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Julie Lawson, LPC, Joins the Loss Prevention Foundation as Director of Operations and Partnerships

The Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) is pleased to announce that Julie Lawson, LPC, has joined the Foundation as its new Director of Operations and Partnerships.

Julie has a wealth of experience as both a retail loss prevention and solution provider professional, which will help shape this new role at LPF. Her initial focus will be continuing to build upon LPF's existing relationships with its retail, solution provider, and industry partners. During her time in the LP industry, Julie has earned a well-deserved reputation as a detail oriented and trusted advisor with in-depth knowledge of the loss prevention/asset protection industry including ORC, safety, risk management, supply chain, and operations.

Read more here

See All the LP Executives 'Moving Up' Here  |  Submit Your New Corporate Hires/Promotions or New Position







In Case You Missed It

Strengthen Retail & Law Enforcement Alliances at NRF PROTECT

Experience the NRF Fusion Center at NRF PROTECT, happening June 4-6 in Long Beach, Calif.

What is the NRF Fusion Center?

  • The NRF Fusion Center is the central command center for retailers to connect with law enforcement at the federal, state and local level as well as mall security and organized retail crime associations.

How can you take advantage of it?

  • Connect and Collaborate: Share valuable information, pose questions and foster stronger relationships with colleagues interested in your organization's protection.

  • Strategic Discussions: Get new insights and tools to counter retail theft, fraud, cybersecurity threats and enterprise risk issues.

  • Interactive Demos: Check out K-9 demonstrations by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Experience the NRF Fusion Center for free!

  • Get access to the NRF Fusion Center, 220 solution providers, Exhibitor Big Ideas Sessions and networking events like the NRF PROTECT Opening Party when you register for a Free Expo Pass.


The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

C-Stores & Gas Stations Made Up 4.5% of All Violent Crime in 2022
Convenience Store Operators Grapple With Rising Crime

According to the FBI, 4.5% of all reported violent crime in 2022 took place at a gas station or convenience store.

In the convenience channel today,
retail crime, violence and theft are impacting the industry at unprecedented levels. National crime statistics from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed that robberies alone increased 1.3% across the country in 2022. Looking specifically at the convenience store industry, c-stores and gas stations combined were the site of 13.8% of robberies that year. According to the FBI, 4.5% of all reported violent crime in 2022 took place at a gas station or convenience store.

The National Retail Federation's "2023 Retail Securing Survey" reported that the average shrink rate for the 2022 fiscal year increased 1.6%, up from 1.4% for the 2021 fiscal year. When applied to NACS' 2022 "State of the Industry" data, where industry dollar sales were calculated at $906.1 billion, this represented
a c-store industry loss of more than $40 million every day.

In the face of these statistics, convenience store retailers should take a multipronged approach to mitigating potential crime. The best first line of defense is to
provide comprehensive training to employees that includes prevention and safety measures, as well as guidance on how to respond if a robbery occurs. This training should take place early in the onboarding process, ideally in an employee's first three to five shifts.

Operational training and
keeping an orderly store can deter theft as well, according to Strasburger, who believes that one of the best measures convenience store operators and their store employees can take against shoplifting is ensuring shelves are stocked properly and items are front-faced so that it's obvious when something is taken off the shelf.

Some other simple measures are
keeping windows clean, so nothing obstructs the line of sight to outside the store; making sure displays are where they're supposed to be and keeping aisles clear; and checking that surveillance cameras are functioning correctly.

The Role of Technology: csnews.com

Fighting Crime in C-Stores
Tackling Retail Crime With Store Design

C-store retailers should be data-driven in their efforts to assess the problem of shrink within their operations.

Shoplifting is becoming a bigger problem in retail overall, leading some big names to
shutter some stores in high-crime areas, and convenience store chains are not immune to this epidemic.

So, what can be done to deter theft and crime? Owens points to
store design as one piece of the equation, but it's important to remember that effectively combating shrink involves a lot more than the store itself.

Convenience retailers who want to quantify the problem, whether chainwide or store-by-store,
should run internal investigations, commission third-party studies by loss-prevention experts and do deep dives into security footage to come to the table with actual data.

As c-store executives engage with their designers on new or redeveloped stores, they should discuss a few basic, orienting questions from the outset, such as:

1. What more could be done to fight shrink by adjusting basic elements such as
layout, customer flow, shelf height, mirrors, lighting and the placement of gondolas, merchandise and security cameras?

2. What items are highest on the priority list of would-be thieves? What are the highest-value items in that store?
How can you protect them without creating excessive waits and headaches for customers?

3. How is the overall approach to security going to work in terms of
technology platforms, personnel, alarm systems, etc.?

The Self-Checkout Conundrum csnews.com

Shoplifting in Florida Has Dropped 30% Since 2019
"We will not tolerate retail crime ... and the lawlessness that they allow in California & New York."

