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The D&D Daily's 'Top 10' of 2023

2023: The Year Organized Retail Crime Took Center Stage

2023 was an eventful year for the retail industry, focused heavily on rising crime and violence in stores. Read below to see the Top 10 News Articles and ORC cases reported in the D&D Daily throughout 2023.

Top 10 News Articles Published in the D&D Daily in 2023


#1 - Published on March 1, 2023

Walmart is closing a batch of stores in 2023 - here's the full list

#2 - Published on Sept. 13, 2023

Security's Most Influential People in Security 2023

The Most Influential People in Security 2023 have driven progress in the security & risk management field throughout their varied careers.

For the past 14 years, Security magazine has been recognizing the Most Influential People in Security. Our goal with this editorial awards project is to recognize some of the security executives, industry experts and professionals effecting change, influencing their organizations, and making a difference each and every day in the complex, ever-changing world of security and risk management.

These professionals, executives and leaders have been nominated by their colleagues or peers and were chosen based upon the unique stamp that each individual has had within the security landscape.

Click here to see the full list of security leaders

#3 - Published on June 29, 2023

Police Video From Texas Mall Shooting Released

Allen, Texas Mall Shooting Bodycam Footage Released
Allen mall video shows officer breathless, alone as he tracks down, kills shooter

The footage released Wednesday is the first detailed look at police response to the mass shooting at Allen Premium Outlets.

In the first detailed look at police response to the mass shooting at Allen Premium Outlets, body-cam footage released Wednesday shows the moments a lone officer ran toward rapid gunfire and ended the deadly rampage.

"This video shows how quickly a routine interaction with the public turned into a life-and-death situation," Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey said in a news release. "The officer recognized the danger, ran toward the gunfire and neutralized the threat - and for his actions, the Allen community is forever grateful."

Gunfire erupted outside the mall May 6, killing eight people, wounding at least seven and traumatizing hundreds more. The officer whose body camera footage was released fatally shot the gunman. He was nearby on an unrelated call.

#4 - Published on Sept. 8, 2023

Imprisoned Shoplifter Says New Laws & Anti-Theft Measures Won't Work
What will stop ORC? We went behind bars to ask a prolific shoplifter

Convicted felon explains how he ripped off stores & why anti-theft measures don't work

Martin Castaway is currently
serving seven years in prison for theft convictions in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. Castaway led a crime ring known as the "Castaway Crew," which hit big box retailers throughout the Portland area. We spoke with him inside the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario.

Kyle Iboshi: Did the presence of a security officer or loss prevention impact your decision on whether to go into a store or not?

Martin Castaway: Not really. If I see a security dude with a gun, I know he can't touch me. I got to a point where it was almost like a game to me. I wasn't stopping for nothing. Now, if I see a suspicious car in the parking lot who looks like a police officer, I'm going to have second thoughts on that. I'll probably just cruise through and keep going.

#5 - Published on July 19, 2023

Lidl to close 11 stores across the United States immediately

#6 - Published on Jan. 12, 2023

Shoplifters or Security Guards: What's the bigger financial burden?

#7 - Published on June 12, 2023

Why Walmart, Costco, and Sam's Club workers check your receipts

#8 - Published on Feb. 15, 2023

The D&D Daily's Exclusive & Industry's Only
Q4 & 2022 Retail Violent Fatalities Report

2022 The Most Violent Year in America's Retail Stores Ever With 694 Fatalities

• Fatalities up 86% from 2016 & 17% from 2021
• Incidents up 73% from 2016 & 16% from 2021


#9 - Published on Oct. 30, 2023

Security Dogs Added Outside NYC CVS Location
CVS & Home Depot follow Walmart with new ways to combat theft

All three companies are trying some pretty bold ways to cut down on theft to avoid having to close stores.

Walmart recently took the extreme step of
closing one Atlanta store with plans to reopen it with an on-site police station. That was a solution the retailer came to after talking with community leaders who did not want to see the city lose the retail giant, which has closed some locations in Chicago.

CVS adds security dogs

CVS, through a deal with The 34th Street Partnership, a New York City organization dedicated to promoting business,
has added security dogs in front of one of its locations. The dogs aren't only protecting CVS, but also neighboring stores.

Home Depot works with law enforcement

Home Depot worked with law enforcement in Florida to take down a crime ring that had targeted its stores. The criminals were arrested after an investigation by the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange taskforce, according to a press release from State Attorney General Ashley Moody.

