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Felipe Chavez, CFI promoted to Senior Regional Asset Protection Manager for Dollar Tree/Family Dollar

Felipe has been with Family Dollar since 2021. Before his promotion to Senior Regional Asset Protection Manager for Dollar Tree/Family Dollar, he served as Regional Asset Protection Manager for nearly two years. Prior to Family Dollar, he spent more than 18 years with Signet Jewelers as Regional LP Manager. Earlier in his career, he held roles with Z Gallerie and Robinsons-May. Congratulations, Felipe!

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Q&A with Dara Riordan, President of FaceFirst

In a recent RetailWire poll, 77 percent of respondents said facial recognition is very likely to be used as an in-store anti-theft tool in the next three to five years. Your take?

Retailers are looking for tools to make stores safer for employees and customers. Every retailer already uses facial recognition. The question is: Are they doing facial recognition manually, which is slow and error-prone, or using AI-assisted face matching, which is faster and more accurate? The latest LPRC research shows that humans using face matching software are nearly eight times more accurate. During LPRC's tests, 76.7 percent of loss prevention participants without face matching assistance misidentified fictional subjects in a photo lineup of just 20 faces. There's a significant risk for retailers not using face matching technology.

Is loss prevention the primary use case for facial recognition in retail?

FaceFirst's rapid adoption has been driven by retailers making store safety their top priority. Having an active threat management solution that alerts stores when violent offenders enter is critical in today's retail environment. Our stores are facing a safety crisis. Last year, 582 employees, customers, and security professionals were killed in stores, according to D&D Daily. Add that death toll to the everyday abuse, assaults, and threats the employees endure. FaceFirst's face matching technology alerts instantly when known threats enter. Our real-time notifications help you keep your valued employees and customers safer.

Loss prevention is undoubtedly a factor. Face matching software lets our clients know who their biggest recidivists are. They can quickly identify ORC rings and build cases to shut them down. Our technology can do in minutes what would take humans days or weeks-if at all-using standard CCTV. FaceFirst lets retailers narrow their scope for efficient threat management.

Based in Austin, Texas, FaceFirst is a global leader in fast, accurate, and scalable face matching systems with high levels of security, privacy, and accountability. Learn more at facefirst.com.


The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

Retail Industry Continues to Sound the Alarm Over ORC
NRF CEO Discusses Consumer Spending, Alarming Rise in Organized Retail Crime on CNBC's "Squawk Box"
WASHINGTON, August 23, 2023 - This morning, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay joined hosts Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC's "Squawk Box" for an in-depth interview on the state of the consumer and why retailers continue to sound the alarm on the dramatic rise in organized retail crime (ORC).

NRF's latest research on retail crime shows shrink is a nearly $100 billion problem and growing. Another study cited from NRF and global risk advisory firm K2 Integrity found that ORC groups are growing in both their scope and complexity, making them harder to stop.

An Industry-wide Challenge:

Shay: "We ought to call this what it is: stealing. It's hard to track. There's no question about that. But the one thing that's been pretty consistent with conversations with CEOs and earnings calls, shrink, theft, shoplifting and organized retail crime have become a theme across many brands and segments."

Federal Solutions for ORC:

Shay: "With the INFORM Act, they [marketplaces] made a commitment to step up and ensure this gets handled the right way. Another piece of this is passing the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act, which is pending in Congress now with bipartisan support. That will make sure that federal authorities coordinate with local and state law enforcement, municipalities, cities and towns to really provide the resources they need."

As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF has spearheaded industry efforts to address ORC, including a national grassroots campaign in support of the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act. NRF is declaring October 26 Fight Retail Crime Day and is convening retailers in Washington, D.C. to advocate for passage of the legislation.  cnbc.com

Businesses Speak Out Against California Shoplifting Bill
SB 553 aims to prohibit employers from requiring workers to confront active suspected shoplifters

Stop retail theft? This bill would promote it
While California has a long, sad history of poorly thought-out laws often passed for reasons of ideology, there is no way state legislators can pretend after passage that they weren't warned about the current SB 553, the brainchild of Silicon Valley state Sen. Dave Cortese, a Democrat.

His measure, which had a committee hearing just three days after a flash mob of 30 or more men and women pulled a snatch-and-grab robbery of a Nordstrom store in the Westfield Topanga Mall in the Canoga Park section of Los Angeles, passed the Senate on a 29-8 vote as a worker safety measure.

It aims to prohibit employers from requiring workers, even security personnel, to confront active suspected shoplifters. This, of course, raised the question of why any store would hire security folks if they can't be expected to confront thieves they've caught in the act. Why also have security cameras making videos in stores? Why not just give everything away?

The very minimal consequence of this proposed new law would be that retailers of all types will keep almost all goods of significant value behind locked glass panels, thus preventing shoppers from examining possible purchases except under supervision and preventing many customers in grocery and drug stores from scrutinizing ingredient lists. It promises to make shopping a stark, inauspicious experience.

Cortese says his bill aims to protect retail employees from violence by relieving them of any responsibility to confront thieves, even if that's the job they were hired for.