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Action to Eliminate Retail Theft
Governor Ron DeSantis announced proposed legislative action to curb the growing nationwide uptick of retail theft and porch piracy. In 2022, retailers across the country lost $112 billion to retail theft, with sharp increases in major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
In Florida, shoplifting has decreased by 30% since Governor DeSantis first took office.

"If you commit a crime in Florida, you are going to be held accountable," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "
We will not tolerate retail crime, porch pirates and the lawlessness that they allow in California and New York."

In high-crime states like New York, retailers lost more than $4 billion, while
shoplifting has increased by 63% in New York City alone. To combat this growing problem and to ensure it does not come to Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is building on previous actions by proposing the following:

Third degree felony if you commit retail theft with five or more individuals.
Second degree felony if criminals use social media to solicit others to participate in retail theft.
First degree felony if an individual commits retail theft with a firearm or has already had two or more prior convictions of retail theft.
Reducing the stolen property value necessary to charge criminals with a felony for stealing delivered packages. flgov.com

UK's 'Project Pegasus' to Fight Surge in Shoplifting
Strategies for safeguarding retailers in challenging times

Recent data paints a concerning picture of shoplifting offences across England and Wales, with rates reaching their highest levels in two decades.

Crime statistics

According to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, there were over
402,000 recorded offences by Police in the year to September 2023, a significant increase from the previous 12 months' 304,459 incidents.

In October 2023, reports came in of shoplifting hitting another record
high of 1,000 offences a day. A significant proportion of this is down to the value of internal theft by employees working in distribution centres and stores.

Government response

While it's commonly assumed the surge in shoplifting is a direct result of the cost-of-living crisis, evidence suggests otherwise. Approximately
two-thirds of individuals stealing from local shops are repeat offenders, some with ties to organised crime.

Action is being taken to combat the rise. In October last year, the government
launched an "action plan to tackle shoplifting" after increased pressure from businesses.

Known as Project Pegasus, this is a business and policing partnership that is intended to "radically improve the way retailers can share intelligence with policing, to better understand the tactics used by organised retail crime gangs and identify more offenders." This includes the development of a new information-sharing platform and training for retailers.

Need for security industry action: ifsecglobal.com

Retail Response to Time Square Store Shooting
Business Leaders See Signs of Change Despite Times Square Store Shooting
While the New York City Police Department was continuing to search for a 15-year-old suspect who shot a tourist Thursday night in a Times Square
JD Sports store, two business-minded executives spoke of initiatives that have improved public safety in the neighborhood.

Times Square has a dedicated 137-person NYPD unit and two police precincts - Midtown North and Midtown South - within its borders and the police presence was slightly greater Friday, according to Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, which houses about 600 retailers. He described the shooting as "an unfortunate incident.

Harris said
there have not been any other shootings in a Times Square store this year. In addition, the NYPD revealed Thursday that a police unit is being assigned to increase patrols around theaters.

crime rates and the conditions on the street have improved "dramatically" in the past three to four months, Blair said. Last year Midtown South robberies decreased by nearly 32 percent and burglaries were down by 38.2 percent compared to 2022, according to NYPD statistics. In addition, the annual rates for murder and rape declined by 62.5 and 39.1 percent, respectively. Petit larcenies, however, increased by 17.6 percent in the precinct.

"We're on the right track. There's a lot that's being done with the police. One of the problems that we have is with the
courts that don't [always] lead to prosecution even when [some] people have [committed] multiple violations, crimes and summonses," Blair said. "It's not the police because [the robbers are sometimes] getting arrested over and over again. The judges are not holding them even in some cases where the district attorney has attempted to hold some of them."

Blair said that she and "a bunch of Midtown BIDs" [Business Improvement Districts] are
advocating to state officials for legislation related to involuntary removal from the street, if someone is a harm to themselves or others.  ca.news.yahoo.com

Simple Theft Solution That Could Be Adopted Nationwide?
Beyond self-checkout: Walmart and Target take on retail theft

Both retailers have struggled with how to handle rising cases of retail theft and people trying to cheat at self-checkout.

Many retailers check to see if certain
customers have a pattern of not scanning expensive items at self-checkout or leaving a few items on the bottom of their cart.

It's a challenge even for large retailers like Walmart and Target because
even though they have loss prevention departments, they don't have their own police force. Neither retailer fully shares the steps it takes to prevent shoplifting and retail theft, but in some cases, store employees get the police involved.

new program being tested by smaller retailers in the Bronx, N.Y., may actually have a solution to at least some of the retail theft problem plaguing both chains.

Small retailers try a basic tech solution

A new program being tested in the Bronx allows small retailers to
use WhatsApp instead of calling 911 to communicate with the police. Retailers can upload photos and videos of shoplifters swiping merchandise in real-time. While the pilot is only weeks old, Bronx business owners say that having direct access to officers has already resulted in arrests."

