November 9, 2015

One year ago this week California passed Prop 47. This measure also known as the "Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act" reclassified several nonviolent crimes that were previously felonies into misdemeanors. Several drug and theft offenses were affected including petty theft (shoplifting). The passing of this proposition also created a new law in the California Penal
Code as follows:

459.5.  (a) Notwithstanding Section 459, shoplifting is defined as entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950). Any other entry into a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny is burglary. Shoplifting shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that a person with one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290 may be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170. (b) Any act of shoplifting as defined in subdivision (a) shall be charged as shoplifting. No person who is charged with shoplifting may also be charged with burglary or theft of the same property.

The creation of this new sub-section of 459, Burglary which is a Felony, virtually exempts the up-charging of any Shoplifting Offense under
$950. Prior to this law, a shoplifter who used burglary tools to commit their crime, including items such as an EAS Tag removal tool or booster
bag could be charged with felony burglary regardless of the amount they stole. It also nullifies 666 p.c. which is Petty Theft with priors, and
could previously charge as a felony any shoplifter who had been previously convicted of shoplifting as long as they had spent at least 1 night
incarcerated for previous theft(s). As California is a state that has no ORC law, these were the most common ways that Prolific Shoplifters
could easily be prosecuted successfully with felony charges.

The passing of Pop 47 affects approximately 40,000 felony convictions a year which is about 20% of the yearly convictions in the state.
Law enforcement and prosecutors claimed that passing this legislation would allow Police Officers to spend their time and efforts on more
serious and violent crimes and increase their response times. Monument Security which specializes in Retail Theft Apprehension services
provides Undercover Loss Prevention Agents at dozens of retailers throughout California and tracks all cases through a proprietary system.
In 2010 the tracking of suspect hold times in California showed that only 2% of all shoplifters were held for police for more than 2 hours by
LP Agents. In 2014 the over 2 hours hold time was at 16%.

From November 2015 to November 2016 Monument Security Loss Prevention Agents have detained more than 9,000 shoplifters in California.
Since the passage of Pop 47 we have seen an increase in shoplifting apprehensions of 10% over last year. While this number may be lower
than retailers anticipated, the reality is that this only represents persons arrested. It should also be noted that all we can measure are "Arrests."
The DA's office has their own autonomy in choosing weather or not to pursue criminal prosecution on the arrests. Just because the police issued
a case number does not mean that the case was followed through to prosecution. While the police are decreasing their case load, it is probably
safe to assume that the DA's office is doing so as well. If this is the case then the actual percent of prosecuted criminals is likely much less
than what we are assuming based on the arrests reported.  The likelihood that the DA's office has reduced their prosecution of those arrested
for shoplifting as well,  opens retailers up to wrongful arrest civil cases that arise when criminal charges are dropped. Just as significant is the
fact that the average detention amount statewide has also increased by $6 per case and hold times for shoplifters has not changed at all. We
have also seen an increased use of violence by offenders of 17% comparing all the shoplifting apprehensions of the year prior to the passage
of Prop 47 and this year since.

These losses may or may not have increased as a direct result of Prop 47, but it proves that we have a statistically significant increase in retail
crime apprehensions already in the first year of Prop 47, and a decrease in arrests by at least 10%.

It will be a surprise to no one when law makers and politicians claim that Prop 47 has been a success. Our LP Agents have been informed by
many police departments that they will not respond to the store for shoplifters and not to call them as it ties up their dispatch center. Other times
our attempts at law enforcement assistance are thwarted at the dispatch level when they call for an officer to respond. Regardless, our efforts to
even "Report" the crime of shoplifting is being attacked on all sides and if a crime goes unreported...... well then of course statistically it never happened, thus a reduction in crime and a successful Prop 47.