But retailers say the real life consequence will amount to an open invitation for thieves to take whatever they like, just like the latest large flash mob, which stole more than $100,000 worth of jewelry and designer goods from the Topanga Mall Nordstrom and then fled in a fleet of cars reportedly including multiple luxury BMW and Lexus vehicles.

For about 500 small business owners traveled to Sacramento from points like Fresno, Modesto and the North San Francisco Bay area to protest SB 553 and urge legislators to protect small businesses, not their predators.

Said one demonstration organizer, "SB553 will create a field day for criminals to sue small business owners, giving criminals the double jackpot to steal from the business ... and again by suing them in a shakedown lawsuit. All Californians will pay the price for billions of dollars lost to growing retail theft." chicoer.com  abc10.com

NAACP Urges Oakland to Declare State of Emergency Over Crime
Oakland Mayor Thao defends efforts to combat crime amid rising criticism
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said Tuesday the city is "working day and night" to address rising crime by investing in violence prevention programs and expanding collaboration with the governor and Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

Thao said her administration is trying to improve Ceasefire, the Police Department's anti-violence program, working with the California Highway Patrol to enforce traffic laws, installing more license plate readers throughout the city and working with the sheriff's office to set up checkpoints for drivers under the influence.

Her comments on public safety come nearly a month after the Oakland NAACP urged city officials to declare a state of emergency over crime and lambasted them for "being quiet" about the violence.

As of this week, violent crime in Oakland is up by 18% compared with the same time last year, robberies are up by 27%, burglaries are up by 44% and vehicle theft is up by 47%, according to city data.

Homicides are down by 5%, but over the past few days, two people have been shot and killed in the city. One was killed in East Oakland on Sunday, and another was fatally wounded at a Shell gas station on Monday. sfchronicle.com

Highest Property Crime Rates Of California's 10 Largest Cities - Higher Than SF
Oakland's crime rates are surging. Here's how they compare with S.F. and other Bay Area cities
As of early July, Oakland's homicide count was up by 37% compared with 2019 and reported robberies were up by about 30%. Property crime jumped too, particularly car-related crimes: Car break-ins were up by over 40%, while vehicle thefts had more than doubled.

In an open letter published July 27, leaders of the NAACP's Oakland branch called on local officials to declare a state of emergency over what they called an "intolerable public safety crisis" that disproportionately impacted Black residents in East Oakland, the city's violent crime epicenter.

"Murders, shootings, violent armed robberies, home invasions, car break-ins, sideshows, and highway shoot-outs have become a pervasive fixture of life in Oakland,"

And Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his office would send Oakland a handful of California Highway Patrol officers and a loan to install license plate readers after Mayor Sheng Thao and the police force requested help.

The city also has abnormally high property crime. Oakland has the highest rate of property crime of California's 10 largest cities, eclipsing even San Francisco. sfchronicle.com

LA's Retail Crime Crackdown
Burbank Police Department Joins LA County Task Force to Stem Retail Theft
The Burbank Police Department has partnered with law enforcement agencies across Los Angeles County establishing a task force to investigate, apprehend and prosecute suspects who have committed retail theft as businesses grapple with an uptick of smash-and-grabs in recent weeks.

In a press conference Thursday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced the Organized Retail Crimes Task Force that will focus on retail crimes across the county. The task force will include detectives and investigators from the Burbank Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol, Glendale Police Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, Santa Monica Police Department, U.S. Marshals Apprehension Task Force and Federal Bureau of Investigation Task Force.

Prosecutors from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, Los Angeles city attorney's office and the California attorney general's office will join the task force as well to ensure suspects are prosecuted to the "fullest extent of the law," according to Bass. burbankleader.outlooknewspapers.com

San Francisco's Doom Loop Confirmed By Study
Way too many political chefs in the kitchen

'City Hall is failing': New report says SF is broken, offers road map to fix it
How can San Francisco fix what's broken as it struggles with political dysfunction, a battered downtown, and spiraling housing, drug and homelessness crises?

The study lands as San Francisco continues to struggle with crime, homelessness, drug use and a commercial exodus from its downtown corridors.

A large majority of residents, 65%, said that life in the city is worse than when they first moved here sfchronicle.com

Retail theft on the rise, and it could cost consumers, too

Australia: Why supermarkets are seeing more theft in their stores

Scientists use new method to calculate the annual probability of a mass shooting



Massive Safety Agreement Reached Between Dollar Tree & OSHA
Retailer agrees to safety changes & OSHA settles five outstanding cases for $1.35 million

Dollar Tree Inc. Agrees to Sweeping Safety Deal After 403 OSHA Violations. Is Dollar General Next?
Dollar Tree Inc. has agreed to a corporate-wide settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor after the discount retail company received 403 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) store safety violations during more than 360 inspections since 2017.

Under the agreement, Dollar Tree must conduct a comprehensive, nationwide assessment of the root causes of the violations OSHA has repeatedly cited at multiple Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, with a plan to make operational changes to correct them within two years.

"Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have been working with us in good faith for years to reduce these hazards, and we believe it has proposed a plan that is genuinely going to make a significant impact on improving safety and health for its workers," said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker, in a media briefing unveiling the agreement Tuesday.