Police can use the channel to identify theft patterns and find people who are exceeding the standard from a misdemeanor to a felony.
It's a simple solution that could easily be applied at Target and Walmart locations. thestreet.com

Thieves Encouraged by 'No Consequences'
Retail chain CEO warns on 'brazen' theft after cameras show thieves stealing goods
The CEO of a major retail company has called on local governments to enact stronger consequences against shoplifters as retail theft continues to run rampant.

Tom Anderson, CEO of The Paper Store
, has claimed retail theft has turned into organized criminal activity, making the shoplifters a lot of money at the expense of retailers. Anderson told the outlet that The Paper Store locations in Massachusetts alone have been targeted by thieves at least 17 times in the past month.

They know there's really no consequences to their actions, so they don't have to rush. They don't have to hide it," he said.

In order to combat the theft, the CEO explained that
his company has had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to protect their products with high resolution security cameras and locking security measures. While he indicated he is attempting to help local law enforcement identify the perpetrators, it is not enough.

"I think
the state needs to work aggressively on this," Anderson said.

David Johnston, the NRF Vice President for Asset Protection and Retail Operations, has warned the situation "is only becoming more dire."  Ryan Kearny, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, revealed to WBZ-TV that theft in Boston alone is up around 12%.

"The more as we treat this as a non-issue, the more brazen folks become," he told the outlet,
calling for stricter laws. the-sun.com

Card networks to implement gun code in California: report
Visa, Mastercard and American Express are moving forward with use of a new gun merchant category code for credit card purchases in California, according to CBS News.

Michigan to enforce gun safety storage law following mass shootings

More than 40 violent crimes reported over the weekend in Minneapolis


The Future of AI & Retail
How Generative AI Is Redefining Business Strategy and Brand Experience

Industry leaders share insights on the transformative potential of generative AI in retail, from improving customer experience to optimizing operational efficiency.

Retail and brand leaders are
learning how to transform their businesses with AI technology, as reported in the prior WWD article series on generative AI. From customer engagement and experience to improving employee productivity and managing workflows, generative AI has the potential to drive conversions and improve operational efficiencies.

Goals and expected outcomes

Sudip Mazumder, senior vice president and retail industry lead of North America at Publicis Sapient said retail leaders need to
assess the readiness of their data infrastructure. As that infrastructure is evaluated, executive decision-makers must also assess human capital needs before implementation.

A "strategic imperative"

Howard Meitiner, former chief executive officer of Sephora who is now managing director at Carl Marks Advisors, told WWD that while the investment costs for mid-market retailers may seem high,
investing in AI "is a non-negotiable strategic imperative because it is at the very heart of future retail success and competitiveness."

Better brand experiences

Tom Ajello, senior partner for experience, innovation and engineering at global creative consultancy Lippincott, has recently worked with retailers and brands to help with AI and digital strategies, and cites Walmart, Coach, Sephora and The Body Shop as former clients. Ajello told WWD that investing in generative AI is more than a strategic decision; "it's a declaration of leadership in the new era of retail. It's about setting a course for a future where
technology amplifies creativity, enriches human connections and redefines the essence of brand experience."  yahoo.com

Could More Retailers Choose Tablets Over Self-Check?
Why Build-A-Bear is pushing checkouts to tablets

The tools let associates better serve and personalize shopper journeys while providing customers with faster checkout options.

Build-A-Bear Workshop has implemented in-store tablets that
benefit the experience for associates and shoppers alike. The tablets let employees offer greater personalization and create convenient checkout opportunities for customers, according to Dara Meath, chief technology officer at Build-A-Bear. They also let people look up loyalty information anywhere in the store.

Freeing up employees from the register helps them become part of the store's community, according to Meath. Associates can proactively assist customers from the moment a customer enters a store, rather than waiting until they're approached. retaildive.com

Keys to Attracting Gen Z Workers
What Gen Z Wants from Employers

Work/life balance, good pay and concern for the environment are most important to this group of workers.

"Gen Zs and millennials are
striving for better work/life balance," says Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Deputy CEO and Chief People and Purpose Officer, in a statement. "They are also values-driven, concerned about the environment, the state of the world, and the future they see developing ahead of them. They're looking for employers who can help empower them to make a difference. Organizations that actively listen and help address their needs and concerns will improve business resiliency and implement actionable change in our world."  ehstoday.com

Express Prepares for Debt Restructuring and Possible Bankruptcy Within Weeks
Apparel retailer Express is preparing for a debt restructuring that could include filing for bankruptcy within weeks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The Ohio-based retailer has hired restructuring adviser M3 and law firm Kirkland & Ellis to consider how to restructure nearly $280 million of debt amid declining sales, said the people.

Nominations Open: CSA's Retail's Top Women Awards

Did Super Bowl LVIII's Commercials Deliver?

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Operational Analytics: Turn Your Video Security
Into a Business Tool Using AI

Operational Analytics for OpenEye Web Services detects the complex behaviors of customers, staff, vehicles, and objects, giving you access to advanced operational intelligence.

