Seattle WA July 25 2010 Shoplifters, Beware!
If you have a notion to take something from a store without paying, don’t do it! Even if you feel that the big box, corporate store would not feel it, you will. For starters, they are watching. They have hidden cameras, security personnel dressed like shoppers, and detection devices at the doors..
And once you are caught, not only will you be prosecuted, but the store can sue you for damages under RCW 4.24.230. That provides: ” An adult or emancipated minor who . . . [steals]is liable in addition to actual damages, for a penalty to the owner or seller in the amount of the retail value thereof not to exceed two thousand eight hundred fifty dollars, plus an additional penalty of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than six hundred fifty dollars, plus all reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs expended by the owner or seller..”
This liability is in addition to potential criminal proscution. Frequently, people get notices after being caught by security from distant lawyers practicing in states like Florida. The letter demands anywhere from $100 to $650 for the petty cases. The letter must contain this notice: “IMPORTANT NOTICE: The payment of any penalty demanded of you does not prevent criminal prosecution under a related criminal provision.” If you receive such a notice, don’t just pay right away. It may be worth consulting a lawyer..
One way to mitigate the inevitable criminal prosecution is to try to work out a ‘compromise of the misdemeanor.’ This compromise is described in another Washington law, RCW 10.22.010. It grants a court discretion to dismiss an eligible charge (where the charge was not committed upon an officer, or done “riotously,” or with intent to commit a felony or involve domestic violence.) The key requirement is that the injured party must “acknowledge in writing that he or she has received satisfaction for the injury.” So if you want to pay the civil fine, it may be worth negotiating with the victim of the theft to get them to agree to sign off on a compromise of the misdemeanor..
One irony for shoplifters: the big corporate chains–Sears, KMART, Fry’s Electronics, etc. are the most likely to catch you, the most likely to make a civil demand, and the least likely to agree to a compromise of the misdemeanor when you are charged with a crime. “It’s against corporate policy” or some such rubbish is their reasoning. They want your purchases but they don’t really care about you: the no mercy rule. In contrast, the poorer, solo shopowners who can’t afford the fancy security are more likely to sign off on a compromise. One more reason to stay away from chain stores..
These rules apply to juveniles as well. That is, the custodial parent can be sued on the civil side. Of course that may give the parent a right to collect that debt from their young loved one.
For example there is a case where the juvenile shoplifted a $20 shirt and his father paid a civil penalty of $175 to the store, the court required the son to pay his father $100 back in restitution. State v. T.A.D., 122 Wn. App. 290, (2004)..
So caveat emptor: buyer and shoplifter, beware..!
Great Falls Montana July 25 2010 Jeremy Young is looking for work after losing his job as a Walmart security guard earlier this month for scuffling with an alleged shoplifter who later took out an elderly greeter on his way to being arrested on robbery charges.
Young, 32, believes he was just doing his job and that his firing could have been avoided. Walmart officials believe Young put others in danger by violating the company’s policy of not tangling with shoplifters.
“We do have policies and procedures in place to protect the safety of asset-protection associates, store associates and our customers,” company spokesman Dan Fogleman said. “We appreciate Mr. Young’s intentions, but his actions put his safety and the safety of other associates — and our customers — in jeopardy, potentially.”
Walmart’s rules for asset-protection associates have come under scrutiny recently, and Young isn’t the first store employee in the nation fired for violating the policy.
Store security and law enforcement is about the only work Young has ever done. Now, he is struggling to find a job in that area in Great Falls to support his wife and three children. Young and his family moved here from Phoenix last year to find work.
Young admits he should not have tried to physically restrain Bruce Lee Houle Jr., 26, from fleeing the store on Smelter Avenue with two stolen shirts on July 1. He expected a one-day suspension, probation or to be moved to another store department for violating the policy — not to be fired.
“They want to make me the example of what not to do in this situation because of their policy,” Young said.