To ensure it quickly mitigates any future violations related to blocked exits, unsafely stacked boxes, access to fire extinguishers and electrical panels and improper material storage at stores nationwide, the dollar store company must correct hazards and later submit proof the hazards were corrected within within 48 hours of receiving OSHA's notification.

As part of the settlement, Dollar Tree Inc. is paying up $1.35 million in penalties to settle contested and open inspections and similar alleged violations. The agreement, which was official as of Thursday, covers 10,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores within federal OSHA jurisdiction.

Under the deal, Dollar Tree Inc. will form safety advisory groups with extensive employee representation, enhance its current hazard identification and control programs, develop an audit program, create a new employee training program and hire additional safety professionals.

Dollar Tree has also agreed to maintain a 24-hour hotline to receive safety complaints and establish a tracking system to ensure complaints are addressed. The deal also includes "very strong anti-retaliation protections," U.S. Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda told media.

The company will also hold quarterly meetings between OSHA, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar to discuss progress towards systemic improvements. If the current agreement is unsuccessful, or if the retail company balks at addressing systemic problems, OSHA can terminate the agreement.  dol.gov sourcingjournal.com

   Click here to read the Department of Labor's full press release

At-Risk Individuals Urged to Wear Masks Again
It may be time to break out the masks against Covid, some experts say
If you're at high risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, it's time to dust off those N95 masks and place them snugly over your nose and mouth to protect yourself from a recent uptick of the virus, according to a growing number of experts.

That advice should go all the way up to 80-year-old President Joe Biden, said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist. "Octogenarians comprise the highest-risk group for complications following Covid infection," Reiner said.

Other high-risk groups include people with diabetes, cancer, chronic liver, kidney or lung disease, organ or stem cell transplants, HIV or other immunocompromising conditions, a history of heart disease or stroke, dementia or mental health issues. yahoo.com

Solving Labor Challenges with AI
An AI-powered bot could take your next drive-thru order at one of these top fast-food restaurants
Automation tools, from AI to robotics, are growing in popularity as the restaurant industry continues to be challenged by labor shortages and turnover. About 58% of restaurant operators say using tech and automation to alleviate labor shortages will become more common this year, according to the 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry Report by the National Restaurant Association. businessinsider.com

Phillies launch MLB's first face recognition entry program at Citizens Bank Ballpark
There will be a lane available only at the first base gate that will have a facial recognition scanner.
Bath & Body Works opens 30 off-mall stores

New RadioShack Owner Pledges Growth, With U.S. Stores Possible

Quarterly Results

Kohl's Q2 comp's down 5%, net sales down 4.8%

Foot Locker Q2 comp's down 9.4%, total sales down 9.9%

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Cybersecurity Leaders Finally Getting Seat at the Table?
The End of "Groundhog Day" for the Security in the Boardroom Discussion?

As the SEC cyber incident disclosure rules come into effect, organizations will be forced to seriously consider giving security leaders a seat at the table.

It's been eight and half years since I first wrote about the need for security leadership representation in the boardroom. I then revisited the topic last year, when the SEC initially proposed amendments to its rules to enhance and standardize disclosures regarding cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident reporting.

Now, as the SEC cyber incident disclosure rules come into effect, organizations will finally be forced to seriously consider giving security leaders a seat at the table. It's the next logical step to be able to comply with the disclosure and oversight requirements as the new guidelines detail.

The positives of SEC involvement

Having some standardization of terminology, for example the definition of an incident and what is material and thus disclosure-worthy, will enable executive leadership to focus on exactly what is needed in the boardroom.

The implications to board composition

We all know that most companies employ a CISO or CSO these days, and that cybersecurity is a topic on the board's agenda. But if that individual is not actively sitting on the board, how confidently can that company state they have cyber risk oversight capabilities and management expertise in the boardroom?

A tangible win-win

Elevating CISOs to the board also demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the board is prioritizing cybersecurity. Invitations to present to the board at select times and investment reviews only during budgeting season will become a thing of the past. The stage is set for collaborative assessment of the people, processes, and technologies in place to protect the business and continuous review of the dynamic threat landscape and the investments needed to mitigate risk. securityweek.com

Ransomware Attacks Continue to Surge
Cybersecurity Companies Report Surge in Ransomware Attacks

Cybersecurity companies have released a dozen ransomware reports in recent weeks and most of them show a surge in attacks.

Ransomware attacks continue to be highly profitable for cybercrime groups and the recent reports released by various cybersecurity firms show that they are increasing both in terms of volume and sophistication.

AdvertisementAccording to NCC Group's July 2023 cyber threat intelligence report, the company saw over 500 attacks last month, an increase of 153% compared to one year ago, and a 16% increase compared to June, with the industrials sector continuing to be the most targeted. The company saw a 59% increase in ransomware attacks in Europe from June to July.

The surge recorded in recent months is in large part due to the Cl0p group, which targeted hundreds of organizations through the MOVEit hack. According to Emsisoft, 730 organizations and over 47 million people were hit directly and indirectly by the MOVEit attack as of August 19.