See how Operational Analytics gives you advanced AI tools to make your business more efficient:

Get more accurate people counts

Easily exclude employees from the main retail entrance count and view a report at the end of the day.

Stay on top of customer service

Analyze how long customers are waiting before being helped and get notified in real time.

Maximize returns from sales initiatives

Aggregate data on in-store merchandise and sales engagement to improve customer experience.

Identify trends for occupancy with 360-degree heat-mapping

Monitor and track customer journey as well as areas with significant dwell times throughout your store.

Learn More







C-Suite Execs & Corporate Clouds Under Attack
Ongoing Azure Compromises Target Senior Execs, Microsoft 365 Apps

Attackers are breaching cloud environments and playing games with corporate Microsoft 365 apps, and further victims are likely to come.

Dozens of environments and hundreds of individual user accounts have already been compromised in an ongoing campaign targeting Microsoft Azure corporate clouds.

The activity is in some ways scattershot - involving
data exfiltration, financial fraud, impersonation, and more, against organizations in a wide variety of geographic regions and industry verticals - but also very honed, with tailor-made phishing directed at highly strategic individuals along the corporate ladder.

Corporate Cloud Compromise

The ongoing activity dates back at least a few months to November, when researchers first spotted suspicious emails containing shared documents. The documents typically use individualized phishing lures and, often, embedded links that redirect to malicious phishing pages. The
goal in each case is to obtain Microsoft 365 login credentials.

What stands out is the diligence with which the attacks target different, variously
leverageable employees within organizations.

Some targeted accounts, for instance, belong to
those with titles such as account manager and finance manager - the kinds of mid-level positions likely to have access to valuable resources or, at least, provide a base for further impersonation attempts higher up the chain.

Other attacks
aim straight for the head: vice presidents, CFOs, presidents, CEOs.

Clouds Gather: Cyber Fallout for Organizations

To defend against these potential outcomes, Proofpoint recommends that
organizations pay close attention to potential initial access attempts and account takeovers - particularly a Linux user-agent that the researchers have identified as an indicator of compromise (IoC). Organizations should also enforce strict password hygiene for all corporate cloud users and employ auto-remediation policies to limit any potential damage in a successful compromise. darkreading.com

AI is Making Cybercrime Easier
Protecting against AI-enhanced email threats
Generative AI based on large language models (LLMs) has become
a valuable tool for individuals and businesses, but also cybercriminals. Its ability to process large amounts of data and quickly generate results has contributed to its widespread adoption.

AdvertisementAI in the hands of cybercriminals

According to a report from Abnormal Security, generative AI
(GenAI) is likely behind the significant uptick in the volume and sophistication of email attacks on organizations, with 80% of security leaders stating that their organizations have already fallen victims to AI-generated email attacks.

Even though humans are still better at crafting effective phishing emails, AI is still immensely helpful to cyber crooks:
even less-skilled hackers can use it to easily craft credible and customized emails, with no grammar and spelling mistakes, nonsensical requests, etc.

It also
allows phishers to seamlessly widen the pool of prospective victims to include speakers of languages they themselves don't speak. Combined with AI-driven bots, AI-generated phishing emails can be distributed to a massive number of recipients in a short time span.

AI has also given cybercriminals
the ability to perfect business email compromise (BEC) scams and spear-phishing attacks by adding deepfakes: a powerful weapon capable of fooling a larger number of recipients and evade detection by traditional email security systems.

Boosting email security with AI

But cybercriminals are not the only ones benefiting from the evolution of AI. In the hands of security practitioners,
AI can be a powerful tool that can help protect organizations from sophisticated threats. helpnetsecurity.com

CISA releases 2024 priorities for the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Monday released the 2024 priorities for the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative,
an operational-focused government and private collaborative which has faced recent criticism.

The announcement of three broad priorities will mark an alignment of "resources and strategic direction." In the coming year, the JCDC will focus on:
defending against advanced persistent threat (APT) operations, raising baseline protections for critical infrastructure owners and operators, and anticipating emerging technology and risks.

"These priorities will further expand the breadth and depth of our partnership to tackle more challenging, forward-leaning cyber risks that could evolve in the future, not just the immediate risks," Clayton Romans, associate director at CISA, wrote in an accompanying blog post. "To be clear, JCDC in this context is not a specific team or organization;
it represents the collective group of industry and government partners drawn together to drive positive change for our nation's cybersecurity."  cyberscoop.com

Global malicious activity targeting elections is skyrocketing

Middle East Cybersecurity Teams Want More Budget



RCC Retail Secure Conference | March 21, 2024 | The International Centre

Violence, vandalism, and retail theft have reached a tipping point. How can retail businesses take action to protect their frontline workers and customers? Retail Council of Canada's Retail Secure Conference is bringing leading experts on these crucial topics to its mainstage. Save $100 with early bird rates until February 21. Don't miss out!