The Monument Security Loss Prevention division is working diligently with law enforcement partners as well as our retail partners to tackle this
issue and come up with "creative" legal ways to deal with shoplifters without prosecuting for shoplifting. We have even given pause to consider
reporting all our shoplifting cases through the online reporting options of most major police departments. Unfortunately the process is so
cumbersome and our volume so significant that it becomes financially prohibitive to even consider this option. Another option that is proving a
viable if not equal solution to this problem is the issuance of formal No Trespass warnings in violation of California Penal Code 602. We have not
had any problems receiving law enforcement assistance and prosecution for those who are arrested under this code. It is not without some efforts, however. Some jurisdictions will only prosecute on city Trespass Codes which in some areas like San Francisco are nearly impossible to enforce.
In other areas such as Sacramento, Loss Prevention Agents properly trained by the Police Department, are given the authority to issue formal
"No Trespass Notices" as if they were law enforcement officers and police will arrest on site any violators. While this is a real option for our more
prolific shoplifters it requires a presence of regular LP Agents at all high risk locations so that they might identify those previous offenders and
enforce the trespass violation. This is again an expensive solution and may require a significant change in the way many retailers have previously allocated their LP Agent coverage.

For those areas with more police presence and less crime in which they have not YET seen the full impact of Prop 47, prepare yourselves as it
is coming. In the areas when police notified us within a week of the new law their intention to no longer respond to shoplifting, like Oakland and
Richmond Police Departments, it is imperative that reports submitted for shoplifting by LP Agents be more detailed than ever before. In order to increase our slim chance of having a DA follow through in a prosecution, if we are lucky enough to secure an arrest, we must ensure that our
reports are ironclad and clearly and concisely demonstrate the elements of the crime and whenever possible admission statements from the
suspect(s).

Similar measures to California's Prop 47 have already passed in Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas and Georgia. This type of "Crime Reduction"
measure will likely see it's away across the county in short order. If nothing else, Prop 47 has significantly reduced the "Reporting" of crime and
as such is providing politicians, Sheriff's, Police Chiefs and District Attorney's  the ability to report statistical reductions in drug and theft crimes.
In my more than 20 years in Loss Prevention, Prop 47 is without a doubt the biggest blow to retail loss prevention efforts I have ever encountered.
It will take significant ingenuity and exhaustive efforts on the part of Loss Prevention executives to combat this one. As it stands now, we have
been defeated.

Connie Ribble
Vice-President of Loss Prevention
Monument Security, inc.

 

News Conference Title

Thieves Inc. Series Premiered Wednesday, September 11th at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network


NEW YORK, NY - August 13, 2013 - Food Network viewers take a comedic peek behind the scenes of what food and beverage retailers have to deal with when it comes to the constant threat of theft, as professional security experts Scott McDonald and Connie Ribble expose internal flaws and offer advice on how to prevent future loss in Thieves, Inc., premiering Wednesday, September 11th at 10pm ET/PT. American businesses have over 25 million dollars in theft every day, but this dynamic duo have made it their mission to put an end to thievery, one store at a time.

Over six weeks, each episode features Scott and Connie meeting business retailers to help pinpoint their shoplifting vulnerabilities and recommend unique low-cost solutions that will help stop real criminals from sneaking out with stolen merchandise. Using tactics they learned from decades of busts that border on the hilarious and unbelievable, Scott and Connie will go to the extremes to prevent theft. First by exposing and testing vulnerabilities at each location, Scott and Connie dress up in wigs and disguises to "steal" from their clients, sometimes even competing in a "steal-off" to see who can walk out with more products without paying. With the help of their hidden cameras, they then look to apprehend shoplifters red-handed. Scott and Connie's witty banter and upfront personalities help them get inside the mind of shoplifters as they go to extraordinary measures to stop ordinary crooks, and show owners for themselves how quickly small items can add up to much bigger losses.

WATCH OUR PROMO HERE | LIKE THIEVES INC ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW ON TWITTER @ThievesIncorp

Thieves Inc Food Network


News Conference Title

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Monument Security and Colorados New ORC Law

On Tuesday, 08/19/14, a major fencing operation in Colorado Springs was raided and closed. Safeway was the lead retail investigator on the case. The case began in mid-June of 2014 with an increase in booster activity from Colorado Springs to Castle Rock. The booster ring leader was identified as Rebekah XXX (pictured above), who had bright pink hair (thus the eventual name of the case). XXX was working with three (3) other primary boosters, all of whom were selling to a fence in the Springs area. Their primary targets were Safeway, King Soopers, The Home Depot and Lowes. Sr. Investigator Nathan Bandaries, in conjunction with Monument Security ORC Investigator Caraleigh Kahn, reached out to XXX and interviewed her. She agreed to cooperate with Safeway to close down the fence. She stated that on a “good day” she would manage to steal over $5,000.00 per day at Safeway and other locations. She estimated she took at least $50,000.00 from Safeway in six (6) months’ time. In all, she estimated she stole $350,000.00 from all area retailers.