#10 - Published on Nov. 29, 2023

New York Gov Faces Backlash After Vetoing Retail Crime Task Force
NY governor slammed for rejecting retail crime task force while store owners lose billions to theft
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is
under fire for vetoing a retail crime task force as retailers in the state report a loss of billions of dollars to shoplifting.

bill, which received bipartisan support, would have created a panel of experts to outline ways to respond to retail theft in New York State. Hochul rejected the bill last week, sparking outrage from retailers and lawmakers statewide.

"Retailers throughout the state are
extremely disappointed to learn that Governor Hochul vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have established the New York State Organized Retail Crime Task Force," Melissa O'Connor, the president and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, wrote in a statement. "I spoke with Governor Hochul at length to discuss the need for immediate action and an effective, collaborative response to this problem. She made it abundantly clear that retail theft prevention will be a priority for her administration, and we look forward to working with her to achieve results."

O'Connor's organization highlighted state retailers' self-reported
loss of $4.4 billion to shoplifting in 2022 as reason to form the task force.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers also condemned Hochul for the move, arguing that passing the bill would have brought "relief" to store owners


Top 10 ORC Cases Published in the D&D Daily in 2023

#1 - Published on Aug 31, 2023

$20 Million International Fencing Operation Shut Down
DOJ: Two Charlotte Businessmen Get 46 Months Prison For Selling 20,000 Fraudulently Obtained New iPhones Overseas
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Hamzeh Jamal Alasfar, 31, and Tayseer Issam Alkhayyat, 35, both of Charlotte, were each sentenced today to 46 months in prison for a multi-year scheme to buy, sell, and ship fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones to domestic and international buyers, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The defendants were also ordered to serve three years under court supervision after they are released from prison.

From 2013 through 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat engaged in a scheme to purchase fraudulently obtained and stolen new Apple iPhones and other electronic devices, which they then sold and shipped to buyers located in other states and foreign countries, including dozens of packages to the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Alasfar and Alkhayyat operated multiple businesses located in Charlotte, including Cellport International Inc. (Cellport) and D Town Wireless (D Town), which the defendants used to carry out the scheme. The defendants and their employees at D Town and Cellport purchased new iPhones, which were often still sealed in the box, at prices significantly below retail value from individuals who obtained the devices through fraud and theft. Between January 2019 and January 2020, Alasfar and Alkhayyat sold and shipped through Cellport more than 20,000 new iPhones for more than $20 million, many of which were fraudulently obtained.

On March 2, 2023, the defendants pleaded guilty to interstate and foreign transportation of stolen property. They will be ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving their prison terms upon designation of a federal facility.

This case was the result of the investigative efforts of CMPD and the Secret Service, which have established a fully integrated partnership to combat organized criminal groups operating in Charlotte.

#2 - Published on Dec. 19, 2023

San Diego County, CA: San Diego County woman arrested in $8M shoplifting ring targeting Ulta Beauty stores
A San Diego County woman has been arrested for her role in leading a nationwide shoplifting ring worth more than $8 million in beauty products, according to federal search warrants obtained by CBS 8. Federal agents identified Bonsall resident, Michelle Mack as the head of the criminal enterprise. According to the search warrants,
Mack paid as many as 12 people to steal from Ulta Beauty stores, as well as other retail outlets, and ship them to her Bonsall post office box.

In certain cases, Mack allegedly purchased plane tickets, rented cars and paid for hotels for the shoplifters who worked under her. CBS 8 has learned Ulta Beauty worked with authorities on the investigation into Mack. "We can confirm that Ulta Beauty partnered with law enforcement on this investigation but cannot share any details at this time as the case is still being processed," an Ulta Beauty spokesperson said in a statement to CBS 8. "At Ulta Beauty, we have a dedicated nationwide team of investigators who work closely with various law enforcement agencies and other retailers to solve complex cases involving organized theft operations. We are deeply committed to this issue and to ensuring a safe working environment for our associates and shopping environment for our guests."

Mack would then sell the stolen cosmetic items on Amazon under her company name, Online Makeup Store. The store, according to state business records, was registered to Mack under the name, 95 & Sunny Inc. The search warrants reveal that the investigation began in September 2021 when California Highway Patrol Officers began investigating 12 individuals who committed more than 230 thefts at Ulta Beauty stores in Southern California, including stores in San Diego County. After the investigation started, two of the suspected shoplifters were arrested for shoplifting at Ulta stores on the East Coast.

