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CIS Security Solutions Shows Continued Support for the Loss Prevention Foundation by Becoming the Newest Bachelor Level Partner

(Mooresville, NC – February 8, 2023) The Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) announced that CIS Security Solutions has advanced its partnership to become the newest Bachelor level partner. CIS has been a long-time associate level partner and supporter of the LPF and with their commitment to becoming a Bachelor level partner they are continuing to set an example to the industry regarding the importance of continued education. The Bachelor level partnership secures numerous certification course scholarships for distribution to retailers, universities, and internal associates. It also enables CIS to provide complimentary LPF memberships to loss prevention practitioners.

CIS Security Solutions and Peter Morello have been providing loss prevention and asset protection solutions to the retail industry for over 34 years. CIS Security Solutions is heavily involved in the design and development of their products, changing the technology as needed, to answer the needs of the retail industry in fighting shoplifting, forged notes, and ORC. Whether you need an alarming recoiling tether, alarming tag, a counterfeit bill detector, a money counting scale, POS register rolls with special ink or just about anything else to turn the criminals away…CIS has a solution for you.

Read more here

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

California, Texas and Florida lead nation in supply chain thefts
Cargo thefts spike 15% across US, Canada in 2022
The end of 2022 saw a surge in cargo thefts that pushed the yearly total to above an estimated $223 million worth of goods stolen across Canada and the U.S., according to recent data from CargoNet.

The Verisk Analytics-owned data firm, which tracks voluntarily reported cargo thefts, recorded 1,778 “supply chain risk incidents” in Canada and the U.S. in 2022, a 15% jump compared to 2021.

“The No. 1 commodity [for cargo theft] was household goods for all of 2022, electronics was No. 2, and then food and beverage commodities were No. 3,” Scott Cornell, transportation lead and crime and theft specialist at Travelers, told FreightWaves.

California led the way with 417 reported cargo thefts in 2022, a 41% year-over-year increase, followed by Texas with 223 and Florida with 153.

Cargo theft in Georgia increased 34% year over year, partly due to organized crime groups that took advantage of increased traffic at the Port of Savannah.

CargoNet’s 2022 data showed the average value of cargo stolen in a theft was $214,104, a 20% increase compared to 2021.

Cargo theft hot spots are typically areas around major ports, as well as intermodal facilities, distribution centers and truck stops.

Organized crime rings can react quickly to market trends

Cornell said nine out of 10 times a cargo theft incident occurs, it’s usually perpetrated by an organized crime group usually fulfilling orders. freightwaves.com

Organized Crime's New $20M Jackpot in Southern Calif.
Brazen food stamp scammers steal millions from L.A.'s poorest. ‘They’re hemorrhaging money’
For about eight minutes on the morning of Feb. 2, authorities say, they inserted cloned Electronic Benefit Transfer cards into the slot at a U.S. Bank ATM in Tarzana.

The beeps of the machine carried across the street as the machine dispensed stack after stack of other people’s cash.

For over a year, authorities say similar scenes have played out with increasing frequency in Southern California, as a ring of organized criminals has stolen people’s personal EBT card information and pilfered their accounts.

They strike early in the morning of the first few days of every month — hours, sometimes minutes after the state deposits benefits onto the cards. They do the same with food stamps, which the state also deposits on EBT cards, then rack up mammoth bills at grocery stores.

In Los Angeles County, officials say more than $19.6 million in EBT benefits were stolen in 2022 — a more than 20-fold increase from the year before, when the county lost less than $1 million. This January alone, the county lost over $2.9 million — a one-month record.

“They’re hemorrhaging money,” said L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Alex Karkanen, who works in the public assistance fraud division, referring to the county. “It’s just got to be stopped.”

But no one quite knows how. “This problem is much bigger than any one agency can handle,” Lopez said. “This will not end purely through arrests.”

Thefts are made possible by skimmers — difficult-to-spot devices that easily attach to legitimate card readers. They are usually placed on card machines in locations that people frequent weekly — convenience stores, ATMs and gas stations. Skimmers are the closest an “average person is going to come to organized crime in their life.”  latimes.com

ORC - Fencing of Stolen Goods Still Runs Rampant in S.F.'s UN Plaza
Seems like SFPD is not involved or responding

‘It has not worked’: S.F.’s crackdown on street vending under fire as inspectors get attacked
On a recent cold and drizzly Friday, dozens of vendors lined up at UN Plaza, spreading their wares out on the brick sidewalk. Several elderly men and women were selling produce and canned goods, while a few dozen yards away, two women applied makeup and took hits from a glass pipe.

But the scene – which looks much as it did last summer before San Francisco said it would start to enforce a ban on the fencing of stolen goods in the area – isn’t a happy one to just about anyone else.

Nearly five months after the city vowed to fully carry out a new law banning illegal vending at UN Plaza, the practice remains rampant there.

Businesses in the area and politicians say they’re frustrated with the lack of progress in cleaning up UN Plaza, which fronts City Hall but has attracted illegal activity for much of its 50-plus-year history.

The Department of Public Works, which is leading enforcement, has not issued any violation notices to vendors at the plaza.

The reasons there have been no citations at UN Plaza are complex, said Department of Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon. Illegal vendors “did not stick around to have the notices handed to them,” she said.

But inspectors, who are only there two days a week, have removed abandoned goods from the area at least a dozen times, she said.

