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GROC 13th Annual Retail Crime Conference

Black Hat USA 2023
August 5-10

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September 11-13

APEX Conference
September 13-15

October 2-4

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Michael Rubino promoted to Director of Risk Management for Village Super Market
Michael has been with Village Super Market for more than five years, starting with the company in 2018. Before his recent promotion to Director of Risk Management, he served as Director of Loss Prevention. Prior to joining Village Super Market, he served as Regional Asset Protection Manager for Stop & Shop for more than two years. Earlier in his career, he held LP roles with A&P over a 12-year span. Congratulations, Michael!

Justin Dietel, LPC promoted to Zone Asset Protection Director for Dollar Tree Stores

Justin has been with Dollar Tree Stores for six years, starting with the company in 2017. Before his promotion to Zone Asset Protection Director, he served as Regional Asset Protection Manager. Prior to Dollar Tree Stores, he spent nearly eight years with ShopRite as District Loss Prevention Specialist. Earlier in his career, he held LP/AP roles with A&P and Pathmark. Congratulations, Justin!

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









TalkLP's Wrap Up at NRF PROTECT Day 1

Watch what happened at NRF PROTECT 2023 Day 1 in this recap from host Amber Bradley and TalkLPnews!

Click here to watch


NRF PROTECT 2023 Panel Spotlight
How Inspire Brands, Albertsons and Helzberg Diamonds adapt to the everchanging challenge of online fraud

NRF PROTECT: Approaching fraud as an overall business problem helps companies tackle the problem holistically

Ecommerce continues to grow, and with it an increasing risk of fraudulent activity. On the second day of NRF PROTECT 2023, a capacity crowd gathered to hear insights on negotiating the current online fraud environment.

Participants in the panel included Patrick Finnegan, director of loss prevention and fraud with Inspire Brands; Flora Garcia, director of enterprise data and fraud prevention with the Albertsons Companies; and Kevin Morrison, director of loss prevention, fraud and payments risk with Helzberg Diamonds.

While their responsibilities vary from company to company and market to market, Finnegan, Garcia and Morrison all deal with issues around payments, the internal visibility of what they do, the need to understand the changing payment ecosystem, and the problem of card-not-present transactions.

They also share the need to protect their companies from fraud while avoiding friction with their customers - and avoiding friction with colleagues, whose responsibilities might lead to conflict with loss prevention and anti-fraud initiatives.

The panelists agreed that a partial solution is to foster agreement among departments as to what problems are being solved, or at least addressed.

"If there's conflict between loss prevention and the sales force," said Garcia, "we at least all need to be using the same data." Inspire, for instance, has a cross-departmental digital fraud task force. "It's a way to get people out of their silos," Finnegan said. "We want to say yes."

One way to make that happen is to look at fraud as an overall business problem. Part of this process, Morrison said, requires the people who dream up sales campaigns to run them by the fraud-prevention troops before announcing them to the customer base nrf.com

Sensormatic Solutions by Johnson Controls unveils Sensormatic Synergy Media Display at NRF PROTECT 2023

The brand's new media display allows retailers to leverage prime storefront real estate to drive traffic, push targeted advertising and gain insights into customer behavior

NEUHAUSEN, Switzerland-June 6, 2023-Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, unveiled its newest storefront solution, the Sensormatic Synergy Media Display, at NRF PROTECT 2023. Expected to be available to retailers across regions in the summer of 2023, the Sensormatic Synergy Media Display enables retailers to install dynamic displays onto their Sensormatic Synergy ("Synergy) loss prevention pedestals at the front of the store, so they can do more with their most-visible touchpoints.

"Adding media displays to our Synergy line of exit pedestals helps retailers make the most of their electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems-both in terms of shopper experience and data analytics," said Craig Szklany, vice president and product general manager for loss prevention and liability at Sensormatic Solutions. "Installing Sensormatic Synergy Media Displays onto existing Synergy deployments turns the exit-focused loss prevention systems retailers already have into end-to-end solutions that support more connected shopper journeys, generate ad revenue, and give retailers insight from customers' first steps into the store."

Read more here

TalkLP Podcast: NRF LP Council Chair Scott McBride & NRF's VP of AP & Retail Operations David Johnston talk future plans under new leadership
National Retail Federation's (NRF) Vice President of Asset Protection & Retail Operations David Johnston and the newly announced Chair of the NRF Loss Prevention Council, Scott McBride, Chief Global Asset Protection Officer & CSO at AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS INC. joins TalkLP Host Amber Bradley to discuss the re-energized direction of the NRF Loss Prevention initiatives under David and Scott's leadership.

Both loss prevention veterans talk what's new and what's coming for the NRF - and it's time to get excited. Scott also gives a quick look at what asset protection executives need to be prepared for near term and long term for strategic planning.

Check out their take on the NRF's future and how it impacts the loss prevention industry!

Watch it here

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

Backlash Over California's New Hands-Off Shoplifting Bill
Chamber of Commerce Reacts to California Bill's New Shoplifting Policy
As controversy and confusion continue to surround rules around how retail store workers should handle the shoplifting epidemic, the California state senate last week passed SB 553, which would prohibit retailers from requiring staff to confront people trying to steal.

The move comes in response to a rash of incidences where sales associates trying to stop shoplifters has led to escalating situations, sometimes with fatal outcomes.

It also comes as a new National Retail Federation study finds that shoplifting is becoming an existential threat to brick-and-mortar commerce altogether and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the growing problem of retail crime.

Passed in the senate, the California bill heads to the assembly, where if passed and then signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, it would authorize labor unions to seek temporary restraining orders on behalf of employees based on workplace violence or credible threats of violence. It also would prohibit employers from "maintaining policies that require employees to confront active shooters or suspected shoplifters."