Protecting Canadian Employees from Dangerous Workplaces
Canadian Employers Take a Proactive Approach to Workplace Safety
Managers and supervisors in Canada have
shifted to a proactive approach to protect workers from injuries and illness on the job, experts say.

"An effective health and safety program
starts with an employer's commitment to workplace health and safety," said Monica Curtis, a health and safety consultant at Workplace Safety and Prevention Services in Hamilton, Ontario.

That commitment includes
training on health and safety and working with the relevant committees, as well as responding to a worker's refusal to perform unsafe work.

Health and Safety Training

Canadian managers, supervisors and workers-regardless of experience or job role-must undergo health and
safety awareness training immediately upon hire and every year afterward, said Michelle Ann Zoleta, health and safety manager at Peninsula Canada in Toronto.
Safety Committees

Occupational health and safety laws vary by province. Employers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario that regularly employ 20 or more workers
must establish a health and safety committee, while employers in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are required to form a committee once they hire their 10th worker.

Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

Employees in Canada can refuse to perform work if they have reason to believe the task is unsafe or dangerous to themselves or others, according to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, a government agency.  shrm.org

Canada Steps Up Anti-Crime Funding
The Government of Canada invests in crime prevention in Prince George
Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, President of the King's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada and His Worship Simon Yu, Mayor of Prince George, announced
a federal investment of more than $1.8 million to prevent gun crime and gang violence in Prince George.

This investment will help address the root causes of crime by
supporting community-led projects for young people involved in gangs or at risk of joining them - helping them set themselves up for success in life. Investing in crime prevention is part of the Government of Canada's plan to keep Canadians safe.

We are also
securing our borders and fighting gun smuggling. To that end, we have invested nearly a half billion dollars and further strengthened our cooperation with the United States.

As well, we
banned over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms and implemented a freeze on the sale, purchase and transfer of handguns.

The Government of Canada will continue to put in place
robust measures to keep Canadians safe. canada.ca

Record Surge in Canadian Insolvencies
Businesses and Consumers Battle Rising Costs Amid Economic Turmoil
Citing data from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB), the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) said business insolvencies in Canada surged by 41.4 per cent in 2023 compared to the previous year, the sharpest increase in 36 years of records from the Office.

It said
business insolvency filings rose 34.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter, and more than doubled (51.6 per cent) compared to the same quarter of 2022.

Consumer insolvencies in 2023 rose 23 per cent, the highest rate of increase since 2009, highlighting the increasing financial pressures faced by Canadians. An average of about 337 Canadians filed for insolvency each day in 2023, over 123,000 consumer insolvencies for the year.

In the fourth quarter of 2023,
consumer insolvencies increased 4.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Consumer insolvency filings grew 22.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the same quarter of 2022. retail-insider.com

In-Store Shopping Booms in Ottawa
Ottawa's retail vacancy rate hits new low as population grows, development slows
Ottawa's retail
vacancy rate fell to its lowest level on record in 2023 as in-store shopping boomed in the city's fast-growing suburbs and soaring construction costs dampened the pace of new store builds, a major real estate brokerage says.

Marcus & Millichap said this week the
vacancy rate for retail space in the nation's capital is expected to drop another tenth of a percentage point to about 1.5 per cent this year, "making Ottawa one of the tightest retail markets in 2024."

In its 2024 Canada investment forecast released this week, the brokerage said population growth
fuelled by immigration and new residents from other parts of the country "continues to expand Ottawa's consumer base." That, combined with the region's relatively stable economy, is ratcheting up the pressure on retail tenants looking for space, the company added. obj.ca

Vancouver's Retail Landscape Thrives: Economic Growth, Tech Boom, & Tourism Fuel Expansion

Ontario calls for harsher sentences, better border checks ahead of auto-theft summit

Shooting outside Laval restaurant injures South Shore businessman

At least 13 shots were fired through the windows of the victim's Mercedes.

A 33-year-old man survived an attempt on his life Friday afternoon after several shots were fired toward his vehicle while he was
parked outside a mall in a busy shopping district in Laval.

Laval police spokesperson Stéphanie Beshara said the man was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
The shooting occurred outside a restaurant on de l'Avenir Blvd., near the corner of St-Martin Blvd. W.

victim is reportedly a South Shore businessman who owns a used-car company. The man has no criminal record, but a person tied to his company through a civil lawsuit was charged with motor vehicle theft at the Montreal courthouse in 2022. The charge was withdrawn last year. montrealgazette.com

2 charged in shooting investigation outside London, Ont. jewelry store
London, Ont., police charged two suspects and identified a third in a shooting investigation stemming from an incident in a southwest parking lot. The investigation began on July 27, 2022, when police were called to a parking lot at the corner of Wonderland Road South and Teeple Terrace. The victim, who was in his red Porsche, was approached by four masked suspects who fled from the scene in a blue sedan after the shooting, police said. The next day, police announced the victim, who owned the jewelry store in the plaza, was in good condition in hospital after having fled from his assailants. Through a lengthy investigation, police identified and charged two suspects with offences including aggravated assault, armed robbery and occupying a motor vehicle with a firearm. cbc.ca