“We don’t want to put our inspectors in danger,” she said, “and our inspectors have been attacked.” At least five times, Gordon said, inspectors have been “physically confronted” while trying to do their job

Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who co-sponsored the ordinance regulating street vending with Supervisor Hillary Ronen, said he believed the law has been effective in his district, which includes the Excelsior and Oceanview, and some parts of the Mission.

“In UN Plaza, it has not worked,” he said. He blamed the persistent challenges on more organized criminal ventures dedicated to selling stolen property.

The ordinance, he said, “is not going to be wholly effective in areas where vending is hard to suppress if consequences are not stronger and police are not the ones leading efforts of suppression.”

San Francisco Police did not respond to a request for comment. The situation, however, highlights the challenge of rejuvenating the plaza, which has been a troubled spot for decades with drug use and dealing out in the open as city workers look on.

Whole Foods has curtailed hours due to the illegal activity, according to news reports. sfchronicle.com

Is Crime Forcing Some Walmart Locations to Close?
Crime-Plagued Walmart store in Albuquerque to close in March
The southeast Albuquerque Walmart store near Highland High School will be closing next month, according to the company. Confirming the closure with KRQE News 13 Wednesday, the company said the store on San Mateo near Central will close for good by Friday, March 10.

The closure appears to be the only New Mexico store that will shutter soon. However, several local news reports of store closures began emerging Thursday, including some in Illinois and Wisconsin. In December, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon forecasted possible store closures company wide amid discussion of retail theft.

The company says the San Mateo location is underperforming. It also said there’s no single cause for why a store closes and that the company’s decision is based on several factors, including historic and current financial performance.

Considering financial performance, the impact retail crime is having on retail stores has been a significant talking point in New Mexico politics over the last year. In May 2022, KRQE News 13 shadowed special agents conducting a retail crime sting at the San Mateo Walmart location. Several other reported incidents have taken place at the location over the last several years. Lawmakers are evaluating several bills that would address different charges or tougher penalties for the crime.

Walmart operates 15 other stores in the Albuquerque metro-area, all within 20 miles of the San Mateo location. In all, the company says 53 stores and Sam’s Club warehouses in the Land of Enchantment.  krqe.com

Policing Tops Minn. Mayor's List
These are Mayor Jacob Frey's Top 2 priorities for Minneapolis
For anyone following the city, the broad strokes won't sound new: Housing and policing top the list.

But this is the first time since Minneapolis voters approved the "strong mayor" structure in 2021 that Frey can unilaterally direct city departments to pursue them via his cabinet.

Public Safety

Frey committed to continuing the city's new approach to provide public safety and racial justice after the murder of George Floyd by police and an increase in violent crime over the past two years.

The plan includes replenishing the Police Department's ranks, as well as expanding initiatives aimed at preventing violence, such as expanding behavioral crisis response, which focuses on responding to mental health emergencies with mental health expertise before badges and batons. startribune.com

Walgreens Store Bans Purses and Bags to Prevent Shoplifting—Will Others Follow?

Biden calls for assault weapon ban in State of the Union address

COVID Update

669.6M Vaccinations Given

US: 104.6M Cases - 1.1M Dead - 101.8M Recovered
Worldwide: 676.8M Cases - 6.7M Dead - 649.3M Recovered

Private Industry Security Guard Deaths: 362   Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: 830

COVID & Remote Work's Impact on Retail
Downtown Downturn: The Covid Shock to Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Neighborhoods with more exposure to the adoption of work-from-home lost more establishments

Nearly three years after its onset, work-from-home (WFH) technologies and their effects are one of the most important and enduring economic legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 27.6 million Americans reported primarily working from home in 2021, triple the size of that population in 2019.

Overall, these results suggest a set of mechanisms through which the adoption of WFH behaviors has affected the location of retail establishments. The first is the relocation of residences. A majority of consumer shopping happens around residences and recent entry patterns for establishments reflect the new suburban locations of customers.

Second is the decline of commuting trips. Downtown locations that heavily rely on consumption chained with commuting continue to suffer.

Last, is that beyond the changes in residential and employment location choices, changes in consumer habits driven by the adoption of WFH has depressed the recovery of physical retail establishments.

The WFH population may make fewer overall consumption trips and have lower demand for clothing and personal care services that are less relevant for their new working environment. jpmorganchase.com

Determining the next phase in the new world of work
The companies backtracking on flexible work
Amid looming economic instability and widespread layoffs, bosses are ordering their workers back to the office. Does it mark a permanent return to in-person working?

In January, Disney employees received a memo from CEO Bob Iger. Like other entertainment conglomerates, the media giant had been operating a hybrid-working policy, in which teams were allowed to work remotely twice a week. However, Iger explained in the memo, the company was now reversing course, mandating a four-day return to office beginning in March.

Disney isn’t the only major corporation pulling back on workplace flexibility. Across sectors, companies including Starbucks, Twitter and auditing firm KPMG are mandating more in-person days, or even a return to full-time office working patterns. According to a January 2023 survey of 1,806 US workers by recruitment-agency Monster, while half of employers believe giving employees flexible schedules has worked well, a third who planned to adopt a virtual or hybrid model have changed their minds from a year ago.