Another Safeway undercover agent, Anthony Chittum – using XXX as the bridge – developed a relationship with the fence, a subject named Greg XXX of Colorado Springs. Greg sold the stolen goods he bought from the boosters on Amazon under the name Greg’s XXXXX. (Greg was also buying military supplies stolen in area burglaries.)  Chittum, at Bandaries’ direction, made three undercover sales of purported stolen merchandise to Greg. At this point, an undercover Colorado Springs police officer was introduced to Greg. Shortly thereafter, the police served warrants on Greg’s home. More than $9,000.00 in merchandise was recovered, including items with Safeway stickers from stores 0835, 1440, 1499, 1975, 2816 and 2839. Humphrey is charged with felony receiving stolen property. XXX and the other boosters will also be charged.

Safeway impact estimate:      $  50,000.00*
Total case value estimate:      $350,000.00*

Monument Security and Colorados New ORC Law


On Wednesday, 08/20/14, Safeway Loss Prevention participated in the case closure of a long-running merchandise fencing operation in south Denver. The case was opened in October of 2013. The fencing location was a residence at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Hampden district of Denver. The ORC operation consisted of a leader, a recruiter and 12 boosters. The boosters met in a heroin rehab facility and stayed in touch upon their release. The boosters main targets were Safeway, King Soopers and Walmart stores spanning from Longmont to Castle Rock.  Their items of choice included Lego kits, Rogaine, Nicorette and razor blades. Over the months, several boosters were apprehended and interviewed. The boosters revealed the location of the fence. The fence (home) was found to be operated by a female suspect named Forrest XXXXXX, age 49.  After purchasing the stolen goods from the boosters, she would sell the products on Amazon and eBay. Her eBay name was denverbooksXXXX. Her total eBay sales exceeded $520,000.00.

Even though the fence was in Denver, Thornton Police was the lead agency on the case.  Denver Police supported the operation. The joint agency task force served a search warrant on the home on 08/20/14. Forrest and one other individual was arrested.  All boosters will be charged as well. They will all face Colorado Organized Crime Act (COCA) charges. Forrest is facing a class 2 felony (the equivalent of 2nd degree homicide). Some $22,000.00 in stolen merchandise was recovered from the home. Many items contained Safeway store stickers from across the Denver metro area. 

Safeway’s lead on the case was Nathan Bandaries, Sr. Investigator–ORC. Supporting the case was Manager Jim Stein and investigators Jennifer Boykin and Todd Baxter. In addition, Caraleigh Kahn and Anthony Chittum from Monument Security (Safeway’s contract security company) assisted greatly, which Kahn serving as a supporting ORC investigator. 

Safeway impact estimate:      $   38,000.00*
Total case value estimate:      $ 200,000.00*

*This conservative estimate is based on store crime report information, warrant information, suspect interviews and eBay sales data.


Monument Security and Colorados New ORC Law

loss prevention new ORC lawCourt papers obtained by 11 News Tuesday, outline how a lucrative crime ring operated in Colorado Springs. The ring was busted Friday after authorities served warrants at two different locations in the Springs that morning.

Police confirmed they arrested five people Friday. Those people will be charged under the organized crime laws of Colorado, which is a felony charge. The charges come after a four-month investigation in which local police worked with stores like Home Depot, Safeway and the Colorado Retail Council.

Police say 'boost crews' around Colorado Springs and neighboring areas would bring their shoplifted goods to Clay Schaner, who was arrested today. Schaner operated Just Computers, a storefront on Platte Avenue, as a front for the crime ring.