Suspects from Mississauga, Brampton charged in GTA c-store robbery spree
Two men have been charged in connection with an investigation into
several armed convenience store robberies throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Police allege that between Dec. 30, 2023 and Jan. 16, 2024, two suspects wearing disguises to conceal their identity and armed with guns attended a number of corner stores throughout Toronto, and Peel and Halton regions. During the robberies, they demanded money and lottery tickets, police said. None of the victims were injured. Peel Regional Police's (PRP) Central Robbery Bureau worked in collaboration with Toronto and Halton police services on the investigation and identified and arrested two male suspects. toronto.ctvnews.ca

Toronto man made hateful comments in Scarborough store before assaulting, robbing customer: police
A Toronto man is facing charges after allegedly
making hateful remarks towards an employee and customer inside a Scarborough store and then assaulting and robbing the customer. Officers were called to a store in the area of Danforth Avenue and Warden Avenue around 1:45 p.m. Sunday for reports of a robbery. Police allege a man entered the store and started making anti-Muslim comments towards a worker. A female customer asked the man to stop bothering the employee when the suspect allegedly started making more anti-Muslim comments towards her. It is alleged the man assaulted the customer and knocked her over. When she fell he grabbed her cell phone and ran away, according to police. Police are treating the investigation as a suspected hate-motivated robbery. toronto.citynews.ca

Suspects at large after guns stolen from gas station in northern B.C.

Peterborough police seek suspect in knifepoint robbery at convenience store

Halifax police investigating alleged armed robbery at Bedford gas station

View Canadian Connections Archives






Returns Surged 15% During Cyber Week 2023
Study: Peak holiday online returns growth outpaced sales growth

The rate of returns on Cyber Week 2023 purchases reached a surprisingly fast pace.

As sales increased, so did returns. Compared to 2022, Aftership data indicates that
returns were up 15% for Cyber Week 2023, nearly doubling the pace of recorded sales growth.

This pattern
also extended beyond Cyber Week, according to Aftership analysis with December 2023 consistently seeing the highest monthly volume of returns.

Additional key findings from AfterShip include:

Impact of automation: Merchants who leveraged automation for returns approval experienced a substantial 100% reduction in the time taken to process returns.

Fashion and accessories set the trend: Three in four returns in 2023 were for the fashion and accessories industry.

Freedom of choice: Analyzed retailers who enabled three or more return resolution options had a revenue retention rate of more than 30%.

"Retailers are seeing a greater need for streamlined and robust returns solutions.
Those who are prepared earlier are more well-equipped to handle the growing volume of both online sales and returns," said Andrew Chan, chief marketing officer at AfterShip.

Study: Returns increase despite strict policies

In other relevant returns data, a recent survey from Blue Yonder found that while
89% of retailers having changed their returns policies in the past 12 months to make them more expensive for consumers, or otherwise tightening the restrictions around returns, more than half (59%) experienced an increase in the rate of returns over that same period.

The results indicate that
63% of retailers face significant challenges with the management of returns as customers increasingly turn to online shopping options. chainstoreage.com

10% of Amazon Workers at One Distribution Centered Injured on the Job
1 of every 10 workers at Amazon's distribution center in Clay was injured in 2022
One of every 10 workers at Amazon's giant distribution center in Clay gets injured on the job, according to a report by a coalition of labor unions and community advocates.

The injury rate at the Clay site is
more than twice what they are at non-Amazon warehouses across the nation, according to another report. syracuse.com

January's online grocery sales increase 2% compared to last year

Instacart to lay off 250 workers, part ways with 3 execs





Cobb County, GA: Sneaker consignment shop closed after $50k robbery, but clients think owners are stealing from them
Culture Atlanta sells a variety of high-end sneakers and other designer items at Cumberland Mall, but the store announced it's closing due to multiple break-ins that have resulted in stolen money and inventory. A group of consigners that say they sold merchandise in the store say they picked the store for more visibility. Many of the consigners say they work full-time selling merchandise. "I've been working so hard for this," said consigner John Gabriela. Now everything inside the store at Cumberland Mall is gone, even the signs. "I'm out about $35,000 altogether. With my brother alone, it's another $15,000," said Gabriela. "I'm getting married next month, I lost about $10,500," said consigner Stephen Kane. At least 15 consigners told Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell that they've been left in the dark about the store's closure and what will happen to their inventory. "They won't reply to any of us," said Kane. Some say they found out about the closure on Culture Atlanta's Instagram page which showed security video of someone breaking into the store. Under the security video, the store announces it's relocating due to ongoing break-ins that have resulted in stolen money and inventory. They say the burglars got away with $50,000 in cash.  wsbtv.com

Las Vegas, NV: Video shows thieves steal thousands of dollars in merchandise from Las Vegas Apple store
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department made an arrest after a pair of thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at the Apple Store in Downtown Summerlin on Saturday. Las Vegas Real Estate Agent Bryan Lebo, who was inside the store when the theft took place, recorded it all. Video Lebo provided to News 3 shows customers and employees standing in shock, unable to do anything, as two hooded and masked individuals ripped security sensors off of several laptops inside the store. At one point Lebo says he asked as a store employee whether he should intervene and stop the thieves. However, Lebo says while he could have stepped in legally, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to, saying he did not want to escalate the scene into something worse. "It's just a statement of where we are as a society that we have allowed people to be brazen enough to take these types of circumstances and that we don't have laws to protect us as citizens," Lebo said. 