However, Guidepoint Security noted that the number of victims actually dropped in July if we exclude Cl0p's MOVEit victims. On the other hand, the company saw 36 active groups in July, compared to 28 in the previous month.

Several companies have reported seeing new ransomware groups emerge in recent months, some of which are actually the result of the rebranding of existing gangs. Newcomers include NoEscape, Cactus, Knight, BlackSuit, DarkRace, and Rhysida. Malwarebytes has a summary on some of these groups.

In terms of ransomware delivery attempts, SonicWall said it recorded 150 million attempts in the first half of 2023, which represents a 41% drop year-to-date. One key factor, according to SonicWall, is the shift to pure extortion attacks, which do not involve the distribution of file-encrypting malware. securityweek.com

FBI Dismantling Cyber Criminals Infrastructure - Following & Cutting Off the Money
FBI Director to cyber-criminals: "You can't hide behind a keyboard!"

DOJ: Roman Storm and Roman Semenov Charged with Operating the Tornado Cash Service, Laundering More Than $1 Billion in Criminal Proceeds
The charges in the Indictment arise from the defendants' alleged creation, operation, and promotion of Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer that facilitated more than $1 billion in money laundering transactions and laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for the Lazarus Group, the sanctioned North Korean cybercrime organization. ROMAN STORM was arrested today in the state of Washington. SEMENOV remains at large.

"While publicly claiming to offer a technically sophisticated privacy service, Storm and Semenov in fact knew that they were helping hackers and fraudsters conceal the fruits of their crimes. Today's indictment is a reminder that money laundering through cryptocurrency transactions violates the law, and those who engage in such laundering will face prosecution," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said: "Today's announcement should remind criminal organizations everywhere in the world that they are neither untraceable nor anonymous. You can't hide from us behind a keyboard - whether you're a hacker or facilitator. Those charged today engaged in a conspiracy to launder money for cybercriminals, including for a North Korean cybercrime organization seeking to evade sanctions. As we have with this operation, the FBI is going to keep dismantling the infrastructure used by cyber criminals to commit and profit from their crimes, and holding anyone who assists those criminals accountable." justice.gov

Breaking Up International Online Extortionists - The 'Digital Bandits'
FBI's Most Wanted Posting

'Digital Bandits' Teens Convicted Of Nvidia, Uber, Rockstar Games & Microsoft

Youths of hacking and blackmailing several tech firms

Kurtaj hacked into Grand Theft Auto and leaked video online

Two UK teenagers accused of being key members of the notorious hacking group Lapsus$, behind attacks on companies including Nvidia Corp., Rockstar Games Inc., and Uber Technologies Inc., were convicted of their crimes by a London jury Wednesday.

Lapsus$ are an international bunch of loosely connected online extortionists. The group confounded cybersecurity experts since it first appeared on a rampage of high-profile attacks between 2021 and 2022, causing millions of dollars of damages for its targets. The group appeared to hack for notoriety, financial gains and laughs, and used a number of techniques including pretending to be legitimate members of the firms staff to gain access to online systems. bloomberg.com

FBI Warns of Cryptocurrency Heists by North Korea's Lazarus Group

Tech advocacy groups press FTC to investigate Google for kid's privacy violations








Thank you for nominating Sapphire Risk!

We'd greatly appreciate if you would vote
Sapphire Risk Advisory Group for

"Cannabis Consulting Firm of the Year"

The winners will be announced on stage at The Pearl Theater at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on November 30, 2023.

Vote for Sapphire Here


Defending Against Another Type of Cannabis Boom
Explosion Proof Cameras in Cannabis
The cannabis industry continues to boom across the United States despite all the obstacles so far in 2020. States are continuing to become more receptive in regard to medical and recreational cannabis opportunities, encouraging visions of additional job openings and an improved economy. Although many states have different rules and regulations for their license winners, there are some that could be considered more essential than others.

Butane Use for Extraction

A few years ago, an explosion occurred at a wholesale cannabis distributor in Los Angeles, California, dispatching 230 firefighters, injuring twelve of those firefighters and left numerous buildings damaged. LA Cannabis News reported the explosion occurred due to oils being stored at the facility, creating the blast. The international distributor had supplies containing butane for hash oil. Butane is an odorless gas that is used to produce a concentrated form of cannabis, involving the inhalation of this potent THC form of cannabis.

Why Explosion Proof Cameras?

One of the most important cannabis security precautions in many states is having a robust, comprehensive video surveillance system installed. Requirements can include specific speculations like the resolution, frames per second, storage capacity, and particular locations for camera placement. Typically, most states will require that cameras be installed in all areas that cannabis is cultivated, harvested, processed, prepared, stored, handled, or dispensed.

Explosion proof or explosion protected cameras are certified for hazardous areas, like C1D1 rooms. These are important for visual verification for normal surveillance as well as capturing the event of an explosion. Not only are these items required for these areas, but they also come with quite the price tag, starting at $15,000, running up to nearly $50,000 and can have a lead time of anywhere from two to 6 months.