While there’s not yet proof of a definitive trend pointing to a mass return to office for all workers, it’s not an impossibility, say some experts. “It’ll be over the course of the year, and forcing people back that we’ll all get a sense of whether productivity remains the same,” says Cooper, “and if companies really are more innovative when people work together in the same room.” bbc.com

No new variants emerged from China’s Covid outbreak, study finds

U.S. House votes to end foreign air traveler COVID vaccine requirement



Industry News

Employee Safety Is Key - For Both Permanent & Temporary Workers
Keeping Temporary Workers Safe Starts with Training & Communication

It has long been a challenge to protect workers from injury and harm. That’s especially true for temporary and contract employees, who often perform the least desirable work—and have the least amount of training.

Safety professionals should ensure that the periodic training, safeguards and other programs they provide for internal employees are consistent for temporary workers. It will take more time and energy to ensure that temporary workers are ready to perform the task at hand—whether that’s due to lack of training, exposure or muscle memory—as compared to your experienced internal employees.

But, if you treat temporary workers well and give them the same equipment, access and attention, they’ll be more likely to integrate into your culture and become a fully productive member of your team. Don’t treat temporary workers differently. After all, they are doing the same work as your internal employees.

Remember, as a general rule, staffing agencies will provide “generic awareness level” training, but OSHA expects the host employer to provide “site specific” training at the same level as their internal employees receive.

The pandemic has taught us that there is no such thing as too much training or communication—and that hearing from leadership helps build inclusion and belonging, which positively affects the safety culture, too. ehstoday.com

Walmart Mass-Shooting Suspect Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes

Patrick Crusius agrees to accept 90 consecutive life sentences for racist attack that killed 23 in El Paso, Texas

The man accused of killing 23 people and wounding 22 more in a racist attack on an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in 2019 pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes charges Wednesday.

Patrick Crusius, 24, agreed to accept 90 consecutive life sentences for the mass shooting, according to the Justice Department, one for each of the counts that included hate crimes resulting in death, hate crimes resulting in bodily injury and dozens of firearms violations. wsj.com

92% of CFOs Say They’re Fully Prepared for a Recession: Weekly Stat
CFO self-assurance around their performance, the economy, and their ability to ride out a recession are high, per recent CFO research.

Financial executives must make decisions that will prove to be pivotal over the next several quarters. But with much at stake, they appear to be confident in their ability to achieve their goals, regardless of what happens to the U.S. economy.

In CFO’s most recent outlook survey, 51% of finance leaders surveyed said they are confident in the economy, and a majority of CFOs (92%) said they are prepared for a recession this year, should one occur. cfo.com

51 Retailers That Will Open More Physical Stores This Year
More U.S. tenants are opening stores this year than are closing them. U.S. retailers plan 522 store closures and 1,846 store openings for 2023, according to Coresight Research. Commerce + Communities Today’s look at 51 growing chains, public and private, highlights several trends: Sunbelt suburbs, food concepts and grocery stores that are both larger than normal and smaller than normal.

   See the complete list here

Retail Industry Had 157 Union Elections - Unions Won 111- 71%
Labor unions notch big gains in 2022: report
Organized labor had a big year in 2022, as unions won nearly 1,200, or 76%, of the elections that were held, according to a year-end report from Bloomberg Law.

The report found that the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents 835,000 grocery workers in the U.S. and Canada, more than doubled its victory count in 2022, winning 111 of its 158 elections. That compares with 51 victories in 74 elections in 2021.

Meanwhile unions overall won a higher percentage of elections last year than in any year since 2005, when a decline in unionization trends took hold. A total of 75,290 workers joined unions in 2022, more than double the 36,934 new union members from 2021

Unions at wholesale companies, meanwhile, won 33 (66%) of the 50 union elections held in that industry in 2022.

The Service Employees International Union was the most active in 2022, winning 386 (82%) of 471 representation elections, followed by The Teamsters which won 145 (66%) of its 219 elections. supermarketnews.com

LPF Announces LPC & LPQ Professionals for January
The Loss Prevention Foundation would like to recognize and congratulate the following individuals who successfully completed all of the requirements set forth by the board of directors to be LPQualified (LPQ) and/or LPCertified (LPC). View Full List Here

Watch for accidental fraud, forensic accounting expert says

Biden calls for paid leave, ban on noncompetes, and the right to organize in State of the Union

Yum Brands opened 4,506 new units in 2022 & Sold all Russian units to existing franchisee

Bed Bath & Beyond Closing 150 More Stores - Keeping 360 BBB's & 120 BuyBuy Baby's

Quarterly Results

Uber Q4 gross bookings up 19%, revenue up 49%, FY gross bookings up 28%, revenue up 83%

CVS Q4 Pharmacy Services Segment total revenues up 11.2%, Retail/LTC Segment Total revenues up 4.0%, Total revenues up 9.5%
CVS Full Year Pharmacy Services Segment total revenues up 10.6%, Retail/LTC Segment Total revenues increased up 6.5%, Total revenues up 10.4%
   CVS Q4 Retail Front Store comp's up 3.1%, Pharmacy up 9.1%, Total up 7.7%
   CVS Full Year Retail Front Store comp's up 7.4%, Pharmacy up 9.5%, total up 9%