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), said the bill was motivated by recent tragic incidences at California Walgreens and Home Depot, where a shoplifter at the former and an employee at the latter tried to stop shoplifters, per company policy in each case.

"With growing awareness of workplace violence, California needs smarter guidelines to keep workers safe in the office or on the job site," Cortese wrote on his website. "Under my SB 553, employers would be prohibited from forcing their workers to confront active shoplifters, and all retail employees would be trained on how to react to active shoplifting. The legislation has other provisions that keep people safe at work. Let's take every reasonable step to prevent another workplace assault or shooting."

The California Chamber of Commerce, however, has reservations about the measure.

"California's employers-both public and private-should be very concerned about SB 553 because it requires all employers to meet workplace violence standards that exceed even those applied to hospitals under present regulations," the organization's policy advocate Rob Moutri said in a statement. "Cal/OSHA staff specifically rejected using the hospital standard for all industries, and have spent years working on a general industry draft that makes sense for all of California's workplaces. Sadly, SB 553 ignored those years of work and applies the hospital standard-with a few additional provisions-to even the smallest employer in the state." sourcingjournal.com

Walgreens Chicago Theft Crackdown Making Headlines
An entire Walgreens store in Chicago has been redesigned in hopes of curbing theft

Walgreens has redesigned a Chicago store to put most of the products behind counters, and it could help cut down on theft

Walgreens renovated a store in Chicago & moved most products off the shop floor.

Walgreens has redesigned a store in downtown Chicago and put most of the products behind counters, which could help the company cut down on theft amid a rise in organized retail crime.

The converted store, which is located in the city's South Loop area, has just two low-rise aisles with low-cost essentials such as groceries, bandages, soap, and cosmetics. CWB Chicago reported that the shelves are no taller than five feet - meaning that staff are able to watch customers shopping.

CWB's photos of the new-look store show shoplifting sensors at the entrance of this section of the store. Customers can buy these items at self-checkout stations.

To get anything else, customers have to order it using an in-store tablet - accompanied by a sign saying: "Let us do the shopping." The customer will then pick these items up from a member of staff at the counter. This is the same for both retail items and pharmacy prescriptions, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The company told the Sun-Times that the redesigned store in South Loop had more staff than the average store. Some customers told local news site Block Club Chicago that they felt the store had been redesigned to cut down on theft. businessinsider.com

The Return of 'Stop & Frisk' in NYC?
N.Y.P.D. Anti-Crime Units Still Stopping People Illegally, Report Shows

Mayor Eric Adams revived the teams, promising they would be well trained and supervised. But a new report found widespread use of stop-and-frisk tactics against people of color.

The New York Police Department's anti-crime units are still stopping, frisking and searching too many people unlawfully - almost all of them people of color - despite assurances from Mayor Eric Adams that new policies and training would end the practice, according to a new report by a court-appointed monitor.

The monitor, Mylan L. Denerstein, filed a report in federal court in Manhattan on Monday detailing what she described as unlawful policing. Ms. Denerstein, whose position was created in 2013 after a court ruled the Police Department's use of stop and frisk was unconstitutional, is assigned to oversee the units, which have a history of targeting Black and Hispanic people.

Earlier versions of the units were responsible for a disproportionate number of police shootings, and they were disbanded in 2020. Mr. Adams reinstated and renamed them after he took office last year, but critics were skeptical that they could be run without racially profiling young men of color, as previous units had.

Almost all of the stops made by the rebranded "neighborhood safety teams" analyzed in the report - 97 percent - were of Black or Hispanic people, and 24 percent of the stops were unconstitutional. Of 230 car stops included in the sample, only two appear to have turned up weapons, the report said.

Police and city officials took issue with the report's conclusions and said the units had been effective both in keeping interactions with the public lawful and in reducing killings. Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Adams, said the mayor's office had serious concerns about the report's methodology. nytimes.com

Mass Shooting Surge Leads to Store Closure
Gun Store Owner Decides to Close Shop in Response to Recent Mass Shootings

The owner of Duluth-based shop Georgia Ballistics says it's a matter of "conscience."

A gun store owner in Georgia says he's closing up shop in response to recent mass shootings in which children were killed.

Jon Waldman, the owner of Georgia Ballistics in Duluth, spoke with regional outlet WXIA-TV last week about his decision and his larger concerns about gun violence. According to Waldman, who opened the shop in March 2021, seeing "kids after kids after kids" being caught up in gun violence has led him to this moment.

"This is just my conscience, and it's more important to me than anything else," he told the outlet, adding that moving forward on this issue will, in his opinion, require communities coming together on "both sides."

Elaborating further on his decision in an interview, as seen up top, Waldman noted that the closure of his shop doesn't mean he's individually against people being armed.

"I just can't sell items like this to people," he said. Waldman also questioned the effectiveness of background checks, pointing out that merely passing one doesn't necessarily mean a person "should" have access to such weapons. complex.com

Takeaways from Baltimore Police budget hearing: vacancies continue, low-level offenses in spotlight
The mayor's proposed budget calls for a $594 million allocation for the police force, an uptick from this fiscal year's total $579 million.

This year, the city is seeing slightly lower homicide and nonfatal shooting rates compared with the same time period in 2022. Data for the week ending May 27 showed 2023 homicides were down by 15% and nonfatal shootings down by 9%

Low-level offenses in the spotlight

Baltimore State's Attorney Ivan Bates announced last week that his office would resume prosecuting low-level offenses, such as loitering, drinking in public and drug possession, through a new citation court docket.

Baltimore Police will begin to issue criminal citations for the "quality of life" offenses beginning Monday.

The Group Violence Reduction Strategy, a focused deterrence model of violent crime reduction piloted last year, has been touted by the Scott administration as a success as it has continued to expand to a new police district this year.