Price aside, these cameras can provide secure surveillance through events similar to the ones that transpired in California and Arizona. When operating a Class 1, Division 1 room, its imperative to have appropriate equipment and devices necessary to remain in compliance. Proper design for your facility is one significant component that will keep you, your employees and first responders all safe while producing the potent and profitable hash oil. sapphirerisk.com

Cannabis Industry 'Doom Loop'
New Jersey's weed industry is in a 'doom loop,' trade group says

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association issued a report placing blame for the state's slow growth in weed on the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

AdvertisementJust more than a year after beginning recreational cannabis sales, New Jersey's legal weed industry is in a "doom loop" of slow licensing and a lack of enforcement that is causing it to stagnate, a marijuana trade group says.

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association, which represents the majority of cultivators and dispensaries in New Jersey, issued a report Tuesday placing blame for the state's slow-growing marijuana industry on the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the agency that establishes and enforces regulations governing legal marijuana. The CRC, the report said, is "hindering the market's potential" due to a protracted licensing process.

"We're advocating starting with the removal of the bureaucracy," said Todd Johnson, the group's executive director. "We are making it difficult right at the point of entry for no reason."

New Jersey could be losing as much as $1.8 million a year in potential tax revenue per location, as a result of delayed retail store openings, the report concludes. In addition, the NJCTA points to the proliferation of unregulated hemp-derived cannabinoids and the state's minimal enforcement against illicit operators as reasons for slow industry growth. cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

How To Reframe Cannabis Compliance
Due to the sheer volume of statutes, regulations, and other guidelines cannabis businesses must comply with, developing a comprehensive cannabis compliance program is challenging. However, legal complexity may be one of many causes.

Prioritizing enforcement over providing compliance resources to licensees may also contribute to compliance struggles. When a jurisdiction legalizes cannabis, extensive resources are devoted to developing a regulatory structure and licensing process. After granting licenses, the remaining resources are commonly allocated to inspections and other enforcement measures. Meaningful compliance resources to help new licensees keep their doors open are rare. Focusing on enforcement and a gap in compliance outlets sets the stage for a contentious relationship between regulators and licensees.

Should the cannabis industry accept the adversarial relationship that often forms between regulators and licensees as the status quo, or should it reframe its approach to cannabis compliance? cannabisbusinessexecutive.com

A marijuana legalization question will be on Ohio's fall ballot

Marijuana use, binge drinking reached historic highs among adults 35 to 50




DOJ is Clamping Down On Amazon Sellers - In the Crosshairs of the FBI
DOJ: Five Amazon Marketplace Sellers and Four Amazon Marketplace Companies Sentenced for Price Fixing
Five individuals and four companies have been sentenced for participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices of DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs sold on the Amazon marketplace. This investigation has resulted in a total of six individual guilty pleas and four corporate guilty pleas.

Victor Btesh, of New York, was sentenced to 18 months in prison incarceration followed by two years of supervised release and a fine of $38,000. Btesh's three companies - Michelle's DVD Funhouse, MJR Prime and Prime Brooklyn - were sentenced to a $156,520, $125,688 and $61,844 criminal fines, respectively, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Additionally, Emmanuel Hourizadeh, Raymond Nouvahian, Morris Sutton, Bruce Fish and Fish's company, BDF Enterprises Inc., were all sentenced on July 21, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Hourizadeh and Nouvahian, both of New York, were each sentenced to one month in prison, seven months of home confinement, a criminal fine of $55,000 each and two years of supervised release. Sutton, of New Jersey, was sentenced to one month in prison, five months of home confinement, a $20,000 criminal fine and two years of supervised released. Fish, of Minnesota, was sentenced to six months in prison, six months of home confinement, a $48,750 criminal fine and two years of supervised released. BDF Enterprises was sentenced to a $234,000 criminal fine.

"Conspiring to fix prices in online marketplaces is a federal crime," said U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III for the Eastern District of Tennessee. "These convictions and sentences demonstrate our office's commitment to prosecuting price-fixing conspiracies and to protecting consumers in the Eastern District of Tennessee from paying inflated prices in online marketplaces."

According to court documents, thedefendants agreed with co-conspirators to raise and maintain the prices of DVDs and Blu-Rays sold through Amazon marketplace storefronts, resulting in those products being sold at collusive and noncompetitive prices. justice.gov

TikTok Wages War Against the Competition
TikTok plans to ban links to outside e-commerce sites like Amazon, new report claims
TikTok is planning to ban links to outside e-commerce links, such as Amazon, according to a new report from The Information. The reported move is seen as a way for the company to force people to use TikTok Shop if they want to purchase an item that they see on the app.

The report also says TikTok Shop is on track to lose more than $500 million in the U.S. this year. The $500 million loss reflects the company's deep investment in hiring, creating a delivery network and subsidizing merchants that offer discounts and free shipping.