Yum Brands Q4 Worldwide system sales grew 8%, with KFC at 6%, Taco Bell at 14%, and Pizza Hut at 4%.
Yum Brands Full Year Worldwide system sales grew 6%, with KFC at 6%, Taco Bell at 11%, and Pizza Hut at 3%.
   KFC Q4 comp's up 5%, Full Yr. comp's up 4%
   Taco Bell Q4 comp's up 11%, Full Yr. comp's up 8%
   Pizza Hut Q4 cop's up 1%, Full Yr comp's flat


Senior LP & AP Jobs Market

Supply Chain LP/Safety Director job posted for Ross Stores in Fort Mill, SC
Provides overall leadership to the Supply Chain network DC LP/Safety teams in safety, physical security, protection of company assets, Workers' Compensation and fire prevention programs. The Director is also responsible for supporting store merchandise loss investigations through investigation of missing deliveries. Develops and maintains a strong partnership with the DC VP's and their operating teams, and stores LP Directors. jobs.rossstores.com

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2023 Predictions: Economic, Retail,
Technology and Crime

February 14 | 1:00 p.m. EST

Join this very popular retail innovation leadership series where 2023 Top 100 Retail Influencer and Prosegur Global Retail CEO, Tony D'Onofrio, will lead a lively and data-rich discussion predicting what will happen in 2023. He is joined by two other 2023 Top Retail Influencers: Greg Buzek and Jeff Roster, both leading industry analysts that track closely where retail and technologies will go next.

Topics for this webinar include:

The forecasted economic headwinds and whether a recession is ahead
The latest forecasts and predictions for the retail industry
Technology predictions including the most important technologies for the year and where startups are currently focused
The latest retail crime trends and predictions for 2023

The data and charts on these topics will be shared with attendees.

At the end of the webinar, our sponsor, Prosegur Security, will award five LPF scholarships to attendees by random drawing.

This webinar is presented by the Loss Prevention Foundation in partnership with Prosegur Security and qualifies for 1 continuing education unit (CEU) towards your LPC recertification or CFI recertification.








FBI's New Focus On Helping the Private Sector - 'FBI is Not a Proxy For the SEC'
“If SEC comes to us and wants what X victim gave you, give it to us,’ our answer is, ‘absolutely not”

Christopher Wray Tries to Thaw FBI’s Frosty Relationship With Business

Agency promises ‘Ritz Carlton-level customer service’ to woo companies’ help on cybercrime, China

When FBI agents last year infiltrated the networks of Hive, a notorious ransomware group that had demanded hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments from some 1,500 companies, hospital networks and other targets, they made an uncomfortable discovery.

Only 20% of the victims had approached law enforcement about their attacks.

Over the past two decades, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation focused on pursuing terrorists in the post-9/11 world, the relationship between the FBI and companies has often been distant and marked by high-profile battles, including when the FBI in 2016 tried to force Apple Inc. to unlock the iPhone of a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino, Calif. shooting.

Now, Director Christopher Wray and other senior officials are waging an intense campaign to turn that around. His new message to the private sector: The biggest national-security threats are from the Chinese government and the cyber arena. You are often the target, and to protect you we need your help.

The agency’s top cyber official, Bryan Vorndran, frequently tells cybersecurity experts that the FBI is trying to offer “Ritz Carlton-level customer service” to companies that report to the bureau when they are victims of a cyberattack, offering to fight with regulators and deal with the media on their behalf. Only through such cooperation, the bureau says, including trusting the FBI with sensitive corporate information, can the agency marshal an effective response.

The FBI is trying to convince companies of that. In the past, top Justice Department officials of both parties have centered their dialogue with business on wrongdoing, promising crackdowns on white-collar crime, excessive consolidation and serving China’s business interests.

Mr. Wray sees a new focus. “The more our folks are having conversations with the private sector, the more they are debunking myths about what it means to work for the FBI,” he said.

“Corporate America thought the whole reason the bureau wanted to foster these relationships was to look into insider trading or corrupt practices,” he said. wsj.com

Define the Business Case:
Rationalize the investment & demonstrate measurable value

CISO Role Undergoes Evolution as Jobs Grow More Complex
AdvertisementThe complexity and sophistication of threats means CISOs must be more proactive in identifying and mitigating risks and making the business case for investment in security.

Chief information security officers (CISOs) are being asked to not only protect the organization from threats, but also to help the business achieve its goals by leveraging technology and data in a secure way.

This shift in focus requires CISOs to have a better understanding of the business and to develop stronger communication and collaboration skills.

The CISO is already recognized for expertise in security program fundamentals, from infrastructure design and controls implementation to operations, threat detection and response.

Now a CISO must define a coherent business case for cybersecurity, which rationalizes investment in cybersecurity and demonstrates the measurable value of the program in terms that are recognizable to decision makers. informationweek.com

New Report Says ESXi Gang's New Version Prevents CISA & FBI's Script From Recovering
A fresh worldwide ransomware attack has novel, worrisome elements
We’re in the midst of another worldwide ransomware campaign that has prompted alerts from cybersecurity authorities in multiple countries in recent days. But it doesn’t appear to be as destructive as past campaigns.

So what gives?

The latest attacks — the less-flashy named “ESXiArgs” campaign — are believed to have infected at least 3,000 servers, but overall they seem to have caused much less chaos than past campaigns. There are a number of potential reasons for that, analysts say, from possible missteps from the attackers, to the experimental nature of this particular campaign, to few victims appearing to feel they need to pay because attacks didn’t necessarily hit vital systems.