Eric Melancon, the department's deputy commissioner for compliance, said Tuesday that there are 338 patrol vacancies, out of 522 total vacant budgeted and funded positions. The staffing plan, Melancon said, calls for 918 patrol positions, but there are roughly 650 currently filled. baltimoresun.com

How did Minnesota change its criminal laws this session?
In recent years, businesses in the Twin Cities metro have been targeted by groups of looters who stormed into stores and stole large amounts of merchandise.

Organized retail theft is set to become a specific offense under Minnesota criminal law. People found guilty of organized retail theft can now face a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison if the amount of theft is over $5,000. bemidjipiponeer.com

U.S. Congress Update: H.R. Bill 895 - Combating ORC Act of 2023 (118th Congress) Picks up Three More Co-Sponsors
Cosponsor - 22 current - 13 Republicans and 9 Democrats. New: D-TX-30, D-HI-2, D-MI-3. Is your Representative supporting? Check out the list here

UK: 'I'm burnt out from dealing with shoplifters in our London store'
One supermarket worker describes how there has been a significant increase in thefts and there is little they can do about it

Retail stores are locking up more items, leaving shoppers waiting for help

New York's shoplifting hellscape: Letters to the Editor - June 6, 2023



The 'woke' discussion-it's got more teeth, it's got more anger - than anybody really anticipated"
Companies That Embraced Social Issues Have Second Thoughts

Executives rethink if and when to weigh in on potentially divisive issues, fearing backlash from all sides, and develop crisis plans in case things go wrong

CEOs spent the past few years adjusting to a world in which investors, customers and employees expected corporate leaders to align themselves with social causes. Today, that has made companies targets in the U.S. culture wars, where one step can turn a social-media storm into a corporate crisis that cripples businesses and wrecks careers.

Some CEOs are rethinking how-or whether-to weigh in on sensitive political or social matters, with trans and other LGBT issues particularly in the spotlight.

Over the past decade, companies have become more vocal on causes such as immigration, voting access, abortion, gay rights and racial equity, often taking stances shared by progressives. Many executives said they felt pushed by employees or customers to express an opinion on issues rippling through society.

What is changing now, executives and corporate advisers said, is that conservative groups and political leaders are pushing back against companies more forcefully. Consumers are also more openly expressing frustration that companies are airing views in ways some don't welcome.

"The divisiveness in the country-the 'woke' discussion-it's got more teeth, it's got more anger I think than anybody really anticipated," said Jim Fielding, a former chief executive of retailer Claire's Stores and a former president of Disney Stores who is now an executive at the media company Archer Gray. wsj.com

Walmart 'False Imprisonment' Lawsuit
Walmart is found not liable after detaining a customer who refused to show receipts at the door

Colorado's second-highest court said that Walmart couldn't be held liable for false imprisonment.

A customer repeatedly refused to show receipts for his purchases at Denver-area Walmart stores and sued when he was detained by employees who accused him of shoplifting. But Colorado's second-highest court said last week that Walmart couldn't be held liable for the false imprisonment of the shopper, whose name is William Montgomery, The Gazette first reported.

While shoppers are not legally required to show receipts, a customer's refusal to show their receipt could give a store probable cause to detain them, previous cases have determined. While asking customers for receipts is commonplace at big-box stores like Walmart and Costco as a way to curb theft, it has also caused tension among some shoppers and employees.

"We believe our associates acted appropriately, and we will continue to defend the company in this litigation," a Walmart spokesperson said in response to a request for comment on the decision and their policy on checking receipts.

"Montgomery sought to create circumstances which would result in Walmart employees reasonably believing he was committing a crime in their presence," Judge Matthew D. Grove wrote in an opinion affirming a previous decision. The Colorado Court of Appeals maintained the decision of a Colorado county judge, who ruled in favor of Walmart last year in five combined lawsuits that Montgomery filed. businessinsider.com

No Recession Likely in 2023: Good News for the Retail Industry
NRF Economist Says Conditions Look Like Soft Landing, Not Recession
Economic indicators are giving conflicting signs but the nation does not appear to be in a recession and should be headed toward a soft landing from the rampant inflation and high interest rates of the past two years, National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said today in the June edition of NRF's Monthly Economic Review.

"Today's economy is a lot like looking into a kaleidoscope, with the view changing and the data providing a different reflection of what's happening every time you look," Kleinhenz said. "Depending on which data you view in the economic kaleidoscope, you get two different angles on the state of the consumer. While survey data shows consumers do not have much confidence in the economy, actual spending data shows they were upbeat as the second quarter kicked off." nrf.com

Retail Sector Has Second-Highest Job Cuts in May with 9,053
Layoffs Rise 20% in May Led by Technology and Retail
The total number of job cuts announced in May was 20% higher than that in April and 287% higher than the number announced a year earlier, Challenger, Gray and Christmas said in a Thursday (June 1) press release.

Most industries have seen an increase in layoffs this year. The sector with the second-highest number of job cuts in May was retail, with 9,053. Year to date, the retail sector has had 942% more layoffs this year than last, per the release.

The technology sector accounted for 22,887 of the job cuts announced in May. Year to date, the sector has seen 136,831 layoffs - a total that is 2,939% higher than the same period in 2022 and the highest since 2001, the release said. pymnts.com

Dollar General Rolls Back Store Expansion Plan As Consumer Demand Slows

Quarterly Results

SpartanNash Q1 retail comp's up 5.4%, wholesale up 5.2%, net sales up 5.2%

Casey's Q4 Inside comp's up 6.5%, Fuel comp's flat, total inside sales up 8.4%
Casey's FY Inside comp's up 6.5%, Grocery& GM comp's up 6.3%, Pre. Food & Bev. up 7.1%

Victoria's Secret Q1 total comp's down 11%, net sales down 5%

Tilly's Q1 total comp's down 17.5%, net sales down 15.2%

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Verizon's '2023 Data Breach Investigations Report'
Released Tuesday, June 6th

Verizon DBIR: Social Engineering Breaches Double, Leading to Spiraling Ransomware Costs

Ransomware continues its growth with median payments reaching $50k per incident.

