Entries in Robbery (6)


Thieves Eye Luxury Goods During Holiday Season

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Shoppers are not the only ones looking for things to buy during the holiday season; thieves are on the hunt too.  Police say people are out to re-sell luxury stolen goods or to enjoy them for personal use.

Early Thursday morning in Chicago, police said three male suspects forced their way into a Jimmy Choo store and got away with an unknown amount of shoes and handbags in a four-door vehicle.

Chicago police said they were dispatched to a “burglary in process” at a Jimmy Choo store on Oak Street at about 1:45 a.m. Central Time.  Officer Jose Estrada said a witness apparently called police.

Jimmy Choo did not return a request for comment.

Chicago’s central detectives unit is investigating the matter, Estrada said.

Joshua Bamfield, director of the United Kingdom’s Centre for Retail Research, said robbers may eye luxury stores for the high prices their products can yield online or on the black market. 

Jimmy Choo shoes may retail for several thousand dollars.  Choo’s Kendall pump, embellished with crystals, is listed for $2,995 on the company’s website.

“It’s drifting toward Christmas and people are buying things for themselves and others,” Bamfield said.  “As far as criminals are concerned, they can steal them for themselves or steal to re-sell to others.”

Thomas Martin, president of Martin Investigative Services, a private and corporate investigation firm headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif., said many retail thefts involve a person who works for or is affiliated with the company.

One luxury retail client approached Martin because it was missing almost $2 million in products over six months.  After interviewing the retail employees and failing to find any potential suspects, Martin set up a surveillance camera outside the store.  Footage showed security guards were leaving products at a drop-off spot for a partner to pick up.

Martin said companies are concerned with anyone stealing products, money or time, such as employees being paid for time they did not work.

“When people start stealing product rather than time or money, that exacerbates the bottom line,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arby's Fires Ohio Manager Who Fled from Robber

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(DAYTON, Ohio) -- An Arby's restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, has fired its assistant general manager after she had to jump through the store's drive-through window to escape a knife-wielding robber. What's Arby's beef? The woman, the company says, violated a company rule.

According to the Dayton Daily News, assistant manager Mary Archer had been closing up the store when the incident occurred. In an exclusive interview with ABC affiliate WHIO-TV of Dayton, Archer said her last co-worker had just left for the night when she heard the doorbell ring.

Thinking it was her co-worker returning to pick up something she'd forgotten, Archer unlocked the door, only to find herself confronted by a robber with a knife who repeatedly shouted, "Give me the money."

"I really thought I was going to die," Archer, 56, told WHIO. She did her best to defend herself, she says, pushing the man away while she told herself, "I'm not going to die at Arby's tonight. I'm just not."

She was able to evade the attacker and jump through the drive-through window. Her cries for help then brought the police.

Archer, who says she has worked for Arby's for 23 years, says she was flabbergasted to find the next day, when she returned to work, that she'd been fired. "I just never thought that would happen to me, since my life was at stake," she told her television interviewer.

"I don't want my job back," she says. "I just want everybody to know what kind of company this is. They said I was not supposed to have been alone in the store."

That, indeed, is Arby's position. In answer to a request for comment from ABC News, a spokesperson for Arby's Restaurant Group says in an email:

"We consider the safety and security of our guests and employees to be of utmost importance. We're extremely thankful that no one was injured during this incident. While this did not occur in a company-owned restaurant, we understand from our franchisee that the employee was terminated for her second violation of an important safety and security policy; namely, being alone in a restaurant afterhours."

Arby's rule says at least two employees are to be on duty at any time. Efforts by ABC News to contact Archer were not successful.

Archer said in her television interview that this was the third time thieves had attempted to rob the store. After their first attempt, she says, precautions should have been taken, but they were not.

"We have no alarms, no cameras. That should have been nipped in the bud the very first attempt." The only bright spot, she says, is, "My life was spared."

The suspect in the robbery at Arby's is still at large.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thieves Across Country Stealing SUV Seats

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thieves across the country are in many cases not targeting expensive SUVs parked in driveways and parking lots.  Instead, they are stealing the third row of seats from the vehicles for up to a $1,000 profit.

Ivan Barahona, an SUV owner, parked his vehicle in his Dallas driveway, and made sure nothing valuable was inside and locked it up.  But a trio still broke into the back, and within seconds, removed part of the seats.  Within 40 seconds, the entire back row in the vehicle was gone.

“It feels really bad because people work really hard for what they have,” Barahona said.

Police say so-called “third seat theft” is on the rise, particularly in Texas and California.

Replacement seats are in demand by SUV owners whose row of seats has been damaged or worn out.  Detectives say the crooks can get about $1,000 for the seats on sites like Craigslist or in a salvage yard -- a sizable payoff for 40 seconds of work.

Police often recover the stolen seats but have no way of reuniting them with their rightful owner, which is why Los Angeles police are encouraging owners to engrave their SUV’s vehicle identification number onto the bottom of those seats.

“It’s something that’s very simple.  With a little bit of time and effort people can protect themselves,” Det. Mike Ventura with the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Even something as inexpensive as a bike lock will slow crooks down.  Locking up seats is a good investment, because replacing a stolen third seat at the dealership can cost up to $4,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Steve Jobs’ Home Robbed: Burglar Stole Computers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Wash.) -- A suspect is being held in connection with the burglary of the Washington home of deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs, police said.

Authorities arrested and charged 35-year-old Kariem McFarlin with residential burglary and the selling of stolen property after over $60,000 worth of computers and personal items were allegedly stolen from the Jobs’ home on July 17.