By banning outside e-commerce links, TikTok would prevent creators from promoting things like kitchen items and furniture that are available on their Amazon storefront. If someone buys an item listed on an influencer's Amazon storefront, the influencer makes a small commission. With these reported changes, creators would no longer be able to do so. techcrunch.com

The road ahead for ecommerce fraud prevention

Experian Consumer Services Agrees to Injunction and $650,000 Civil Penalty for Allegedly Sending Emails to Consumers Without Giving Future Opt-Out Option







Gun Runners Burglary Crew Arrested
DOJ: Four from Peoria Charged with Conspiring to Steal Firearms from Licensed Dealers/Stores in Spring Valley, Taylorville, Le Roy, Lincoln, Decatur, and Bloomington
PEORIA, Ill. - A federal criminal complaint filed August 21, 2023, charges four people from Peoria, Illinois, with conspiring to steal firearms from six different locations in central Illinois between August 14, 2023, and August 18, 2023. Terrence Daniels, 23; Dezmond Hardy, 22; Erika Garner, 21; and Shaleik Ward, 19, are each charged with one count of conspiring to steal guns from a federal firearms licensee. All four were arrested on Friday, August 18, 2023, and the complaint and affidavit were unsealed at their court appearances on Monday, August 21, 2023,

As alleged in the complaint affidavit, on August 14, 2023, police officers were dispatched to an attempt burglary at Mean Metal, a gun dealer in Spring Valley, Illinois, and discovered that a glass window of the business had been shattered. On August 15, 2023, officers responded to an attempt burglary at Powder Keg Outfitters, a gun dealer in Taylorville, Illinois. As with the first attempt burglary, officers discovered that a glass window on the business had been shattered.

Additional attempt burglaries were reported at Guns and Glory in Le Roy, Ill., Tactical Bunker in Lincoln, Ill., Archers Alley in Decatur, Ill., and Smiley's Sport Shop in Bloomington, Ill.

If convicted of conspiring to steal firearms, each defendant faces up to five years' imprisonment. The charges also carry up to three years of supervised release and a possible fine of up to $250,000. justice.gov

Suspects in organized thefts at Best Buy stores in Twin Cities arrested in Oklahoma
Four adults from California accused of carrying out organized retail thefts from Best Buy stores in the Twin Cities and beyond are facing new criminal charges. The suspects were arrested during an alleged theft at a Best Buy store in Moore, Oklahoma on July 20, according to the criminal complaints filed in Dakota County District Court this month. Investigators allegedly matched the suspects' photos to those of the suspects sought in connection with the string of thefts in Minnesota. The suspects now facing charges in connection with the Twin Cities thefts are: Yessenia Polanco, 42, of Torrance, CA; Jacqueline Pavon, 38, of Torrance, CA ; Davis Antonio Rugama, 33, of Inglewood, CA;. Layorny Feliz Flores, 39, of Torrance CA. Each face one felony count of theft, with a maximum sentence of ten years in prison if convicted. Charges allege the suspects carried out organized thefts at the Best Buy stores in Eagan, Apple Valley and Eden Prairie the afternoon of June 9, stealing over $13,500 worth of merchandise. An organized crime manager with Best Buy estimates the foursome is responsible for at least 23 thefts, totaling approximately $56,000 in losses, according to the criminal complaint bringmethenews.com

Leesburg, FL: Members of Leesburg crime family caught stealing from Rural King
A Leesburg man arrested along with his brother by a SWAT team in June is back in the Lake County Jail after he and another relative were caught stealing almost $3,000 worth of merchandise from Rural King. Aaron Michael Byrne, 42, of 1309 Maugans Ave., was charged with two counts of retail theft (greater than $750) and resisting (obstructing without violence) after the Aug. 13 incident at the farm and home supply store located at 1715 U.S. Hwy. 27. Shawn Timothy Byrne, 49, of the same address, was charged with one count of retail theft (greater than $750). The familial relationship between the two was not mentioned in the arrest report from the Leesburg Police Department. Both men have been in trouble with the law numerous times. In June, Aaron Byrne and his 53-year-old brother Jeffery Wayne Byrne were arrested when a SWAT team showed up with a search warrant at the Maugans Ave. residence. Jail records show Aaron Byrne with a half-dozen other arrests, including one in 2015 for cocaine possession. Shawn Byrne's prior arrests include one in March 2021 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon when he swung a baseball bat at a woman he was chasing. He was also arrested in June 2020 when he was found at a known drug house with methamphetamine and paraphernalia.  leesburg-news.com

Thieves ransack Beverly Hills wig shop that serves Cancer patients
Surveillance video shows a group of thieves smashing their way into a Beverly Hills boutique that makes wigs for cancer patients. The incident happened Monday night at The Wig Fairy on La Cienega Boulevard. The footage captured the moment at least three people broke in and ransacked the store. The thieves got away with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, but the owner says they took more than just inventory - they took time away from women who are fighting through tough times. "We had to make such heartfelt phone calls today. Calling clients and letting them know that 'I'm so sorry that you've waited but I can no longer ship you the wig and I need you to wait again'...which is not normally the answer," said Mona Zargar, the store's owner. "Because if someone is going through treatment, they're expecting their hair to fall out pretty much on the second treatment. So they don't have time to wait." The Wig Fairy is now working around the clock to get back on track and help their customers regroup.  abc7.com