A full three-quarters of data breaches in the last year (74%) involved the human element, mainly caused by employees either falling for social engineering attacks or making errors, with some misusing their access maliciously.

Social engineering incidents have almost doubled since last year to account for 17% of all breaches, according to Verizon's 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released June 6 (which analyzed more than 16,312 security incidents, of which 5,199 were confirmed data breaches).

Financially Motivated External Attackers Double Down on Social Engineering

In addition to social engineering growing in volume, the median amount stolen from these attacks hit $50,000 this past year, according to the DBIR. Overall, there were 1,700 incidents that fell into the social media bucket, 928 with confirmed data disclosure.

Phishing and "pretexting," i.e. impersonation of the sort commonly used in business email compromise (BEC) attacks, dominated the social engineering scene, the report found. In fact, pretexting gambits have almost doubled since last year and now represent 50% of all social engineering attacks.

Ransomware Has Yet to Hit a Wall in Growth

Ransomware events held steady in this year's report in terms of share of breaches, accounting, like last year, for about a quarter of incidents overall (24%). This may seem like good news on the outside, but the report noted that the stat actually flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that ransomware would, sooner or later, hit a wall thanks to organizations wising up on defenses, entities refusing to pay, or law enforcement scrutiny.

None of that seems to have moved the needle - and, in fact, there's still plenty of upside for ransomware going forward, the report noted, since it hasn't hit a saturation level.

Battling the Rising Tide of Ransomware & Breaches

To prevent further ransomware growth and stem the tide of breaches in general, Verizon's Novak says that organizations can focus on fairly achievable steps, given that social engineering is a linchpin to both. To wit, in addition to encouraging basic security hygiene and awareness on the part of employees, organizations need to also forge ahead with MFA and focus on honing a range of cybersecurity partnerships.

When it comes to MFA, he said that moving away from simple two-factor authentication using one-time passwords, in favor of strong authentication like FIDO2, will be game changing. FIDO2 presents authentication challenges to the user via a browser, which adds context about the challenge and then delivers it to an attached FIDO2 authenticator, which allows detection of man-in-the-middle snooping and more.

Sidebar: Industry Segments Most at Risk for Data Breaches

Vertical stats are as follows:

Retail: 406 incidents, 193 with confirmed data disclosure
Accommodation and Food Services: 254 incidents, 68 with confirmed data disclosure
Education: 497 incidents, 238 with confirmed data disclosure
Financial and Insurance: 1,832 incidents, 480 with confirmed data disclosure
Healthcare: 525 incidents, 436 with confirmed data disclosure
Information: 2,110 incidents, 384 with confirmed data disclosure
Manufacturing: 1,817 incidents, 262 with confirmed data disclosure
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction + Utilities: 143 incidents, 47 with confirmed data disclosure
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: 1,398 incidents, 423 with confirmed data disclosure


   RELATED: Verizon Report: 74% of breaches involve human element

Snap Up Cyber-Smart Directors Before They're Gone
Cybersecurity Risks and Privacy Rules Add Pressure on Boards

Directors are finding they have to get up to speed on emerging threats quickly, as regulations loom

AdvertisementCompanies shouldn't wait for new rules around cybersecurity, privacy and emerging technologies to be finalized before preparing for them, lawyers say, particularly as senior executives with the right experience can be hard to come by.

Proposed cybersecurity rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission would require public companies to disclose which board members have security knowledge or experience, along with details about the board's approach to cyber oversight. The SEC published draft rules in March 2022 and is expected to finalize them in the coming months.

"The board issue is coming fast and furious onto the table around the world," Dominique Shelton Leipzig, a partner in the cybersecurity and data privacy practice at law firm Mayer Brown, said.
The SEC wants to see more transparency and board expertise to better protect investors from expensive and disruptive cyberattacks

Companies should start looking now for directors with cyber expertise or hire experts to advise them because there will be competition for a small pool of such people, she said, speaking at the forum.

"Directors don't grow on trees and, certainly, directors with cybersecurity experience don't grow on trees," she said. wsj.com

Retail is the #1 Driver of AI
The Dynamic Interplay Between Human Insights and AI in Inventory Management, Customer Care
The retail industry's commitment to artificial intelligence (AI) is unmatched, surpassing all industries except finance. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), a staggering $300 billion investment in AI is anticipated by 2026. This influx of resources promises to augment the relationship between humans and machines, delivering immense advantages to brands and consumers. There's a huge opportunity for brands to harness the power of AI insights while continuously leaning on the invaluable experience and industry knowledge of their workforce, resulting in an extraordinary fusion of human and technological capabilities.

Defining the New Relationship

AI applications took off in customer care and inventory management when the world went virtual in 2020. Today, conversational AI helps consumers to swiftly resolve common issues through real-time generated prompts, which lessens the call volume for human agents. This frees agents up to focus on higher priority customer needs that demand a personalized human touch.

In the face of a rapidly evolving era of AI-driven transformation, today's retail workforce must proactively prepare themselves with a thorough understanding of AI technology and evaluate how it can be effectively applied to their respective roles. The expanded use of AI has the potential to impact everyone across an e-commerce workforce, making it crucial for individuals to embrace continuous learning and development. mytotalretail.com

Fighting ransomware: Perspectives from cybersecurity professionals

Leveraging large language models (LLMs) for corporate security and privacy



RCC's 2023 Excellence in Retailing Awards: Winners Announced

Remarkable Innovativeness and Intense Competition Spotlights 2023 Winners

Retailers across Canada have once again showcased their remarkable innovativeness and leadership, raising the bar for excellence in the retail industry.