According to Santa Clara County assistant DA Scott Tsui, the burglar does not appear to have been aware that the home belonged to the Jobs family.

“There’s no evidence to show that the house was targeted,” Tsui said, adding that once the thief got in, “I imagine there are things in the house that might hint to him that it was Jobs’ house.”

Tsui said the Jobs family does not appear to have been living at home, which was undergoing construction at the time of the burglary.

The suspect, a medical supply salesman who played football at San Jose State University, is being held on $500,000 bail. McFarlin’s next hearing is scheduled for August 20.

Attempts to reach his lawyer for comment weren’t immediately successful.

Police declined to say what led them to their suspect. “Police have a variety of methods in tracking goods and burglars in situations like this,” Tsui said.

Jobs is believed to have purchased the Palo Alto home in the mid-1990s after his marriage to Lauren Powell. He lived in the house for nearly 20 years, a time that included his second stint as Apple CEO, during which he brought the company back to profitability and introduced revolutionary products such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Jobs died at the home on October 5, 2011, from pancreatic cancer complications.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bank Robbery Does Not Pay Well, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Bank robbers always seem to do so well after a major heist, at least in the movies.  But a recent study in Significance, the journal of Britain's Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association, found that, despite the perceived glamour, you might make more money as, say, a dental hygienist.

Indeed, as the authors -- economists in England who had access to data from the British Bankers' Association and the FBI -- concluded in their British way: "The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish."

Here's why: Based on 2006 data, the average take-home from a bank robbery was £20,331 in the U.K. -- about $40,000 based on the exchange rates that year.

One third of these were foiled, which means the robbers took home nothing at all.  That puts the average haul per successful robbery at £30,000 -- about $46,729.

But since about 20 percent of perpetrators in both countries are caught and the money often recovered, the average is usually much less.

Clearly, there are ways a robber can up his ante.  On average, gun-toting robbers waltzed away with £10,301 ($16,045) more than unarmed ones.  On the other hand, that might not be so smart, because the penalties are greater for armed robbery.

Operating in a team is another option: It increases the take by £9,033 ($14,070), on average, in large part because gangs tend to be more organized and professional.  But although the total haul goes up with a team, the per-person take-home goes down to a mere £12,706.60 ($19,792).

Thus, "A single bank raid, even a successful one, is not going to keep our would-be robber in a life of luxury," the authors noted.

Even if a robber does make a full-blown career out of his wayward habit, he's still not going to be able to retire to Majorca anytime soon.  The average U.K. wage for full-time employment is around £26,000 ($40,498), so the most a robber can expect is a six-month reprieve.  He can, of course, always rob more banks, but that increases his chances of getting caught.

"After four raids, he is more likely than not to be inside [jail]," the authors wrote.

Would-be robbers, they noted, seem to have learned such lessons.  Bank robberies and attempted robberies are on the decline, both in the U.K. and the U.S.

According to FBI statistics, there were 5,014 U.S. bank robberies in 2011, down from 6,700 in 2008. The average take home in a U.S. bank robbery was a paltry $4,330.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fired Michigan Pharmacist Who Shot at Robbers Sues Walgreens

Jay LaPrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- In Benton Township, Michigan, two armed robbers wearing masks burst into a near-deserted Walgreens on May 8, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.  To pharmacist Jeremy Hoven, it was a prescription for trouble, so he filled it with hot lead.

A video, newly released by Hoven's attorneys, shows how events unfolded.

Drawing his own gun, Hoven fired at the attackers and drove them off, saving not just himself but two Walgreens co-workers, as well as the pharmacy's valuable prescription drugs.  By way of saying thanks, Walgreens fired him last week.

Hoven, in an interview with the Benton Township Herald-Palladium, said he had acted out of fear.

"The adrenaline was taking over," he said.  "You could have probably taken my pulse from my breath, because my heart was beating that much."

Only 42 seconds elapsed from start to finish, and all the action was captured on surveillance video.

Before firing, Hoven first tried dialing 911.  But before he could complete the call, the first of the two robbers had vaulted over a counter and was standing five feet away from him.  That's when the pharmacist went for his own gun and opened fire.

The video appears to confirm that Hoven's actions were defensive, and were made only in response to the robbers' attack.

Peter Kosick, Hoven's attorney, told ABC News that, in his opinion, Walgreens should have commended his client for bravery.  That, too, is the opinion of township police Lt. Delman Lange, who, after reviewing the surveillance video, told the local paper, "If it was me, I would have done the same thing."

Though Hoven was licensed by the state of Michigan to carry a gun, Walgreen discourages its pharmacists from packing pistols.  A spokeswoman for the drug chain told ABC News in an email that while Walgreens would not be able to disclose its policies, they were written to protect the safety of customers and employees.

"Store employees receive comprehensive training on our robbery procedures and how to react and respond," she wrote.  Walgreens' approach is "endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects.  Compromise is safer."

Kosick told ABC News that his client fired carefully and responsibly.  He said Hoven fired only to maintain "a safe zone" for himself.  The only thing behind the robber, according to Hoven, was a cinderblock wall.

Kosick also said local residents are solidly behind his client.

"I'd say 95 percent are in favor of what he did," he said. "It's really outraged people.  Not just gun advocates but people on the street.  They stop and tell me they'd have done the same thing, only they wouldn't have missed.  They're outraged by what Walgreens has done.  They're talking boycott, saying they will take their business to CVS or Wal-Mart."

Hoven has filed a lawsuit against Walgreens for wrongful termination.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio