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The Week in Electronics Retail Crime

The latest from the world of electronics store crime

December 16, 2009 By Stephen Silver
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Florida Network Fights Theft
A consortium of retailers in Florida has teamed up with local law enforcement to fight retail theft. According to the Tampa Tribune, the Florida Organized Retail Crime Enforcement Network, which includes Walmart, Target, J. C. Penney and several other companies, allows companies to share information and operate a database about suspected criminals and rings.

Arrest in Punch of Walmart Greeter
A man has been arrested for punching an elderly Walmart greeter in the Pittsburgh area. According to TV station KDKA, the 55-year-old suspect denies punching the 72-year-old employee, although police say they have the assault on tape. He has been charged with assault, harassment, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

Stolen Card Leads to $14,000 Best Buy Spree
A woman in Columbia, S.C. had her credit card stolen earlier this month- by a thief who went on to spend more than $14,000 at a nearby Best Buy. According to local TV station WIS, the thief used the card for two separate purchases at different Best Buy locations, in the span of two hours; a third purchase failed to register because the card was maxed out. The thief remains at large and was not asked for identification during any of the three purchases.

Employee Charged in Gift Card Scheme
A 19-year-old supermarket in Ohio has been charged with perpetuating a fraud in which he stole and redeemed $5,000 worth of Best Buy gift cards. According to Akron Beacon Journal, the scam, which the Giant Eagle employee hatched along with an accomplice, involved replacing gift cards on store racks with other ones; the scammers would then use the gift cards once customers activated them.

Best Buy Employee to Be Charged

A former Best Buy employee in New Mexico is set to be sentenced for her role in a fraud scheme. According to the Las Cruces Sun newspaper, the 20-year-old woman pled guilty to opening credit card accounts for customers, and buying more than $20,000 worth of big ticket items with the credit card numbers. She faces 20 counts of fraud charge.

ID Fraud Steals $17,000 Worth of Computers
A woman in Memphis allegedly used several false identities to order $17,000 worth of Dell computers. According to, the woman was caught by Dell's fraud department, after they discovered she used the same email address for all of the orders, which were under more than 20 different names. She has been charged with computer fraud, identity theft trafficking and forgery.

Man Arrested in TV Theft
A Florida man was arrested earlier this month after scuffling with store employees while trying to leave a Walmart store with a 46-inch TV without paying. According to Florida Today, the 30-year-old man attempting to carry the plasma TV out of the store, and was stopped by employees; during the ensuing struggle, he allegedly reached into his pockets multiple times. He was charged with retail theft after police took him away.

Two Walmart Robbers Arrested
Police in Ohio have arrested two of the four men who robbed an area Walmart in October. According to the Dayton Daily News, one of the two arrested was a store employee. The theft entailed the men storming the store after hours and locking employees in the cash room. After the crime was caught on tape, the men were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery, grand theft and kidnapping. Warrants are out for the rest of the two remaining conspirators.

Walmart Thief Hides and Steals
In a crime right out of the movie "Inside Man," police say an Alabama man attempted to rob a Walmart of cash by hiding in the store after hours. According to the AP, the man nearly escaped with $54,000 in cash and checks, but was caught when he attempted to leave and the doors were still locked- and money fell out of his pockets as he tried to leave. He was charged with robbery and burglary.

Smash-and-Grab Thief Arrested
A man who police say carried out smash-and-grab thefts at multiple stores in Florida has been arrested. According to the Tampa Tribune, the man would take a baseball bat from the sporting goods section, head over to the electronics department, and smash an iPod case. The man, who carried out the thefts in Walmart and Target stores the same week, was arrested on two counts each of grand theft and criminal mischief, as well as violation of probation and drug possession charges.


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