for fraudulently buying over $3K worth of baby formula
On the evening of December 27, two suspects used stolen state benefit account information to fraudulently purchase over $3,000 in baby formula from the Target store at the Spectrum in Irvine. The pair programmed the victim's information onto their cards. The police investigators believe that the couple used similar techniques to make purchases at other stores. Christopher David Szabo, 52, and Cheryl Daveen Wipf, 57, of Huntington Beach, were arrested and booked at Orange County Jail on numerous charges, including burglary, forgery, organized retail theft, and narcotics charges. 

Irvine, CA: Duo used credit cards stolen in Irvine to shop at Home Depots
The duo is suspected of using the victim's credit cards to make over $900 in purchases at multiple locations, including several Home Depots.

Prestonburg, KY: Woman charged with repeatedly returning stolen items to Walmart to get gift cards; 17 transactions totaling over $1700

Bengalura, India: Bengalura Police arrest 3 men who stole 1558 pairs of Nike Shoes enroute to e-commerce Distribution Center

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Shootings & Deaths

Oakland, CA: Update: 2 men charged in shooting death of Oakland officer answering a burglary call at a Marijuana business
Two men were charged with murder Wednesday in the death of an Oakland police officer who was shot while answering a burglary report at a marijuana business, authorities said. Charges were filed against Mark Sanders, 27, of Tracy, and Allen Starr Brown, 28, of Chico. The two remained jailed Wednesday night. They were scheduled for arraignment Thursday and it wasn't immediately clear whether they had attorneys who could speak for them. Officer Tuan Le, 36, was shot in the head Friday and died at a hospital. He was in plainclothes and driving an unmarked truck when he and other officers answered a report of a burglary in progress at a suspected illegal cannabis grow house near Jack London Square, where another burglary had been reported several hours earlier, authorities said. The arriving officers said they saw several people leaving the business. Prosecutors allege that Sanders opened fire from a car with Brown inside the vehicle. Officers took their wounded colleague to the hospital, where he died about four hours later. Le was the 54th Oakland police officer to die in the line of duty and the first killed in nearly 15 years.  santamariatimes.com

Fredericksburg, TX: Police seek man in fatal shooting at convenience store
Fredericksburg police are seeking help in identifying a person who they said fatally shot a man during a robbery at a convenience store. The crime occurred around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at a store in the 1000 block of State Highway 16. According to police, a man entered the store wearing a dark-colored hoodie or jacket, a cap and blue jeans. The man was also carrying a duffel bag. A store clerk told police the man went to the back of the store, donned a skeleton mask and went to the front of the store, shooting a man in the process, police said. The suspect then took money from the clerk at the register and left the store on foot, police said. The clerk was unharmed. In a Facebook post, police identified Fredericksburg resident Arthur Cortez, 48, as the victim.  ksat.com

Grand Chute, WI: Fleet Farm Theft Ends in Fatal Crash
What started as a theft from a retail store ended with one person dying in a crash. The Grand Chute Police Department reports that they received a report of a retail theft at a local Fleet Farm just after 2:00 p.m. yesterday (January 3rd), and when they arrived, the suspect began to flee in a vehicle. Police took chase, with the suspect traveling at a high rate of speed. Just two blocks from the store, the suspect lost control, hit another car, and crashed into a tree. The suspect died at the scene, and the two people in the car that was hit by the suspect were taken to a local hospital but are expected to survive. The Department of Criminal Investigation has been called in to lead the investigation into the incident, with help from the State Patrol, a crime response specialist, and members of the DCI Digital Evidence Unit.  seehafernews.com

Monroeville, PA: Police officer shot while responding to reported armed robbery
A Monroeville police officer was shot multiple times while responding to a reported armed robbery Wednesday night, authorities said. The officer was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition as of late Wednesday. Allegheny County Police said the armed robbery occurred about 9:15 p.m. in the 4100 block of William Penn Highway. Post-Gazette news partner KDKA-TV reported the robbery was at Crumbl Cookies. Police said the Monroeville officer, a supervisor on the force, saw a man matching the description of the suspect shortly after the robbery was reported, and the suspect fired several rounds at the officer's vehicle as they approached, striking it multiple times. The suspect was quickly taken into custody without incident in an apartment complex parking lot on Stonecliffe Drive just a minute later, police said. Two handguns were recovered during the arrest, KDKA-TV reported. Allegheny County Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns said the officer was taken to Forbes Hospital and was alert and talking.  post-gazette.com

Goodyear, AZ: Several hurt in deadly multi-vehicle crash in Goodyear; 2 stolen vehicles involved

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Stratford, ON, Canada: Police hunting for suspects after robbery at Stratford Mall
Police are searching for four male suspects after what they are calling a smash and grab robbery at the Stratford Mall. Stratford Police say the four males were dressed in black when they went to the Paris Jewellers store around 6:20 Wednesday night, smashed counters and stole an unknown amount of jewelry.  mystratfordnow.com

Cleveland, OH: Police seeking suspects in Skimming devices found in 5 Giant Eagle stores in Ohio
Giant Eagle has announced that skimmer devices used to gain access to customer credit and debit cards were found at five of its Ohio locations, including three in Greater Cleveland. In a release sent to 3News on Wednesday, Giant Eagle said the skimmer devices "may have captured information only for a small number of customers who swiped a payment card on the PIN pads."  wkyc.com

Germantown, WI: Credit card skimming device found at Sendik's in Germantown

Charlotte, NC: Suspect wanted for robbing multiple Starbucks locations at gunpoint

American Canyon, CA: Two men arrested after safe stolen from Wingstop restaurant

Polk County, FL: Sheriff Grady Judd reflects on 2023 crime in Polk County, touts decreases in key metrics



C-Store - Scranton, PA - Burglary
C-Store - Boardman, OH - Burglary
C-Store - Edgewood, MD - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Bayonne, NJ - Robbery
Grocery - Oakland, CA - Burglary
Guns - Roseburg, OR - Robbery
Hardware - Grand Chute, WI - Robbery / Sup killed
Hardware - Plain Dealing, LA - Burglary
Hardware - Lincoln, NE - Burglary
Jewelry - Lincoln, NE - Burglary
Restaurant - Charlotte, NC - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Charlotte, NC - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Monroeville, PA - Armed Robbery / Police wounded
Restaurant - American Canyon, CA - Burglary / Wingstop
Restaurant - Long Beach, CA - Burglary
Walgreen - Goodyear, AZ - Robbery
Walmart - Forsyth County, GA - Robbery
Vape - Clay County, FL - Burglary
Vape - Camillus, NY - Burglary
Vape - Colorado Springs, CO - Burglary
Vape - Bloomfield, NJ - Armed Robbery
Vape - Seattle, WA - Robbery                      


Daily Totals:
• 11 robberies
• 11 burglaries
• 1 shooting
• 1 killed

Click map to enlarge




None to report.

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