#3 - Published on Oct. 10, 2023

DOJ: Leader of $7M International Gift Card Fraud Scheme Convicted
federal jury convicted a Chinese national residing in Washington, D.C. yesterday on charges of conspiracy, access device fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial,
Qinbin Chen, 29, masterminded a criminal conspiracy that obtained, trafficked, used, and laundered gift cards and debit cards purchased by victims, who were mostly elderly, from across the United States. The victims were manipulated into buying Walmart gift cards by fraudsters who told the victims a range of lies,

The victims sent the gift cards to fraudsters who soon transferred them to Chen.
Chen employed conspirators runners to use the Walmart gift cards to buy other gift cards. Chen then sold those "clean" gift cards to overseas buyers. Though Chen reported little legitimate income, his bank accounts showed hundreds of thousands of dollars in incoming international wires. Evidence at trial suggested that Chen trafficked about $7 million in fraudulently obtained gift cards.

faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on December 18.

#4 - Published on Oct. 11, 2023

Chicago, IL: Chicago Police Find $5 Million Dollars Worth of Stolen Sneakers in Warehouse
The Chicago Police cracked down on a major criminal operation this week, uncovering a cache of stolen goods valued at millions of dollars in a West Side warehouse within the Windy City. CBS Chicago was the first to break the news about this significant bust. The police, investigating the case, have traced the origins of this operation back to the Austin neighborhood in Chicago. There, perpetrators targeted shipments on rail cars en route to retailers across the nation, making off with a trove of stolen merchandise. The West Side warehouse, in question, served as the central hub for these criminals, housing an astonishing hoard of pilfered items, including products from Nike, Adidas, Supreme, and UGG, collectively valued at nearly $5 million. Progress in the investigation gained momentum after authorities received a report of cargo theft in the vicinity. They traced these criminal activities back to the warehouse and subsequently obtained a search warrant, leading to the discovery of an extensive inventory of stolen goods.
Tom Heroin, Chief of Lyons Police, stated, "Whether it's Nike, UGG, Adidas, or Supreme products, a substantial volume of merchandise, worth an estimated minimum of $5 million, was seized."

#5 - Published on Sept. 29, 2023

Online Fraudster With "Professional Runners" Ran Nationwide "Simple Refund" Scheme
DOJ: Dearborn, Michigan man indicted for conspiracy, wire, and mail fraud for nearly $4 million refund fraud on U.S. retailers

Operated "Simple Refunds" where participants pay a fee to get purchase price refunded by lying about status of merchandise

Seattle - A 25-year-old Dearborn, Michigan, man was arrested today on an indictment returned in the Western District of Washington for a fraud scheme damaging retailers across the country.

Sajed Al-Maarej allegedly operated
"Simple Refunds" through the messaging service Telegram, where coconspirators were encouraged to purchase items from retailers Al-Maarej claimed he could defraud. Al-Maarej and his staff of "professional refunders" impersonated the purchaser and lied to the retailer about the status of the item to secure a refund for the purchaser, while permitting the purchaser to keep the ordered item. In Western Washington alone, one company lost $1.4 million to the fake refund scheme.

The Simple Refunds channel on
Telegram amassed a following of more than 1,000 subscribers. Al-Maarej used a second channel to post information on successful refunds.

The total value of the fraudulent refunds through Simple Refunds and Al-Maarej's own conduct is approximately $3.9 million.

#6 - Published on March 23, 2023

Pawn Shop Scheme Generated up to $3.5M in Revenue
Employees purchased stolen retail goods from shoplifters and delivery drivers for online retailers, paying cash for the items.

Kent, WA: Police recover millions in stolen property after pawn shop scheme
Pictures and videos from inside the Safeway Distribution Center show boxes and boxes of stolen merchandise - a printer, a home theater audio system, tools, a handbag, cosmetics. After several years, the Auburn Police Department has closed a multi-jurisdictional investigation into a pawn shop scheme. The Auburn-led investigation resulted in the recovery and return of "millions of dollars worth of stolen property ... to their rightful owners," according to the department's social media post.

The U.S. District Court in Seattle sentenced Aleksandr Pavlovskiy to six years in prison and 15 years of supervised release for trafficking in stolen goods and possession of child pornography after Pavlovskiy pleaded guilty to charges in October 2021.

According to the release, Pavlovskiy ran two pawn shops - Thrift Electro in Renton and Innovation Best in Kent - between 2013 and 2016. Following Pavlovskiy's direction, employees purchased stolen retail goods from shoplifters and delivery drivers for online retailers, paying cash for the items.

After establishing a warehouse in Kent for the storage and repackaging of stolen products for sale on eBay and Amazon in 2016, Pavlovskiy and his employees shipped hundreds of thousands of stolen items nationwide, according to police. The business generated between $1.5 million and $3.5 million in revenue between January 2017 and July 2019.