The competition for the highly coveted Excellence in Retailing Awards reached new heights this year, with an unprecedented 88 finalists contending for the top honors. The 15 winners of these prestigious awards were unveiled last night at the Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala, held as a highlight of Retail Council of Canada's (RCC) STORE 2023 Conference in Toronto. Adding to the excitement of the evening was also the presentation of three Awards of Distinctions, and eighteen Retail Education scholarships.

The outstanding innovations recognized this year reflect the retail industry's proactive response to current challenges. From prioritizing employee mental and physical well-being, to revolutionizing store design for enhanced customer experiences, embracing sustainable practices, reinforcing loss prevention measures, and actively engaging in philanthropic initiatives to support communities, these remarkable achievements have pushed the boundaries of retail excellence.

The winners of the 2023 Excellence in Retailing Awards are:

Learn more here

Canada Retailers Fight Rising Theft
How grocers can safeguard against shrink

Shoplifting appears to be on the rise. Loss prevention expert Stephen O'Keefe shares ways grocers can take aim at theft

While more Canadians are pinching pennies to contend with soaring food prices, others are pinching items off grocery store shelves. Though theft is an issue outside of recessionary times, food inflation has consumers under strain and it's fuelling an increase in stolen goods. Canadian Grocer recently asked Stephen O'Keefe, president at Bottom Line Matters in Georgetown, Ont., for advice on how grocers can try to safeguard against shrink, and the important role employees play in these efforts. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Grocers have always had to contend with theft. How has the issue evolved or grown more complicated in recent years?

We are at a point where there is a perfect storm happening that presents conditions whereby shop-theft is increasing. Overburdened courts, law enforcement resource issues, violent crime and socio-economic conditions have either inspired or provided an excuse for seemingly honest people to do dishonest things. They chalk it up to an "honest mistake" when confronted.

What impact is this having on grocers?

For grocers, this means a few things. There remains less room for markdown to move slow-selling product and offer deals for customers. It eats away at profitability. Arguably, this is more of a concern for smaller independents; grocers are forced to raise prices to stay afloat and, as we've seen recently in the U.S., it's forcing retailers to shutter their doors and exit the geographic area where crime is rampant.

What strategies should grocers consider for loss prevention?

Policy, people, technology and data! It is important for a grocer to operate their business on a foundation of risk management. They are well versed in this notion since they deal with food safety and security. The same logic should be applied to loss prevention, not as a separate program, but rather as an embedded loss prevention management system in every area of the business.

Which grocers are getting loss prevention right and why?

All grocers do some things very well, but there are always challenges to do everything right. That is why a loss prevention system must be reviewed on a regular basis. There are a number of grocers, however, who have a loss prevention professional on staff to advise on the direction of business activity. Rather than reacting after the fact, a preventative strategy suggests the loss prevention executive has a "seat at the table" when big decisions are being made. They look at things through a different lens.

What role do employees play in loss prevention efforts?

Employees are the ears, eyes, hearts and minds of the grocer. They generally know what the issues are. Before expensive programs or technology is incorporated, I would always advise a client to sit down with a focus group of employees to hear them out. The employees are the No. 1 line of defence against criminal activity. Most shoplifters-the traditional shoplifter and not the violent offender-can be persuaded to think twice about stealing with simple one-on-one customer service. Acknowledgment removes the opportunity to steal without being exposed or identified, and most casual shoplifters still fear the intervention of law enforcement and subsequent prosecution.

This article was first featured in Canadian Grocer's May issue. canadiangrocer.com

Canadians' Fear Over Crime is Growing - But What Does the Data Show?
Crime is a top Alberta election issue - but the issues facing Canadian cities run deep

Criminologist says Albertans are much safer than they were in the 1990s

A man was fatally shot last month outside a busy Safeway grocery store in Kensington, a trendy walkable district in northwest Calgary with plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and retail stores. Ian Cameron was shopping at the grocery store when the incident happened. He told CBC News at the time that "this stuff is happening way too much right now. We seriously need to do something about this."

"I don't know what the exact reason is for so much crime and so sudden in the last month," Cameron said, adding he had recently purchased a car to avoid taking public transit in Calgary as often as he had been.

Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld said he was "disgusted" by the incident. But the police chief wanted to draw a distinction. "I want to reassure Calgarians that Calgary remains a safe city," the chief said.

He pointed to the crime severity index (CSI), one of the tools that Statistics Canada uses to measure crime and to track the volume and severity of what's reported. It hadn't changed much, he said. That's true. In Calgary and across the province, the CSI is still down from its peak in the late 1990s, though recent spikes have been reported.

Shooting and homicides have also decreased compared with the same time last year, Neufeld noted. That might not track with what has been showing up in headlines, the chief said. As of Tuesday, there had been 43 shootings in Calgary, compared to 61 during the same period last year. There have been seven homicides so far this year, compared with 12 in 2022.

Criminologists say the perceptions of crime that residents pick up from headlines - and from politicians who frequently raise concerns about crime - do actually raise the fear of crime within communities, which has been tied to negative impacts to physical and mental health.

"We have to remember that even today, with crime rates where they are, we are much, much safer in terms of being a victim of a crime than we were in the 1990s," said Mount Royal University criminal justice professor Doug King. cbc.ca

Canada Issues Travel Warning to U.S. Over Mass Shoot Surge
Canada issues grim U.S. travel advice amid mass shootings 'Risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time'

The Government of Canada is warning its residents about mass shootings and the high rate of guns in the U.S.

Travel advice issued by the Government of Canada is asking Canadians to "familiarize yourself on how to respond to an active shooter situation" when visiting the United States, in light of the mass shooting trend looming over the country.