The nature of the beast

The campaign, which began Friday according to France’s computer emergency response team, is named after the VMware ESXi software that it attacks. VMware is a cloud technology provider, and the ESXi software monitors virtual machines, which are also known as VMs. The vulnerability the attackers are targeting appears to be two years old, and a patch has been available since early 2021.

There are more than 3,800 victims

But a new version of the malware appears to be preventing the new CISA & FBI script, mentioned below, from recovering some files, Bleeping Computer's Lawrence Abrams reports.

New Reports Say New Version of the Malware The Script Below Prevents Recovery
CISA and FBI Release ESXiArgs Ransomware Recovery Guidance
Today, CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory, ESXiArgs Ransomware Virtual Machine Recovery Guidance. This advisory describes the ongoing ransomware campaign known as “ESXiArgs.” Malicious cyber actors may be exploiting known vulnerabilities in unpatched and out-of-service or out-of-date versions of VMware ESXi software to gain access to ESXi servers and deploy ESXiArgs ransomware. The ransomware encrypts configuration files on ESXi servers, potentially rendering virtual machines unusable.

As detailed in the advisory, CISA has created and released an ESXiArgs recovery script at https://github.com/cisagov/ESXiArgs-Recover

CISA and FBI encourage organizations that have fallen victim to ESXiArgs ransomware to consider using the script to attempt to recover their files. cisa.gov

Heads Up - Your C Suite May Get Swatted
Surge of swatting attacks targets corporate executives and board members

Swatters use data brokers and stolen information on the dark web to target C-suite and board members.

Removing personal information from the web is the best way to minimize this risk.

Swatting has affected many high-profile individuals, from Hollywood celebrities and music industry stars to political leaders and even cybersecurity journalists. Now, according to digital executive protection company BlackCloak, swatting incidents are reaching the top ranks of Fortune 500 companies, with unknown bad actors targeting C-suite executives and corporate board members.

The company is announcing today that over the last four months, its threat intelligence team has identified a surge in doxxing and swatting of executives, board members, and other high-profile persons. These incidents use information from the dark web, data broker information, company website "about the leadership team" pages, and property records. The recent attacks have been heavily focused on the healthcare, biomed, pharma, and esports gaming industries but have expanded in recent weeks to other sectors.

Regarding executive swatting, "We are seeing this with more frequency," Pierson says, and "the trend is unnerving." That is why BlackCloak is issuing a press release alerting corporate America to a phenomenon that his firm has seen accelerating over the past five or six weeks.

"I think it's become much more dangerous. And, we've been communicating privately with our relationship partners on the inside of the companies that this is now something about which everyone needs to be much more sensitized." csoonline.com

Apps like Telegram, WhatsApp & Discord are a hotbed of cybercrime and scams

Microsoft is about to retire Teams Free (classic). Here's what you need to know




NYC's Illegal Weed Shop Crackdown
Crackdown on illegal weed shops expands, as Manhattan DA asks landlords to evict violators
Mayor Eric Adams is teaming with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to crack down on illegal cannabis shops by using some new tactics. The city is seeking to leverage a little-used provision of New York’s Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law to get building landlords to evict store owners who sell marijuana without a license.

If the landlords do not take action, the NYC Sheriff’s Office will have the authority to take over the eviction proceedings.

The city has also filed four public nuisance complaints against East Village establishments that it alleges are selling marijuana products without a license — including to minors. Adams, Bragg and law enforcement announced the effort at a press conference on the Upper West Side Tuesday.

We won’t stop until every illegal smoke shop is rolled up and smoked out,” Adams said.

But that’s a big undertaking. Law enforcement officials discussed the nuisance abatement strategy at a City Council hearing on unlicensed cannabis shops last month. At the time, Sheriff Anthony Miranda made it clear to council members eager to eradicate the illegal pot shops that this tactic was unlikely to lead to stores being shut down right away.

The sheriff is leading the multi-agency taskforce Adams convened in December to address the recent explosion of stores selling marijuana without a license. The NYPD has counted more than 1,300 of these shops across the five boroughs.

The lawsuits, filed Tuesday by the city, targeted unlicensed cannabis shops located in lower Manhattan, the area where the state’s first two legal dispensaries recently opened their doors. gothamist.com

Security Training in the 'High-Risk' Cannabis Industry
High Risk Security Training in the Cannabis Industry
One of the most critical investments high-risk retail businesses should make is investment in the security training of their team members. All forms of businesses invest in their training programs, so why should high-risk retail be different?

Let’s start by clarifying what “high-risk” businesses are for the purposes of this article. These businesses operate high demand products or services where cash is the main form of payment inbound or outbound of the business. This includes cannabis, pawn, gambling, and jewelry. Due to the inherent nature of cash flow in these businesses, they are naturally at a higher risk for unethical activity. And some states (Oklahoma and Washington as examples) are experiencing critical incidents at these businesses at an alarming rate. Visit sapphirerisk.com to view all the products and services we have to offer high-risk businesses.

So why is security training a critical investment in these high-risk businesses? Proper training has been shown to dramatically improve productivity, performance, and morale in team members that state they have been “effectively trained” while reducing losses and inefficiencies throughout the businesses where advanced training has been a specific target. In businesses that naturally have a higher risk for incidents, it is imperative that team members know how to handle each situation that could potentially develop.