On July 1, Young spotted Houle allegedly concealing two shirts in the front of his pants. He and his partner, in plain clothes, followed Houle outside the store, identified themselves as security and asked Houle about the shirts, according to court documents.
Houle became combative and began to struggle as he was being led back into the store, court documents state. Walmart allows asset-protection associates to lead shoplifters back into the store by their forearms, Young said.
Houle tried to take off a sweatshirt that Young and his partner were holding onto to keep him from fleeing.
Fogleman declined to comment on specifics of Walmart’s security policy, but Young said these actions were violations.
Houle fought and scratched Young multiple times on the neck, arm and leg while Young opened the security office door, court documents state.
Young’s partner tried to hold on to Houle’s T-shirt, but he took it off and ran toward the front door — in the direction of 80-year-old store greeter James Pasha. Pasha tried to stand in Houle’s way, but Houle leveled him, causing multiple bruises and lacerations to his face, elbow and ear. The lacerations required stitches, court documents state.
Young followed Houle to see where he was headed while calling Great Falls Police. Houle eventually was captured by police while trying to hide on the bank of the Missouri River. Houle, who was charged with robbery and theft, is scheduled to be arraigned in Cascade County District Court this week.
Houle, who has previous convictions for assaulting a police officer and burglary, told police he didn’t want to spend his last $30 on the shirts.
Young waited a week to hear from his local and regional asset-protection managers that he would be terminated. His partner was not fired, he said. In similar situations, other asset-protection associates have been put on probation, he said.
Young started at the Great Falls Walmart in June 2009 as an overnight stocker before becoming an asset-protection associate in October. He had a verbal warning on his record for approaching a customer he believed had stolen something. It turned out that the person had not stolen an item.
Young believes he was fired because the store didn’t want to get sued by the greeter.
“I did violate policy trying to apprehend (Houle). At the same time, it makes it hard to gain control of shrinkage loss when you establish this policy,” he said. “People know they can get away with it.”
This was the first time Young dealt with an aggressive shoplifter at the Great Falls Walmart. He estimates that he has recovered or prevented about $9,000 in merchandise from being stolen from the store
Walmart’s policy on asset protection states associates may not physically confront shoplifters. That policy has come under fire, as has the company’s handling of situations where the policy was violated. In October, an asset-protection associate in Ocala, Fla., was fired for chasing down a knife-wielding theft suspect in the store’s parking lot. An employee also was fired from a Wichita, Kan., Walmart after getting into a fight with a man trying to steal a computer in May.
When asked about criticisms of the store’s policy on dealing with shoplifters, Fogelman said in an e-mail to the Tribune that, “… we constantly evaluate the way we do things to ensure we can maintain a safe environment for our customers and associates. Nothing is more important than our ability to protect their safety and well-being. What we want to avoid is having a situation escalate that might result in someone getting hurt.”
Fogelman said asset-protection associates such as Young are aware of what they cannot do in these situations.
Fogelman spoke with local Walmart management about this specific incident, but said he couldn’t comment on why Young was fired because it was a personnel matter.
“Unfortunately, due to (Young’s) actions, he no longer works for the company,” Fogelman said.
The suspects are believed to be part of a large, well-organized ring of professional shoplifters that retail chains first identified in 2008, Detective Debra Haverkost said. She said the group is suspected of stealing more than $100,000 in valuable merchandise from retail drug and grocery stores and reselling it to small businesses or street merchants.
Regional law enforcement agencies, including Vista sheriff’s deputies, had been watching the ring and had identified the four suspects, Haverkost said. Officers followed the suspects from their home in the San Fernando Valley to a CVS store on Oceanside Boulevard.
She said the suspects were captured outside of the store with about $500 in stolen beauty products, Haverkost said. They were booked into the Vista jail on charges including burglary and conspiracy, she said.
Around 3 a.m. Saturday, police re-captured Maurice Sealy. Officers arrested Sealy Friday after they say workers caught him shoplifting at a Walmart on Cobb Parkway.