The Government of Canada's travel information page reminds travellers to be cautious and take security precautions when visiting down south, while pointing in particular to the common nature of gun violence in America.

"The rate of firearm possession in the United States is high," notes the official travel advice, last updated on May 19, 2023.

"Incidents of mass shootings occur, resulting most often in casualties. Although tourists are rarely involved, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

There's been an upward trend of mass shootings and gun-related deaths in recent years, with more than 200 mass shootings having occurred in the first five months of 2023 alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that has been tracking gun violence patterns.

"It is that this is happening with enough frequency that nobody knows when or where, but there is a risk all the time," said Domnick to Yahoo News Canada. "There is no predicting where it is that this is going to occur before it occurs." news.yahoo.com

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One dead, one injured in Vaughan, Ont., plaza double shooting: police
A 39-year-old man was killed and a second man was sent to hospital with life-threatening injuries on Wednesday after an early-morning double shooting north of Toronto, police said. Officers responded to reports of a shooting at an industrial plaza in Vaughan, Ont., around 3:50 a.m. Wednesday, York Regional Police Sgt. Clint Whitney told reporters gathered at the scene. Police found two men with gunshot wounds, he said. A 39-year-old man died at the scene and a 27-year-old man was sent to hospital in life-threatening condition. "This gun violence is devastating," Whitney said. Police said the shooting took place outside the plaza, located on Creditstone Rd., just north of Highway 7. Initial reports suggested the shooting was connected to a recording studio in the plaza, though police had yet to confirm that, Whitney said. yahoo.com

Brampton shooting sends 17-year-old girl to hospital, schools lift hold-and-secure as police look for suspect
Nine schools in Brampton were under hold-and-secure protocols Friday as Peel police responded to a daylight shooting that sent a teen girl to hospital. Officers were called to the area of Central Park Drive and Grenoble Boulevard on Friday morning around 11:30 a.m. for a "weapons dangerous" call. Police confirmed the shooting took place in a plaza and that injuries were sustained by a replica firearm. Police initially said in a news conference from the scene just before 1:30 p.m. that the victim was a 13-year-old girl. In a tweet Friday afternoon, police clarified the victim was in fact 17. The teen was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries and is in stable condition, police said. thestar.com

Shooting near Rexdale mall sends one to hospital
One person is in hospital with "serious" injuries after a shooting near the Woodbine Centre mall in Rexdale on Thursday, said Toronto police. According to police the shooting happened just before 8:15 p.m. near Rexdale Boulevard and Highway 27 North, near the mall. Officers responded to reports of gunshots in the area and located a car with multiple bullet holes. Police said a black, four-door Infiniti sedan was seen leaving the area. One victim was later found in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said. thestar.com

Police arrest 26 people in shoplifting sting at Surrey's Guildford Town Centre mall
A combined policing effort led to 26 arrests during an operation targeting retail theft at a popular Surrey mall last month. On May 25, officers from the Surrey RCMP's north community unit, Metro Vancouver Transit Police Services crime suppression team and Delta Police Service patrol support team were at Guildford Town Centre mall to target retail theft. They arrested 26 people and allege that had stolen food, clothing, electronics and cosmetics. Five of those people were wanted on outstanding warrants. One of those arrested, 26-year-old Donovan Alexander from Vancouver, was caught stealing twice within 90 minutes, police allege. He was released after his second arrest and then arrested a third time 90 minutes later at a nearby supermarket. "We recognize that criminals are conducting retail theft across municipal borders, often using public transit, and their crimes have a significant negative impact on the community, including local businesses. These crimes result in additional costs to our families with each purchase we make," said Staff Sgt. Nigel Pronge, who heads the north community response unit. vancouversun.com

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View Canadian Connections Archives






UPS Strike Threatens to Turn E-Commerce Supply Chain Upside Down (Again)
Possible UPS worker strike would upend e-commerce, supply chain
In an environment of energized labor movements and lingering resentment among UPS workers, the Teamsters are expected to dig in, with the potential to cow a major logistical force in the U.S.

The 24 million packages UPS ships on an average day amounts to about a quarter of all U.S. parcel volume, according to the global shipping and logistics firm Pitney Bowes, or as UPS puts it, the equivalent of about 6% of nation's gross domestic product. Higher prices and long wait times are all but certain if there is an impasse.

In other words, brace yourself for Supply Chain Breakdown: The Sequel.

In the second half of 2021, the phrase "global supply chain" began to enter casual conversations as the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses struggled to get what they needed, raising prices and wait times. Automakers held vehicles just off the assembly line because they didn't have all the parts.

Some of those problems still linger and a strike at UPS threatens to extend the suffering. Those who have come to rely on doorstep deliveries for the basic may have to rethink weekly schedules.

UPS workers feel they have played a part in the transformation of how Americans shop since the last contract was ratified in 2018, while helping to make UPS a much more valuable company.

Annual profits at UPS in the past two years are close to three times what they were before the pandemic. The Atlanta company returned about $8.6 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks in 2022, and forecasts another $8.4 billion for shareholders this year.

The Teamsters say frontline UPS workers deserve some of that windfall.