Washington County, UT: Woman faces charges in Washington Co. for stealing calculators
A woman with a history of stealing calculators was arrested in Washington, Utah, and is accused of being a repeat offender. Rosa Preda, 25, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of retail theft and a pattern of unlawful activity, the Washington City Police Department said. On Sunday evening, WCPD officers responded to reports that a woman, identified as Preda, had left a retail store after taking multiple expensive graphing calculators, the affidavit states. Preda reportedly has a history of retail theft. She was involved in at least three retail theft incidents, two of which occurred in Washington County and involved stealing calculators, police said. As officers were talking with the loss prevention employee, they said they found out Preda had been found in Hurricane after officers there stopped her for traffic violations. Hurricane police reportedly found 11 Casio graphing calculators in her car, worth about $1,170. Later, upon reviewing surveillance footage, police said Preda could be seen taking the calculators that were hanging on display. She initially placed the calculators in her shopping cart, concealed under a dark blanket or towel, but later put them in a large purse. 

Reading, CA: Oroville man arrested for $5,000 grand theft, false military impersonation
Police arrested an Oroville man for stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from businesses in Redding on Tuesday. At around 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, police received a call about a man stealing $5,000 worth of jewelry from Fetch! Body Piercing on Hilltop Drive. Witnesses reportedly saw the suspect get into a silver Jaguar and attempt to flee the area. However, police say their Neighborhood Police Unit (NPU) were in the area and pulled over the Jaguar before it left the parking lot. Officers detained the suspect, identified as Bernard Curtis, 72, of Oroville. Police say Curtis was found to be in possession of stolen property, a large amount of cash and stolen merchandise from other local businesses. Additionally, police say Curtis was intentionally dressed in a uniform that was a combination of US Navy and US army garments and rank insignias. Police say Curtis was entering businesses with a picture of his disabled son and would request money from employees to support his son's disability. 

Chicago, IL: Burglars took $20,000 worth of top-shelf liquor from a Japanese steakhouse

Leesburg, VA: Mother, daughter charged with 5 counts of shoplifting totaling $1,500 at Leesburg Premium Outlets

Sioux City, IA: $1400 Walmart Theft in South Sioux City leads to Sioux City pursuit


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Shootings & Deaths

Cumming, GA: Man accused of shoplifting from Target dies in police custody, Georgia authorities say
A man died after he was accused of shoplifting from an Atlanta-area Target store, Georgia authorities said. Robert Cornelious Powell of Brooklyn, New York, was arrested Feb. 11 and fell unconscious after leading officers on a foot chase, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. A loss prevention officer called police about Powell, 32, who investigators said was suspected of stealing from two Target stores, including one in Cumming. He ran when officers arrived and led them on a chase through woods before surrendering, according to the GBI. Officers said they noticed Powell's leg was injured but didn't give specifics. That's when he told officers he was having trouble breathing and EMS was called. "Powell's condition continued to decline, and he was ultimately pronounced dead at the hospital," the GBI said. His body will undergo an autopsy to determine the cause of death, investigators said. Authorities didn't release additional details but said the case will be turned over to the Forsyth County District Attorney's Office after the GBI wraps up its investigation.  miamiherald.com

Pittsburgh, PA: 16-year-old boy charged in shooting of C-Store employee
Pittsburgh police have arrested a teenage boy in connection to the shooting of a convenience store employee on the city's South Side earlier in February. Delvon Dobbins, 16, was arrested on the 1600 block of Morningside Avenue on Tuesday morning without incident. Only Channel 11 was there when Dobbins was walked into Pittsburgh Police Headquarters after being taken into custody. His charges stem from the shooting of a convenience store employee at the intersection of 22nd and East Carson Street on Feb. 3. Police say the victim was taking out the trash when he was shot in the chest. The victim said a male walked up to him and pulled out a gun, possibly a Glock, and shot him in the chest. The male then ran up South 22nd Street towards Carey Way. The victim recognized the shooter as someone who had been in the store about a month prior. Court documents said Dobbins was seen on surveillance footage taking a black handgun from a backpack and storing it in his jacket. Surveillance cameras also captured Dobbins fleeing towards South 21st Street. Police say Dobbins will be charged as an adult and is facing attempted homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and firearm charges.  wpxi.com