The solution to high-risk security training can be broken down into five main concepts:

1. Train relevant topics using relevant methods!
2. Be impactful with your training!
3. Training repetition!
4. Test for comprehension and understanding!
5. Motivate your team for Security success!

Legal Weed Coming to Florida?
Is Florida Finally Going to Legalize Recreational Weed?
For years, Florida cannabis groups and reform-minded legislators have tried — and failed — to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use in the state. In 2021, the Florida Supreme Court rejected two separate ballot proposals for vague or confusing language. The latest attempt to legalize recreational cannabis — known as the Smart & Safe Florida initiative — is now making its way towards the Florida Supreme Court after garnering enough signatures for judicial review.

This puts the state just a smidge closer to legalizing recreational weed. If given the green light by the high court justices, the measure would still need hundreds of thousands more signatures before officially making it onto ballot. The measure has been bankrolled by cannabis giant Trulieve, which has poured more than $20 million into it since last August.

If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, or perhaps a bit stoned, that’s because we’ve been here before.

Florida law requires proposed ballot initiatives to have about 223,000 voter signatures to qualify for review by the Florida Supreme Court and approximately 891,000 to get on the ballot. In judicial reviews of initiatives, the court evaluates whether a measure satisfies clarity requirements and the single subject rule, which ensures that the initiative is centered on one issue. cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

Pot is making people sick. Congress is playing catch-up.
Now that a growing body of evidence says marijuana is bad for you, more regulation is in the offing.

The Maryland General Assembly takes its first step toward cannabis regulation. Here’s what’s in the new bill.





E-Commerce Fraud is a Global Problem
Australian losses to online marketplace fraud increase as scams become increasingly sophisticated

Consumer groups say online platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree need to do more to keep customers safe

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says overall reported scams from classified ads are down – but the amount scammers are stealing through these methods is up. Last year, Australians lost $8,465,443 to classified scams, but many go unreported.

“In 2022 there was a 37% reduction in classified and online shopping scams reported when compared to 2021,” an ACCC spokesperson said. “Total losses from such scams however have increased by 5%. This indicates that while these scams are impacting less people, those impacted are on average suffering greater losses than in the prior year.”

A cyber security expert at Avast, Stephen Kho, said this was because the scams were becoming more sophisticated. “What we are seeing is the level of sophistication is going up. Initially, it was just a lot of phishing emails, SMS, and voice mails,” Kho said.

“We’re increasingly seeing really sophisticated scams. Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and other trading platforms are all affected.”

As more Australians become aware of common scams, the level of sophistication – including tactics to build rapport and manipulate potential customers – is increasing as scammers find new ways to steal money, he said.

“These scammers are tricking people that previously would be like ‘I’m not going to click on this’,” Kho said.

The incoming chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, Stephanie Tonkin, said buy-and-sell companies needed to do more to keep customers safe. theguardian.com

The E-Commerce Cool-Off Continues
Amazon scales back cargo flying as demand cools, contractor says

Air Transport Services Group said Amazon will be flying less in response to a worsening economic outlook.

One of Amazon’s key air cargo operators said Monday that the e-commerce giant is scaling back on flights this year, citing lower demand and slower economic growth.

Air Transport Services Group, which runs a significant portion of Amazon’s air cargo fleet, said it expects to operate Boeing 767 freighters dedicated to servicing Amazon and DHL at reduced schedules and less flight time per aircraft.

“Both companies are adjusting their ground and air distribution and fulfillment networks in the United States to conform to reduced U.S. economic growth and consumer spending levels in the first half of 2023,” ATSG said.

Air cargo rates, which surged in recent years due to port congestion and high demand for fast deliveries, have slumped. The Baltic Air Freight Index was down more than 33% on Jan. 30 from a year earlier. The International Air Transport Association said last month that air cargo demand in November was down nearly 14% from the year-ago period, while capacity fell 1.9%.

Meanwhile, passenger airlines have said travel demand has held up as consumers prioritize trips and other experiences. cnbc.com

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Mt. Pleasant, SC: Suspects break through brick wall in Mt. Pleasant Costco theft
Mount Pleasant Police are investigating a Sunday theft after they say thousands of dollars worth of iPads were stolen from a Costco. Officers responded to 3525 Park Avenue Blvd. just before 1 a.m. in connection to a burglary alarm. While driving over, the alarm company told officers they saw someone inside the merchandise pick-up area near the electronics and jewelry. The alarm company also advised that someone had broken in through the exterior brick wall, according to the incident report. When police arrived, they found the wall and set up a perimeter. Investigators then made their way inside the merchandise pick-up area and began reviewing the surveillance video, which showed two suspects, the report states. Sgt. Ashley Croy says it is unknown exactly how many iPads were stolen, but the devices’ approximate value is $16,000. As of now, it is believed the suspects may have used a sledgehammer to break through the wall, according to Croy. No arrests have been made.  live5news.com

Vacaville, CA: Suspects arrested after more than $12K worth of alcohol stolen in Vacaville smash and grab
A group of suspects who hit a Vacaville BevMo! store and allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of alcohol have been arrested. Vacaville police say the burglary happened just after 2 a.m. Monday. Officers responded to the scene within minutes of getting a door break alarm. They then found that someone had shattered the front door and made off with a lot of merchandise. Police say 123 brand-new bottles of different kinds of alcohol – worth more than $12,500 in total – were found in the suspects' vehicle.  cbsnews.com