Police tell us Sealy complained about being hurt when he was caught and they took him to Kennestone Hospital for treatment. Officers tell us Sealy escaped when they turned their back.
A few hours later, FOX5 news photographer, Grenard Smith, spotted Sealy and called police. Marietta police caught up with Sealy a short time later.
Sealy now faces escape charges in addition to shoplifting.
Puyallup WA July 25 2010 Police are looking for a woman who tried to steal over $1,000 worth of items from the K-Mart on River Road and her getaway driver, who pulled a gun on a security guard as he tried to stop her.
Lt. Scott Engle says that a woman entered the store around 7:10 p.m. and started taking items from around the store. After she had taken what she wanted, she tried to flee the store through an emergency exit to a waiting grey 1988 Honda Civic.
The store’s loss prevention officer quickly acted to stop the woman, and caught up with her at the waiting vehicle. But the man driving the car got out of the vehicle, approached the store employee, pulled a large caliber revolver from his waistband and demanded that the woman be let go. She was released, after which she jumped in the car and it sped off. It was last seen heading west on River Road toward Tacoma. But the merchandise she tried to take was left behind.
Photos from the store’s surveillance video have been released by the Puyallup Police Major Crimes Unit, showing the woman while she was inside the K-Mart. She is only described as a while female, and her driver as a white male.
Lt. Engle told KOMO NewsRadio’s Molly Grant that investigators believe that the Honda Civic they drove off in was stolen earlier in the day from the Wal-Mart on the South Hill. He said the male suspect is thought to have committed a theft in the Wal-Mart before he stole the car, and investigators are working with store managers to see if he was caught by that store’s surveillance video system.
The gun used in the K-Mart incident is also believed to be stolen, having been taken from a vehicle parked at a South Hill park and ride earlier in the day.
Anyone with information on the woman is asked to call the Puyallup Police Tip Line at 253-770-3343
Gasden Al July 25 2010 The Gadsden Police Department is investigating a hit and run accident Friday night that injured a security guard working for the city.
The security guard, driving a city-owned golf cart converted to be used as a security vehicle, was driving between Forrest Cemetery and the City Shop on Chestnut Street when the wreck happened between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Gadsden Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Smith said.
The security guard apparently was struck from behind by an undetermined type of vehicle, according to an officer with the Gadsden Police Department.
The driver of that vehicle left the scene.
The driver of the golf cart, which had been modified with lights, was seriously injured and remained at Gadsden Regional Medical Center early Saturday.
Anyone with information about the wreck is asked to contact the police department at 256-549-4500.
Vigorously prosecuting those who exploit children and young women is a top priority for our office.” FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Brian D Lamkin said, “The FBI has responded to the serious problem of sex trafficking of juveniles by establishing a federally funded task force that understands the problem and, in turn, works with area law enforcement agencies in targeting predators that exploit juveniles by recruiting or forcing them into the world of prostitution. The FBI is proud of the role it plays in making the streets safer for its youth and encourages the public to contact the Atlanta office FBI with any information regarding such heinous activities as child prostitution.” According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: HOMER faces three counts of sex trafficking relating to three different juveniles, identified in court documents as under the age of 18. According to the indictment, from January 2009 through at least November 2009, HOMER recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, and maintained three different juvenile females for prostitution. In the case of one victim, HOMER is also charged with using force, fraud, and coercion to cause her to engage in prostitution.
Two of the charges carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and the third charge carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, with all charges having a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders. The government proffered evidence that he had assaulted at least one victim on multiple occasions in the past, and pulled a gun on another young woman with whom he was involved. The court noted HOMER’s history of violence, his extensive arrest and conviction record, the nature of the offenses charged and the possibility of violence against the victims if he was released in ordering HOMER detained without bond.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force including Atlanta Police Department, Gwinnett County Police Department, City of Marietta Police Department, and Sandy Springs Police Department. If anyone has any information about human trafficking, they are encouraged to report the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 404-679-9000.