#7 - Published on June 2, 2023

Staten Island, NY: $2.6 million heist: Crew ransacks Staten Island luxury watch business
A burglary crew stole more than $2.6 million in luxury watches and cash from a Staten Island watch store on Memorial Day, police said Thursday as they released images of the suspects. The five men entered The Wrist Watcher on Arthur Kill Road in Tottenville around 10:30 p.m. Monday and worked together to remove a safe from the store, which specializes in buying and selling pricey watches like Rolex and Audemars Piguet. The safe contained $2.5 million worth of watches and $160,000 in cash, according to police.

#8 - Published on Jan. 17, 2023

Mesquite, TX: $2 million in jewelry stolen after concrete wall breached at mall
Someone at a Mesquite mall broke through a concrete wall in an abandoned Sears and then into a jewelry store, where they swiped around $2 million in jewelry, police said. The heist happened at American Jewelers at the Town East Mall, where the jewelry store shares a wall with an old Sears space. An employee arrived Saturday morning and discovered the theft, though police did not say what time they believe the break-in happened. When officers arrived, they found that someone had broken into the old Sears store and breached a concrete wall between the Sears and the jewelry store, a police statement said. Sheetrock was also "busted out to make entry to the jewelry store," police said. Inside the store, "a large amount of jewelry" was stolen, valued at around an estimated $2 million, the store employee told police. Police were still working with mall security to get any surveillance video from inside the mall. American Jewelers is located on the first floor of the Town East Mall and shares a wall with the old Sears space, on the northwest side of the mall.

#9 - Published on Dec. 5, 2023

Maricopa County, AZ: 'We will find you': Prosecutor cracks down on retail theft

Phoenix Police make arrests in several cases, including one that nabbed $2 million in merch from Home Depot

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has been making a list and checking it twice in an effort to crack down on retail theft rings ahead of the holiday shopping season. In recent weeks, Mitchell's office has announced cases against several people charged with organized retail theft - and thefts of more than $2 million in merchandise - along with highlighting a Safe Shopping campaign to enlist the public's help in thwarting the problem. Last year, MCAO received 301 cases of organized retail crime from local police agencies. Mitchell has said she expects the number of cases in 2023 to eclipse that of 2022. "People who come here to commit this type of crime will be held accountable. This is not another state where the DA is not charging these cases," Mitchell said during a Nov. 29 press conference. "We will find you. Police will arrest you. We will prosecute you and hold you accountable." Mitchell unveiled the
Safe Shopping campaign on Nov. 15 as an extension of her office's Organized Retail Crime Taskforce created in July 2022. Whereas the task force is focused on targeting and prosecuting organized retail theft offenders, Safe Shopping is a public-facing campaign. Mitchell reminded the public to be vigilant but also safe while shopping during a Nov. 29 press conference. "If you're a customer and you notice this type of activity while shopping, please report it to the store authorities," Mitchell said. "But do not engage with thieves" The Phoenix Police Department has also focused on retail thefts in recent months. In mid-September, the agency's Property Crimes Bureau compiled a list of repeat offenders and high-crime areas to survey. It took just four days to serve 248 warrants, make 64 arrests and seize five guns, according to a police press release.

#10 - Published on June 28, 2023

Nashua, NH: DOJ: Update: Man Accepts $700,000 Bribe To Reroute $2 Million Worth Of Stolen Apple Products, Pleads Guilty
Apple products are expensive, which makes them a lucrative target for thieves and robbers. We have previously covered how burglars cut through bathroom walls to steal over $500,000 worth of Apple products. Seemingly another story has emerged where a man in Nashua, New Hampshire, accepted a bribe of $700,000 to reroute $2 million worth of stolen Apple products. However, the man has pled guilty and will be charged accordingly. According to the United States District Attorney's Office in New Hampshire, Guangwei "William" Wu accepted a hefty bribe to redirect the stolen Apple products worth millions.

The man is pleading guilty to the "interstate transportation of stolen property." The man was the owner and worker at a transshipping company named Hai Xing Qiao. The transshipping company was hired by the victim to ship $2 million worth of Apple products to Hong Kong. However, it was presumed that the stolen Apple products would not reach their devised location. Another Hong Kong-based company called Yongfu Huo bribed Wu to redirect Apple products worth over $2 million to another location.

Wu received a hefty $700,000 bribe for the redirection of Apple products. The list of stolen products includes the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watches, and MacBooks models. However, the redirected Apple products never reached the location of Yongfu Huo as they were confiscated by law enforcement. This is where Wu forged the documents through his company and sent a false "Disclaimer of Ownership" document to the true owner of the stolen products. The document was issued by the United States Postal Inspection Service and also penned a fake signature of the relevant agent.