Livingston, NJ: Arrests Made in Shoplifting Incidents at Three Businesses
Over the span of four days, Livingston police responded to Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom Rack and Macy's on separate reports of shoplifting. Six individuals were arrested, including four New York men in connection to the Ulta Beauty incident, a Morristown man in connection to the Nordstrom Rack incident and a Massachusetts man in connection to the Macy's incident, according to Livingston police. At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Livingston officers were called to Ulta Beauty at 530 W Mt Pleasant Avenue, where the actors involved in a shoplifting incident had already fled the scene. Store employees informed responding officers that the suspects entered the store, shoplifted numerous bottles of perfume/cologne valued at more than $2,000 and fled the store in a Jeep. A Livingston officer was able to stop the suspect vehicle near the Livingston traffic circle, and the four suspects were taken into custody.  tapinto.net

Port St. Lucie, FL: Women's shoplifting binge of $2,300 of perfume and liquor lands them behind bars

Woodland, CA: Shoplifting suspect with $600 worth of merchandise in cart arrested

Suffolk County, NY: Hunt for Thieves Who Snatched $500 Worth of Merchandise from Medford Target

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Shootings & Deaths

Rochester, NY: Man killed during fight inside convenience store
Police are investigating a homicide on the city's west side Wednesday night. Officers responded to the mini-mart at 1218 Jay Street for the report of a fight inside the store. A man believed to be between the age of 50 and 60 was found dead inside the shop, according to RPD. Investigators determined the victim was assaulted by an unknown suspect outside the store, and the incident continued inside, where the victim was killed. The exact cause of death is under investigation, and police did not say whether there have been any arrests in the case.  13wham.com

Denver, CO: Arvada man accused of killing 10 at Boulder King Soopers in 2021 is competent for trial
A Colorado man charged with killing 10 people at a Boulder supermarket in 2021 is competent to proceed toward a trial, prosecutors said Wednesday. The district attorney's office announced Wednesday that experts at the state mental hospital say Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa no longer has a mental disability that prevents him from helping in his defense and can now participate in the court case against him. A judge still must accept their conclusion in order for criminal proceedings to resume, it said in a statement. Earlier this year, defense lawyers confirmed Alissa has schizophrenia, a mental disorder which causes people to have trouble understanding reality. Being deemed mentally competent does not mean Alissa has been cured, just that experts think he is able to understand the proceedings and able to consult with his lawyers about his case, helping them defend him. The March 22, 2021, attack at a King Soopers grocery shocked a state that has seen its share of mass shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. The mass shooting killed a police officer, shoppers and several store employees at the supermarket in Boulder, a college town about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Denver.  sentinelcolorado.com

Cass County, MI: Beer-toting customer who stopped robbery won't be charged
A man accused of trying to rob a Cassopolis gas station while armed with a box cutter in July faces several charges, while the beer-toting customer who fired seven shots at the would-be robber will not be charged, according to the prosecutor. The Cass County prosecutor's office announced Tuesday that Cordelius Anthony Martin, 35, was arraigned Aug. 17 on charges of armed robbery, assault with intent to rob while armed and felonious assault. Martin was charged as a fourth-time habitual offender, and his bond was set at $100,000, the prosecutor said. Meanwhile, the prosecutor said the customer inside the Stone Lake Marathon Mini Mart who shot at the would-be robber will not face any charges. The customer had a valid concealed pistol license, as well as previous experience as a security guard, according to the prosecutor's office. The suspect was taken to a hospital in South Bend, Indiana for his injuries and later released.  newsnationnow.com

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Hate Crimes - Two Robbers Targeting Customers in Grocery Stores, Restaurants & Gas Stations
DOJ: South Carolina Man and Woman Plead Guilty to Hate Crime and Conspiracy for Bias-Motivated Armed Robberies Targeting Hispanic Victims
A South Carolina man and woman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Columbia, South Carolina, to a federal hate crime, conspiracy and other charges.

According to court documents, beginning in January 2021 and continuing through February 2021, Gabriel Brunson, 20, and Sierra Fletcher, 33, both of Columbia, conspired to target people the defendants identified as Mexican or Hispanic at places of public accommodation, including gas stations and grocery stores. After identifying these targets, the defendants would rob their victims at gunpoint. The defendants targeted their victims because of their victims' race and national origin.

Both defendants admitted their involvement in a Jan. 22, 2021, armed robbery in which the defendants followed their victims from a grocery store and restaurant to their home, and then robbed the victims at gunpoint, stealing cash and a cellphone. Fletcher admitted to being involved in several other robberies on Jan. 30, 2021. justice.gov

Chicago, IL: 17-year-old robbed 4 North Side stores at gunpoint, carjacked driver
A 17-year-old boy arrested after robbing a Walgreens in Andersonville has been linked to five additional robberies, including a carjacking, this week, Chicago police said Wednesday. Police separately announced that a 19-year-old man helped him commit some of the crimes. Around 5 p.m. Monday, the boy and his alleged accomplice, Tyler Shields, carjacked a 45-year-old man of a 2024 Audi Q5 in the 6000 block of South Peoria and then used the vehicle on a crosstown crime spree, according to the allegations. About two hours later, a 911 caller reported that two masked men had just walked into Walgreens, 5440 North Clark, in Andersonville. Police said the men ordered a cashier to open the registers at gunpoint. Cops arrived on the scene as the robbers pulled out of a parking space on Clark Street. The getaway driver crashed the Audi into a vehicle that was parked in front of it, and both robbers ran from the scene. Officers arrested the 17-year-old and Shields nearby and recovered one firearm from each of them, CPD said in a media statement Monday evening.  cwbchicago.com