Assistant United States Attorney Susan Coppedge is prosecuting the case. For further information please contact Sally Q Yates, United States Attorney, or F Gentry Shelnutt, Criminal Chief, through Linda Isaac at (404) 581-6056. The Internet address for the HomePage for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan.
Deputy Sheriff Samuel A. Smith
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: Friday, July 23, 2010
Tour of Duty: 9 months
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Date of Incident: Friday, July 23, 2010
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Deputy Samuel Smith was killed in an automobile accident on California Road while responding to domestic disturbance call.
His patrol car left the roadway for unknown reasons and struck a tree before bursting into flames.
Deputy Smith had served with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for only nine months.
Agency Contact Information
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
305 South Main
Ottawa, KS 66067
Phone: (785) 229-1200
Please contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.
SACRAMENTO CA July 25 2010 – An afternoon robbery near UC Davis has police searching for a security guard tonight, or at least someone dressed like a security guard.
A teenage cashier at “Scrubs Stop” on Stockton Boulevard was in tears today, as she relived the horror of what happened.
Cashier Holly Lowe says a man in his fifties walked into her store wearing a uniform.
“He was dressed in a shirt that was similar to a security guards uniform walked into the store and started asking her some questions about the merchandise they sell,” said police officer Matt Wimple.
The suspect pulled out a gun and ran off with 200-dollars from the cash register.
“We have officers canvassing the area to see if any other business may have gotten surveillance footage to see if anyone matches that description the area,” Wimple adds.
Workers across the street at a Coca Cola building say they’re not surprised by this robbery at all, in fact, they’ve had things stolen from right out of their car. And neighbors say the problem is just getting worse.
“Our house was broken into twice, and then we got a big dog and we weren’t really bothered again after that,” says neighbor Ralph Brissenden.
“Every so often if you leave your car open, we find in the morning that someone’s gone through it,” adds Marie Copher, another neighbor who lives just a few doors down from scrubs spot. She can’t believe she was just outside playing with her daughter when the gunman fled the scene.
“It’s a really good neighborhood to live in so, I’m sad and shocked to hear that it was just down the street,”the woman said.
Brett Leatherman, special agent with the FBI, said the letter was sent out after several churches in the county reported suspicious people asking odd questions.
The letter warns of several instances of people showing up at places of worship and asking detailed questions about building layout and where people usually congregate in the building. Suspicious people have also asked when worship centers would be populated and where Christians could be found in the building.
The suspicious activity has been reported during the past several months, and the letter has been sent to churches of all denominations.
“It wasn’t meant to be anything to raise alarm or anything like that,” Leatherman said. “There’s no indication at all of criminal activity or a terrorist act. No indication of any threat. We’re simply passing along information we received to area churches indicating that suspicious activity is going on, in an abundance of caution.”
Leatherman said there are no indications that any of the suspicious people are involved in criminal activity. He said it’s not unusual for the FBI to be contacted by many different organizations in the community, but there was enough concern to warrant a warning in this instance.
“It’s a bit of a balancing game,” Leatherman said. “We know there hasn’t been any criminal activity or even accusations of criminal activity. At the same time, we don’t want something to happen and not have warned people.”
He said the letters have been going out for a few weeks now and some are still being sent out.
The Rev. Karen Johanns, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pontiac, said she read the letter on Monday.
“The letter is vague,” Johanns said. “Are people casing the joint for a robbery or is it terrorists? We would’ve liked to know more, but the letter didn’t give us much information.”
She said the church has not had any instances of suspicious activity.
“We’ve alerted our parishioners to report if they see anything strange or out of the ordinary,” Johanns said. “Other than that, I don’t think there’s much we can do other than to keep any eye on things and make sure everything seems safe.
“We’re a church. We’re in the business of welcoming people, and we’re still going to keep on doing that.”