"Our members worked really hard over the pandemic," said Teamsters spokesperson Kara Deniz. "They need to see their fair share." oregonlive.com

Sold Hundreds of Millions of Fake Cisco Networking Equipment Online
CEO of Dozens of Companies Pleads Guilty to Massive Scheme to Traffic in Fraudulent and Counterfeit Cisco Networking Equipment
A Florida resident and dual citizen of the United States and Turkey pleaded guilty yesterday in the District of New Jersey to running an extensive operation over many years to traffic in fraudulent and counterfeit Cisco networking equipment.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Onur Aksoy, 39, of Miami, ran at least 19 companies formed in New Jersey and Florida, as well as approximately 15 Amazon storefronts and at least 10 eBay storefronts (collectively, the "Pro Network Entities"), that imported from suppliers in China and Hong Kong tens of thousands of low-quality, modified computer networking devices with counterfeit Cisco labels, stickers, boxes, documentation, and packaging, all bearing counterfeit trademarks registered and owned by Cisco, that made the goods falsely appear to be new, genuine, and high-quality devices manufactured and authorized by Cisco. The devices had an estimated total retail value of hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, the Pro Network Entities generated over $100 million in revenue, and Aksoy received millions of dollars for his personal gain. justice.gov

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27 Year Employee Processed Fraudulent Refunds for Nine Years
DOJ: Webster, N.Y., Woman Pleads Guilty To Stealing Over $500K From Wegmans
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Alicia Torres, 47, of Webster, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer to wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that Torres was employed at Wegmans Food Market, Inc. for approximately 27 years. Between 2014 and February 2023, she utilized the Enterprise System, which is used to fill customers' prescriptions, to fraudulently process approximately 350 credit card refund requests in customers' names with fictitious amounts. The fraudulent refund amounts were based on what Torres observed customers receiving in previous transactions. She then tricked the pharmacist on duty to sign off on and authorize the fraudulent refund requests. Once refund requests were approved, Torres paid the refund amounts to herself by swiping her bank debit card in Wegmans' point of sale system. Between 2014 and February 2023, Torres received $568,021.69 in fraudulent refunds. In addition, between 2020 and February 2023, Torres fraudulently used Wegmans gift cards to steal $10,922.17 from Wegmans.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 11, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. before Judge Larimer. justice.gov

San Francisco, CA: Thieves steal $100,000 in cigarettes, cash from smoke shop
Family-owned small business Cigarettes R Cheaper suffered its biggest hit last month in its long history in San Francisco. Surveillance video shows two cars parked outside the smoke shop in the Richmond in the overnight hours on May 31. One thief uses a tool to try and break the glass before others eventually push their way inside the store. Some burglars were already carrying empty bags. Once inside, the thieves start clearing out the shelves, dumping whatever they could get their hands on into a bin and what looks like a bed sheet. Within about 15 minutes, the crooks made off with 500 cartons of cigarettes worth $80,000. They also stole the safe containing $20,000 in cash. They left behind extensive damage.  ksltv.com

Oakland, CA: Streetwear store burglarized again; $60,000 loss
Thieves targeted yet another small business in Oakland, clearing out nearly all of its merchandise. Osi Umunna, the owner of Inner Desires on Grand Avenue, said the group of thieves took nearly everything in his store early Sunday morning. Umunna said this time, a witness saw four suspects arriving at the store in two vehicles: a white Dodge Challenger and possibly a Jeep Cherokee. . "I'm kind of numb, kind of numb to it because I've experienced it over and over," Ummuna said. He added that this is the seventh time he's been a victim of theft. He said he was robbed at gunpoint in front of his store when it was located in downtown Oakland, and that store was broken into five times. "That was when I said I can't be at this location anymore," Ummuna said. He moved to his new location in February of last year. Now, there are empty racks and an uncertain future. He estimated his loss for this break-in to be $60,000. He said the thieves stole 20 to 30 denim jackets and up to 200 pairs of jeans ktvu.com

Memphis, TN: Burglars broke into Buster's Liquors and Wines after midnight
Burglars broke into Buster's Liquors and Wines after midnight Wednesday. Memphis Police responded to a call about a break-in at the store near the University of Memphis at 1:30 a.m. Another interior video shows the moment glass was shattered - and wine spilled - enabling burglars to enter. Video surveillance also shows several masked individuals collecting bottles inside the store with bags. It is unclear how much product was taken from the store. It's not the first time that robbers have targeted the store at 191 S. Highland Road. In August 2022, 14 people reportedly broke into the business by breaking into the front windows, leading to theft of over $10,000 in liquor and over $1,000 in store damage. Three men were charged.  fox13memphis.com

Bakersfield, CA: 3 arrested in connection to theft of thousands of dollars of merchandise from Sunglass Hut
Three people were arrested for their alleged roles in the theft of nearly $15,000 worth of merchandise from a Sunglass Hut at the Valley Plaza Mall, according to police. The Bakersfield Police Department said the theft happened on May 31. Police said officers on the department's Organized Retail Theft Detail served a search warrant at a home in the 900 block of West Columbus Street on June 2 and arrested a 19-year-old man, a 21-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy in connection to the theft. According to a statement, investigators found the stolen merchandise and a loaded unregistered firearm. The three were arrested on various charges including grand theft, organized retail theft, burglary and gang participation.  kget.com

Wayne, NJ: Sunglasses Shoplifters Sought In $2K theft at Macy's

Bloomfield Township, MI: Women take merch from At Home Store shelves, get refund from cashier

Lady Lake, FL: Cuban natives nabbed in Cadillac SUV with $1200 of stolen Home Depot merchandise

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Shootings & Deaths

Columbus, OH: Update: Kroger sued in man's death during altercation with Security Guard
The mother of a man who died after an altercation with a Kroger security guard has sued the guard, his employer and the grocery store. Charlee Cooper, the mother of 26-year-old Paris Royal, sued the Cincinnati-based grocery giant in Franklin County court in March, two months after Royal's death. Royal died after being shot during a fight with a security guard employed by Columbus security company Reliable Protection Services. In the complaint, Cooper claimed the guard "unreasonably exercised deadly force" by shooting Royal during the altercation, and that Royal's death was the result of Kroger's negligence.