Police say Schaner would then sell the items, mainly through eBay. They estimate he made close to $1.3 million selling these stolen goods. In fact, the court papers outline Schaner had a team of shoplifters who would steal a bunch of items, return them, and get a store credit on a gift card. Schaner would then reportedly buy those gift cards from the shoplifters at half price and then sell those cards on Ebay for 80% of the value. In one month, the ring reportedly made more than $88,000.

On Friday, 11 search warrants were executed, five warrants for financial records and additional warrants for web based service records. Clayton Schaner, Clinton Schaner, Caleb Butler, Tommie Bradley & James Driscoll were all arrested as a result.

Charges against those five include Colorado Organized Crime Control Act/Prohibited Activities, Money Laundering, Theft by Receiving, and Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender, Conspiracy and Theft Detection Devices.

Police say that they recovered tens of thousands of dollars in stolen property and they are currently compiling a full inventory in the hopes of returning the property to the rightful owners.

The investigation is ongoing and police expect to make more arrests of those involved in the crime ring. As of Tuesday night, the suspects arrested, remain in jail and the accused leader, Clay Schaner is being held without bond.

Friday afternoon police made more arrests at the storefront on Platte Avenue. Seven additional arrests were made, but police say those people are not immediately involved in the crime ring. They were arrested on a standing warrant at the business on Platte because of the owner's involvement with the ring.

Story Courtesy of KKTV 11

Undercover Title

loss prevention recovered items

Police arrested four people in Texas suspected of running a massive shoplifting ring and reselling items at local flea markets. Officers raided homes in Dallas and uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen goods.

Dallas and Denton police closed in on three homes after a month-long investigation. Denton Detective Erin Haislett and loss prevention investigators from several DFW retailers uncovered $300,000 worth of stolen goods from one home alone.

Police photos inside the house show bags of merchandise stacked high and filling several rooms.

Police say the suspects stole items an entire family could use -- shampoo, diapers, laundry detergent, and literally a treasure chest full of panty hose -- stolen from stores including Dollar General, Tom Thumb, The Gap and The Children's Place. Price tags were still attached, and the items were accumulated over four years.

"It's a huge victory for us today," said Kelly Moye, regional loss prevention investigator for Dollar General. "They're exactly like a mini-retailer. We feel like we're at war."

Police say the family in the home, as well as the house next door, bought the merchandise from the actual shoplifters and have been
re-selling them at flea markets.

Retailers are spending more money on security, like tracking devices to recover stolen products, and they say it's ultimately hurting the customer.

"It all costs us in the long run -- higher prices, lost sales tax revenue for the cities," said Moye.

Despite the enormity of this organized retail theft operation, investigators say it's only a tiny fraction of what's going on in North Texas.

Police say you can help spot stolen merchandise. If you find products at a flea market that are cheaper than what you would pay at any legitimate retailer, they're most likely stolen goods.

 


2014 Theft Incident Time Analysis
Total theft Incidents = 10,894
2013 Theft Incident Time Analysis
48% of all apprehensions take place between the hours of 2pm – 6pm



2014 Apprehension, Arrest & Recovery Analysis

California total theft Incidents = 7,676

2013 Apprehension, Arrest & Recovery Analysis

2014 Arrest Hold Time Analysis
2,854 Shoplifters Referred for Prosecution
2013 Arrest Hold Time Analysis


2011 v. 2012 v. 2013 v. 2014 Merchandise Theft Item Analysis

2011 v. 2012 v. 2013 Merchandise Theft Item Analysis


2010 v. 2011 v. 2012 v. 2013 v. 2014
Suspect Apprehension Analysis

2010 v. 2011 v. 2012 v. 2013 
Suspect Apprehension Analysis


Day of the Week Activity Analysis 2013 v. 2014

2010 v 2011 Suspect Apprechension Analysis


BOOSTER
DAY/TIME ANALYSIS

Cases over $300 = 2% of all cases LY
2010 v 2011 Suspect Apprechension Analysis

Thursday is the most active day of the week for booster activity followed closely by Wednesday
We believe this is because these days tend to be slower for sales and therefore there are less employees in the
store making it easier for them to go un-noticed.
81% of booster apprehensions took place between Noon and 8pm