Tigard, OR: 14 arrested, $4,000 in merchandise recovered in Washington Square shoplifting sweep
Tigard Police say they have arrested 14 people and recovered more than $4,000 in merchandise after a shoplifting enforcement sweep on Saturday. On February 4 the shoplifting sweep was simultaneously held at three stores in the Washington Square area. Plainclothes detectives, patrol officers, and loss prevention employees worked to find and apprehend shoplifting suspects. 14 arrests were made during the operation, and investigators recovered more than $4,000 in merchandise, shoplifting tools, and some blue pills they said were likely fentanyl. In photos provided by police, some of the recovered merchandise includes jackets, slide sandals, blankets, workout powder mix, and a Nespresso machine.  katu.com

Chesterfield County, VA: Police searching for Ulta Beauty perfume-stealing suspects
Police in Chesterfield are on the lookout for two suspects accused of stealing fragrance items from a local Ulta Beauty store. Police said the two men were caught on camera stealing high-value fragrance items from the store on Route 1 in the Chester area. The incident occurred on Jan. 24 around 10:20 a.m. wric.com

Edmonton, AL, Canada: At least $55K worth of collectibles stolen in Leduc hockey card heist

British Columbia, Canada: Autographed Wayne Gretzky jersey valued at $10K stolen from Kelowna, B.C., store

Brooklyn, NY: 2 wanted in more than $1,000 theft from Foot Locker store

Ocala, FL: Man with five prior theft convictions arrested for shoplifting at Walmart

Pickaway County, OH: Not Allowed at Walmart, Circleville Man Arrested for Theft at Walmart, long history of priors

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Shootings & Deaths

Fort Wayne, IN: Police arrest juvenile after man found dead in C-store; suspect faces murder charge
Officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) arrested an unnamed juvenile Wednesday in connection to a man found dead inside a convenience store in southeast Fort Wayne. The FWPD’s Homicide Unit took the juvenile into custody without incident. Around 4:53 p.m. Tuesday, authorities responded to the One Stop convenience store at 1232 E. Creighton Ave. near the intersection of Creighton and Bowser avenues and found an adult male not breathing and without a pulse. Upon arrival, EMS officials pronounced the man dead at the scene. The FWPD said the victim’s name and cause of death will be released by the Allen County Coroner’s Office at a later date. wane.com

Monroe, LA: Suspect arrested in Gas Station shooting, faces second degree murder charge
According to authorities, officers were dispatched to NowSave on Winnsboro Road in reference to a shooting. Three total people were found by officers to have been shot, with one being pronounced dead at the scene Surveillance footage shows an individual exiting the store following a verbal altercation with the victim. The individual went to get his brother, Johnson, from their vehicle in front of the store. In the video, Johnson appeared to walk to the front of the store and swing at the victim. thenewsstar.com

Garland, TX: Update: Capital Murder Trial Begins for Father of Fugitive Teen Accused of Murdering Three at Garland Convenience Store
A capital murder trial is underway for the father of a teenager who gunned down three teens in a Garland convenience store in December 2021. Neither prosecutors nor the defense dispute Abel Acosta, who is now 15 years old and still on the run, is the killer. Dallas County jurors, however, must decide if Abel’s father who was with him just as guilty. Testimony began Tuesday morning and included graphic police body camera and surveillance video of the bloody and chaotic aftermath on December 26, 2021. By all accounts, Abel Acosta pulled the trigger that night. Abel’s father, Richard Acosta Junior is on trial for capital murder, accused of helping his son carry out the deadly ambush by driving him to the store and being his getaway driver. nbcdfw.com

Murrieta, CA: Update: Two Women Convicted of Killing Casino Visitor During Robbery
Two women who robbed and fatally assaulted a senior at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula were convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder and other offenses. A Murrieta jury deliberated two hours before finding Candace Tai Townsell, 42, and Kimesha Monae Williams, 38, both of Moreno Valley, guilty of the 2019 slaying of 84-year-old Afaf Anis Assad of Long Beach. Along with the murder count, jurors convicted the pair of robbery and elder abuse, as well as a special circumstance allegation of killing during the course of a robbery, with sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegations. Testimony lasted for nearly a month, with closing statements by the prosecution and defense on Tuesday. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer ordered jurors to return to the Southwest Justice Center Wednesday morning to begin deliberations. A sentencing date for the defendants was pending. Both women are expected to receive life in prison without the possibility of parole. nbcpalmsprings.com

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

New York, NY: Knife held to worker's throat in $12K robbery, 4 sought
A robbery crew is being sought by police after a Manhattan store was robbed last week of approximately $12,000 in electronics and cash, and a worker had a knife held to his throat. According to police, four males walked into the Stop N' Fix iPhone Repair store at 100 Clinton St. around 4 p.m. last Thursday. A knife-wielding duo then forced their way behind the counter, and one held a knife to the victim's throat, demanding money and property. The individual then removed a wallet, keys and a cell phone from him. A third thief used a hammer to break a display case and removed various electronics, police said. The crew then fled with the electronics and cash. There were no reported physical injuries as a result. audacy.com