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Greenville, NC: Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery at a Family Dollar store
They said it happened around 8:45 p.m. Sunday at the store on Easy Street. London Fortenberry is the manager of that store. She said Sunday started as a normal night. "A cashier from Food Lion had just got off and I had just finished ringing her up," Fortenberry said. That's when the night took a turn. "The armed robber came in, tried to get over the red door where the tills are and then wrapped his way around," Fortenberry said. "He proceeded to put his gun across and told me to give the money to him and open the safe." Fortenberry did not give in. "
I said, 'I'm not going to open the safe so you can shoot me,'" she said. "From there he looked me in the eyes. I then reached into my phone and called 911 while he was still in the store and walking out." Now, the Greenville Police Department said they still haven't found that person. Fortenberry said that's a scary thought. Now Fortenberry said she's working to get help for herself. She is taking time off work. "I was working about 60 to 70 hours every week," she said. "I was having to stay up, do doubles, come in early, stay late, covering shifts. I was told this led to my irrational decision-making because mentally I was already drawn down and overworked." Fortenberry said she's thankful things didn't turn out much worse, but she's also hoping this doesn't happen again. "I just want everyone to know not to be that hero," she said. "Just give them what they want because I did get lucky Sunday night and I did not lose my life, thankfully."  wnct.com

New York, NY: Migrant released in Times Square police attack now a suspect in Queens robbery
One of the migrants allegedly involved in the attack on two NYPD officers in Times Square and released without bail is now being sought by the NYPD for questioning in connection with a robbery Tuesday evening at a Macy's in Queens. The NYPD is looking into whether Darwin Gomez-Izquiel was part of a group who allegedly stole from the store at the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst and attacked a security officer, several senior law enforcement officials. Police sources said video surveillance footage of a suspect with dyed blonde hair at Macy's appears to match the image of the same man who allegedly took part in the Times Square attack on Jan. 27.  nbcnewyork.com

Lehigh Acres, FL: Trio arrested for attempted burglary of jewelry store
Three men were arrested Sunday morning after they were caught on camera breaking into a safe at a jewelry store in Lehigh Acres. According to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to 1434 Lee Boulevard for a burglary at VIP Fine Jewelry. The suspects identified as 37-year-old Carlos Acosta, 43-year-old Yaubri Alfonso and 53-year-old Juan Leyva were seen on security camera entering the store after cutting a hole in the roof. They disabled the security system and broke into the safe. When deputies arrived, two of the men were on the roof of the store. One was quickly taken into custody while the other made a run for it. An LCSO helicopter tracked the man down near a canal bank. A third suspect was found hiding behind the jewelry store plaza, LCSO said. Deputies found a duffel bag filled with jewelry and gems near the store's safe. The Miami-Dade trio has a lengthy criminal history of burglary, drug charges and aggravated assault.  nbc-2.com

San Antonio, TX: Police searching for suspects who threw an 81 year old man down escalator at North Star Mall
Officers are searching for the suspects who are responsible for seriously injuring an 81-year-old man after throwing him down an escalator at North Star Mall. San Antonio Police say that on January 27 the man was getting on the escalator at Dillard's at North Star Mall, when the suspects come from behind and one of them throws him down the metal escalator steps. The man's head impacted the steps, leaving an imprint of the metal grate stairs and caused severe injuries to his whole body, including internal bleeding. The female suspect stood over the man after he was thrown down. Neither of the suspects helped the man and immediately fled from the location.  kens5.com

Cape Coral, FL: Two arrested in suspected armed robbery at Pine Island Road Lowe's

Washington, DC: Man works with Walgreens manager to rob store once a month since July 2023, DC Police say

Chesapeake, VA: Fight breaks out inside Chesapeake Chipotle, several charged

Fort Myers, FL: $200K boat stolen from south Fort Myers business

Wichita, KS: Man Charged for Stealing and Destroying Jackie Robinson Statue for Scrap Metal



Apple - Las Vegas, NV - Robbery
Boscov's - New Hartford, NY - Robbery
C-Store - Urbana, IL - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Smithfield, VA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Novato, CA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Tacoma, WA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Platteville, WI - Armed Robbery
Clothing - Santa Monica, CA - Burglary
Dollar - Greenville, NC - Armed Robbery
Gas Station - Montgomery County, MD - Armed Robbery
Hardware - Cape Coral, FL - Armed Robbery
Jewelry - Lehigh Acres, FL - Burglary
Jewelry - Muncie, IN - Burglary
Macy's - Queens, NY - Robbery
Mall - Arlington, VA- Armed Robbery
Marijuana - Oklahoma City, OK - Armed Robbery / Shot fired
Restaurant - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Vape - Wheat Ridge, CO - Burglary                                              


Daily Totals:
• 13 robberies
• 5 burglaries
• 1 shooting
• 0 killed

Click map to enlarge






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