Cases Resulting in Altercations & Injuries
2010 v 2011 Suspect Apprechension Analysis




ORC title

$323 Theft Apprehension
Results in an over $2 million ORC Case with 6 arrests
loss prevention found stolen books

Monument Security LP Agent Anaya, working Loss Prevention for our client, a bookstore,  Recognized a man from a posted alert bulletin in the store. She observed him conceal seven medical books valued at $323 retail. While LP was processing the suspect she was able to determine that he had stolen on four previous occasions and sold the product at a college bookstore.  Her ability to observe and obtain answers from the suspect to the following points was crucial to positioning a successful phone interview:

  • Behavior
  • Items Targeted
  • Method of Operation
  • Convincing the suspect they have been under investigation prior to the apprehension
  • Accomplices
  • Type(s) vehicle
  • Locations targeted
  • Venue merchandise was sold
  • Active listening

CASE NARRATIVE:
On December 14, 2010 LP Ayana, Monument Security Loss Prevention Agent, reported apprehending a shoplifter that had stolen seven medical books valued at $323.63 from the bookstore. The suspect had been seen, along with two other individuals, frequently staging and stealing medical and computer books over the past several months from Southern, CA to San Francisco and resembled a picture on the external theft bulletin. Based on the amount of books and suspicion he was in fact pictured on the bulletin a phone interview was initiated.

During the interview the suspect admitted in a signed written statement to the theft of 1,920 books valued at $115,200.00 over the past six month period from several bookstore locations from San Diego to San Francisco. The suspect disclosed he was in fact stealing with another individual who he named. They would operate by visiting approximately 4 – 5 stores per day taking as many as 8 books per visit, 4 days per week. They would select the books, remove the security tags and conceal them in a backpack. The types of books they targeted were medical and computer books that were $50 each.
He explained they would take the stolen product to book resale businesses and receive $10 to $20 per book:
The suspect estimated he received $1,500 per week, used to purchase fuel for their shoplifting excursions, alcohol and general living expenses.
On January 3, 2010 the suspects accomplice was interviewed and gave a verbal admission to stealing medical and computer books from bookstore locations throughout the state of California beginning in 2005, totaling 27,375 books valued at $1,368,750 retail. He implicated four accomplices that stole at the same rate. The cases have been referred to law enforcement for prosecution.


ORC title

moneyOn May 22, 2010 at approximately 5:00 PM Mr. Reynolds, an undercover Loss Prevention Agent for Monument Security, apprehended a man that had shoplifted 10 African American history books valued at $222.34 from our Client’s Book store located in San Mateo, CA. Agent Reynolds identified the method of theft and books targeted were indicative of a professional shoplifter.

In an effort to establish the suspect's involvement in previous thefts, a phone interview was conducted while the suspect was in the manager’s office at by the Client’s ORC Investigator. During the course of the interview, the suspect acknowledged in a signed written statement to thefts totaling $1,625,000.00 during an 18 year period. He cited the loss of his wife’s job and later the loss of his as the reason for his theft activity dating back to 1992. He admitted stealing music CD’s, Books (Art, History, Literature and African American titles) and Blu-ray DVDs from local area Bookstores including Borders, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy in both greater Detroit, MI and San Francisco, CA, that he would later sell at book and music stores as well as on the street. He admitted to targeting the Bookstore locations at San Mateo , San Francisco and Emeryville since moving in to California in 2006. He used the proceeds of the stolen merchandise first to supplement his income and ultimately as his sole source of income. He would steal from the aforementioned stores, averaging 56 Blu-ray DVDs, 10 books and 30 music CDs per week. He estimated he would typically make $350 per week selling the aforementioned stolen merchandise, often receiving only 20% of the retail value. He would conceal the stolen merchandise in a bag, backpack or on his person, after removing the EAS tags and would often make multiple trips to steal if the opportunity existed.

At the conclusion of the interview, the facts of the case were reviewed with the San Mateo police department. Allen was taken into custody and charged with burglary. The case is pending a review with law enforcement and the district attorney’s office for additional charges.



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