Horry County, SC: 6 teens arrested, charged with assault by a mob after allegedly beating man in the Myrtle Beach Mall parking lot
Horry County police arrested six teenagers over the weekend after a man was assaulted in a mall parking lot, according to reports. Officers responded to the parking lot of Twin Peaks at the Myrtle Beach Mall on Aug. 18 around 10:16 p.m. for a call of an active assault. When officers arrived they found the victim with extensive facial injuries. The victim suffered a broken nose, swelling on his face and skull, bruises and marks consistent with being kicked in the skull, a cut on his upper lip and his right eye was swollen shut. The victim was able to provide police with an alias of one of his accused attackers who drove off in a grey Toyota Tacoma and police used it to identify the suspect as 18-year-old Vincenzo Belmonte and later arrest him at his home. All six suspects were charged with second-degree assault by a mob.  wmbfnews.com

Cleveland, OH: Irate' thief rams Target employee with scooter, exposes himself
An "irate" theft suspect accused of ramming a Target employee with a motorized scooter, exposing his "private parts," and threatening to get a gun is wanted, Cleveland police confirmed, and detectives need help identifying the suspect. A Target loss prevention employee saw a man in a motorized scooter taking items from the shelf and placing the merchandise in a bag, according to police. The man left the store when he was approached by the employee, said police. Police said the suspect became "irate" and started ramming the employee with the scooter. The man then exposed his "private parts" while making threats to get a gun and come back, according to police. The man then took off in his scooter, said police.  cleveland19.com

Santa Ana, CA: Man gets 11 years in prison for $400,000 Southern California auto theft scheme
A 49-year-old convicted robber and burglar was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison for stealing or attempting to steal 10 vehicles in an identity theft scheme that spanned multiple Southern California counties and caused losses of more than $400,000. Parret would use stolen identities to open lines of credit and purchase high-end vehicles from various dealerships. "Many of the stolen vehicles were subsequently transported across the border to Mexico for displacement," said a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Taskforce for Regional Auto Theft Prevention.  presstelegram.com

Brown County, WI: Armed search in Howard for suspected national ATM theft gang
The Brown County Sheriff's Office says armed officers were searching for suspected members of the Hook & Chain Gang that have been stealing from ATMs across the country.

'It's a war zone': Oakland business owner chases down man stealing his tow truck



Auto - Oakland, CA - Robbery
Beauty - Los Angels, CA - Burglary
C-Store - Chicago, IL - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Jasper, TX - Armed Robbery
CVS - Westbury, NY - Armed Robbery
Cellphone - Grand Rapids, MI - Robbery
Cinema - Warwick, RI - Burglary
Gas Station - Lafayette, CA - Armed Robbery
Gaming - Norfolk, VA - Robbery
Grocery - Chicago, IL - Armed Robbery
Hardware - Minden, NV - Burglary
Hardware - Carson City, NV - Burglary
• Jewelry - Brea, CA - Robbery
• Jewelry - Aurora, IL - Robbery
• Jewelry - Toms River, NJ - Robbery
• Jewelry- Brunswick, GA - Robbery
Macy's - Livingston, NJ - Robbery
Nordstrom Rack - Livingston, NJ - Robbery
Restaurant - Baltimore, MD - Burglary
Restaurant - Chicago, IL - Burglary
Restaurant - Coconut Creek, FL - Burglary
Restaurant - Erie, PA - Burglary
Target - Warwick, RI - Burglary
Ulta - Livingston, NJ - Robbery
Walgreens - Chicago, IL - Armed Robbery
Walgreens - Chicago, IL - Armed Robbery          


Daily Totals:
• 17 robberies
• 9 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed

Click to enlarge map



Gus Lenhard promoted to Asset Protection Business Partner for Target

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MN, MO, IL, KS, WI, MI, IN, or WA - posted June 27
We are looking for a Regional Director of Loss Prevention to join us in MN, MO, IL, KS, WI, MI, IN, or WA. You will develop, execute, and maintain shrink and shrink compliance initiatives. You will also conduct internal and external field investigations, loss control auditing, store safety programs, and compliance programs and audits...

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Loyalty is one of the most precious values there is and a loyal team that's unified in its goals and objectives, even in defeat, is strong and supportive. Loyal teams can make the largest tasks seem effortless and they create a sense of ownership of family that inspires individual performance and comforts individual failure. Earned slowly and grown daily, loyalty is a commodity no leader can be without because it fuels success, unifies purpose, and gives birth to exceptional performance. Without loyalty, teams splinter and lose focus on the true objectives. It's rare to build a truly loyal team and it's incredibly difficult to keep them together long term with private agendas always pressuring the balance. And yes, even loyal teams require balancing because at the end of the day it's always about personal agendas. Professional sports teams are constantly looking for that balance and the right players to fit as a team and the same holds true in business. With the right team, anything is possible and conversely one team member can destroy the entire balance. So being a team player is important even when you decide not to be.

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