The complaint claims Royal entered the Kroger at 3600 Soldano Blvd. on the evening of Jan. 15 to "check on the well-being of his girlfriend" when he was confronted by the security guard. The guard escalated the altercation, according to the complaint, and Royal acted with "due care for his own safety." Cooper alleged it was then that the guard drew his firearm and shot Royal. Royal was taken to Grant Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:17 p.m. Shortly after the shooting, Columbus police said the security guard was in an altercation with a woman when Royal intervened and "began fighting" the guard. At the time, Columbus police said "shots were fired" during the fight, striking Royal, but did not explain whether the guard intentionally fired his gun.

In its response, Kroger denied it acted negligently, favoring a version of the shooting similar to what Columbus police said in January. Royal was the "physical aggressor" against the security guard and compelled the guard to act in self-defense, Kroger argued.  nbc4i.com

Omaha, NE: Police identify 3 suspects in connection to a Tuesday afternoon shooting at strip mall
On Wednesday the Omaha Police Department identified three suspects who were arrested in connection to a shooting on Tuesday afternoon. Brandi Walker, 28, will be booked for attempted felony assault, terroristic threats, evidence tampering, and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Jahari Love, 26, will be booked for attempted felony assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. Matthew Berg, 37, will be booked for attempted felony assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. The Omaha Police Department Officer Involved Investigations Team is continuing to investigate the Tuesday incident where two officers discharged their service firearms after they witnessed an armed individual firing a long gun outside a strip mall near N 31st and Ames Avenues. Officers were leaving a business after a community meeting when gunfire was heard to the north of Ames Ave.  3newsnow.com

Bloomington, MN: Man pleads guilty to firing gun inside Mall of America after fight at Nike store
A man pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon for firing a gun inside Mall of America last year. Shamar Alon Ramon Lark, 21, was also charged with intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety and possession of a pistol in a public place without a permit. Lark faces up to seven years in prison for the second-degree assault conviction kstp.com

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

DOJ: New York: Five Defendants Arrested For $2M Daytime Armed Robberies Of Manhattan Jewelry Stores
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and Keechant L. Sewell, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), announced today the unsealing of two Complaints charging five defendants with the armed robberies of two Manhattan jewelry stores on the mornings of January 3, 2023, and May 20, 2023, in which approximately $2 million of jewelry was stolen at gunpoint. The five defendants were arrested this morning in New York and New Jersey. FRANK DIPIETRO, VINCENT CERCHIO, VINCENT SPAGNUOLO, and MICHAEL SELLICK were charged by Complaint in connection with the January 3, 2023, robbery of a jewelry store on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. SAMUEL SORCE was charged by Complaint in connection with the May 20, 2023, robbery of a jewelry store on Elizabeth Street in lower Manhattan. DIPIETRO, CERCHIO, SPAGNUOLO, SELLICK, and SORCE will be presented in Manhattan federal court later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn.  justice.gov

Houston, TX: 'Gem Stone' cowboy on the loose after $75,000 Armed Robbery at Willowbrook Mall
Houston Police Department needs the public's help finding a teen who robbed a jewelry store in broad daylight, with a gun in hand. HPD Robbery Division have identified the suspect as 19-year-old Fabian P. Navarro. He is wanted for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. On Sunday, May 28, 2023 at around 2:30 p.m., police believe Navarro entered a jewelry store, located within the mall, at the 2000 block of Willowbrook Mall, in Houston. Based on the investigation, police believe he first acted like a customer and walked around the store, looking at jewelry. While an employee was helping a male, he pulled out a handgun and jumped over the counter. The store employee attempted to stop the suspect from stealing the jewelry, but he then pointed the gun at her and threated to harm her if she intervened. The suspect removed around $75,000 worth of jewelry and then fled the location.   cw39.com

Calumet City, IL: 3 suspects evade police after chase by changing clothes in Calumet City Mall
Three suspects who led police on a chase, that began in Chicago, stopped at the River Oaks Mall in south suburban Calumet City to change clothes and avoid detection. The suspects were apparently able to change their clothes and slip out before police could find them, sources told CBS 2's Jermont Terry. All this began when Chicago police began chasing the suspects onto the Bishop Ford Freeway, exiting on 159th and then arrived at the mall. The incident prompted a soft lockdown at the mall. "They stopped the van at the front door and three boys ran in the mall," said one witness. Sean Howard, a spokesman for Calumet City, said it appeared when Chicago police were in pursuit of the suspects, there was "a lot of zig zagging on the expressway at a high rate of speed." Officers followed but it wasn't clear which store the men ran into. Police surrounded every exit and gave orders to store managers. But police said they could not find the suspects after a thorough search of the mall and adjacent shopping areas.  cbsnews.com

Beaumont, TX: Crime Stoppers tip leads to arrest of Game X Change armed robbery suspect
Thanks to a Crime Stoppers tip, Brandon Mayberry was taken into custody at an apartment building in the south end of Beaumont by police at around 8 p.m. Saturday.  12newsnow.com



C-Store - Fall River, MA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Bennettsville, NC - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Mohnton, PA, - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Elkhart, IN - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Springfield, MA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Orange County, NC - Burglary
C-Store - Lacey, WA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Lacey, WA - Armed Robbery
Clothing - Oakland, CA - Burglary
Dollar - Gary, IN - Armed Robbery
Dollar - Albuquerque, NM - Armed Robbery
Gas Station - New Castle, DE - Armed Robbery
Hardware - Lady Lake, FL - Robbery
Jewelry - New Lenox, IL - Robbery
• Jewelry - Auburn, WA - Burglary
Liquor - Memphis, TN - Burglary
Liquor - Madison County, MS - Armed Robbery
Liquor - Calvert County, MD - Armed Robbery
Marijuana - Bellevue, WA - Armed Robbery
Tobacco - San Francisco, CA - Burglary
Vape - Akron, OH - Armed Robbery


Daily Totals:
• 16 robberies
• 5 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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