Oakland, CA: Popular Oakland baker fights for life following Angel Cakes robbery
Jennifer Angel, the founder of Angel Cakes, a nearly-seven-year-old Oakland bakery, is fighting for her life today after a robbery gone wrong in Uptown Oakland. At present, she remains in “grave” condition, police told The Oaklandside Wednesday, and those close to her say it will be “several days” before it’s known if she will recover. Angel, a former book publicist, began her career as a cupcake maker in 2008. Baking “is by far the most pleasurable job I’ve ever had,” she told East Bay Nosh in 2016, and she turned that passion into a successful business when she opened Angel Cakes. Angel was running errands for her business on Monday, including a stop at the Wells Fargo branch near Webster and 21st streets, her fiance, Ocean Mottley, told the San Francisco Chronicle. According to a spokesperson with the Oakland Police Department, around 12:30 that afternoon, “an individual broke into” Angel’s car while she was in it and stole an item from her, then ran back “to a waiting vehicle.” Angel jumped out of her car and gave chase, police said. “While the victim struggled for their belongings, they were knocked to the ground and sustained injuries.  oaklandside.org

Boston, MA: 2 McDonald’s employees injured after robbery attempt at drive-through window
Police were called to a McDonald’s in Roslindale Tuesday night after a suspect tried to rob the restaurant through a drive-through window. At 8:47 p.m. Tuesday, Boston Police responded to the McDonald’s located at 718 American Legion Highway in Roslindale, a department spokesperson confirmed. At the drive-through window, a suspect reached their hands into the building and attempted to grab money from a cash register. It is unclear if the suspect walked up to the window or drove, police said. No money was stolen, but two employees were injured. One was punched in the head, and another cut their hand on broken glass during the exchange, police said.  boston.com

Fargo, ND: Jewelry store security guard thwarts attempted robbery in Fargo
Fargo Police responded to a report of an attempted robbery at Gunderson’s Jewelry store, in the 5600 block of 28th Avenue South. The call came in at 10:30am. It was reported that several individuals approached the business, with one of the suspects displaying a gun. The on-site security guard was able to lock the doors before any of the suspects made it inside the store. They then quickly returned to a dark colored, four door-sedan and fled southbound on Veterans Boulevard.  news.prairiepublic.org

Honolulu, HI: Authorities in Hawaii say burglars broke into a car dealership this week and took several cars and multiple keys
KHNL reports the Excellent Motor Group dealership was broken into on Monday night. Ron and Maggie Zhang, owners of the used car dealership, said they believe the break-in happened around midnight, and they are worried whoever did it could steal more cars. The thieves reportedly smashed through an office door. ransacked the business, stole five vehicles and took multiple folders that contained more than 100 keys. According to the car dealership, a Ford F-150, an Acura TLX, a Nissan Frontier, a Mercedes-Benz and another Ford truck were stolen.  wdtv.com

Couple says Starbucks charged them nearly $4,500 for 2 cups of coffee
A couple in Oklahoma says they were charged more than $4,000 for two cups of coffee at their neighborhood Starbucks. Jesse and Deedee O’Dell said their tab for two coffees is normally around $10 but this time they were charged $4,456.27 on Jan. 7. According to Deedee O’Dell, she noticed the charge a couple of days later while she was at the mall with her four children. She happened to use the same card to purchase something in a store and to her surprise, it was declined. The couple said they discovered that Starbucks had charged a $4,444.44 gratuity on top of their coffee order. Jesse O’Dell said he contacted the Starbucks district manager regarding the incident and was told that there was an issue with the network. The couple said that Starbucks sent them two checks equaling the total gratuity amount, but when they tried to deposit the checks into their account they bounced. “We contacted their {Starbucks] customer service helpline probably 30 to 40 times that day,” Jesse O’Dell said. “We got a call from a representative who said they are sending new checks. But as of today, we still have not received checks.” According to the couple, they have filed a report with the Tulsa Police Department regarding the incident A representative with Starbucks said the company is aware of the situation and attributed the incident to possible human error. According to the company, the team has been in communication with the couple who should be receiving new checks in the mail.  live5news.com

Huntsville, AL: Councilman Devyn Keith accused of shoplifting at 3 Walmart’s 31 times

Oakland, CA: City of Oakland will let shops fortify themselves against car crashes and smash robberies



Auto – Honolulu, HI - Burglary
Bakery – Oakland, CA – Robbery
C-Store – Orange, CA – Burglary
C-Store – Bedford County, VA – Burglary
C-Store – Fort Worth, TX – Armed Robbery
C-Store – Milton-Freewater, OR – Robbery
C-Store- Penfield, NY – Burglary
C-Store – Pocatello, ID – Armed Robbery
Cellphone – New York, NY – Armed Robbery
Clothing – Brooklyn, NY - Robbery
Costco – Mt Pleasant, SC - Burglary
Dollar – Jasper County, TX – Burglary
Guns – Louisville, KY – Burglary
Jewelry – Fargo, ND – Armed Robbery
• Jewelry - Kansas City, KS - Burglary
Liquor – Vacaville, CA – Burglary
Pets- Cincinnati, OH – Burglary
Restaurant – Boston, MA – Armed Robbery (McDonalds)
Restaurant – New Hanover County, NC - Armed Robbery (Burger King)
Walmart – Ocala, FL – Robbery
Walmart - Pickaway County, OH - Robbery


Daily Totals:
• 11 robberies
• 10 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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