Entries in Stolen (4)


Mom, Son Charged With $2M Toy Thefts

Broward County Police(NEW YORK) -- A 46-year-old Florida man and his 70-year-old mother have been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $2 million worth of toys from 30 Toys R’ Us stores in Florida.

Michael and Margaret Pollara were arrested on Aug. 9 for grand theft and dealing in stolen property. According to investigators, the pair was involved a scheme called “box stuffing,” when a less-expensive item is removed from a box and replaced with a larger-ticket item.  The two would then allegedly place the items on eBay for sale.

Investigators were able to track items purchased by the Pollaras using a Loyalty/Reward card that showed sales at 139 different Toys R’ Us stores in 27 states.  The total paid for the 175 purchases made using the card was $6,738. According to the Broward Sheriff’s office, the two stole more than $2 million in toys.

The two are in jail facing charges of obtaining property over $50,000 by fraud, grand theft and criminal attempt to solicit. Attempts to reach their lawyer for comment weren’t immediately successful.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Calif. Woman Hits Lottery Twice, Claims Ticket Stolen

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- A California woman who won $1 million in the lottery in January claims she hit another $260,000 last week but it was stolen. Lottery officials say though the case is still open it appears she gave her latest winning ticket away.

Emily Leach, who picked up the million-dollar check at the start of the year, bought a pile of Scratcher tickets last Friday at the same store, Liquor & Tobacco, in Mountain View.  One of those tickets was worth $260,000.  Leach claims she paid for the ticket but a man who was in the store that day stole the ticket.

Leach claims she was trying to help a man who was begging her for money. She has told lottery officials that she handed the man a $100 bill but somehow she unintentionally handed him the winning ticket she had bought. The man has not been identified by authorities.

“I did nothing but help this man. I was trying to give him what he was asking for,” Leach told ABC News.

Now she claims he stole her ticket, and she wants it back.

Russ Lopez, spokesman for the California Lottery, told ABC News they investigate disputes with tickets, and their security and law enforcement division is looking into this case.

“At this point we would not make a judgment as to who owns the ticket. The ticket has not been claimed yet. Once the ticket has been claimed then we can say a little bit more,” Lopez said.

However, he has seen part of the surveillance footage from the store and says it appears to show Leach giving away the tickets she bought to patrons in the store. They are trying to determine all the information before making a formal decision on who actually owns the ticket, he added.

“The video shows this woman buying a lot of tickets and then giving them away,” he told ABC News. "The video doesn’t lie."

Leach became something of a local celebrity after she won the million. Since then, Leach has committed random acts of kindness around the community, so purchasing tickets and beer for the customers in the store last Friday was not unusual. But winning the lotto again certainly is.

“Two times in three months!?” Leach told ABC News. “It’s an amazing story.”

Lopez says that the chances any one person could have won the $1 million lottery last January were 1 in 1.2 million, and the chances of winning on the scratch-off last Friday were even steeper -- 1 in 3.9 million.

Leach said she had to move after she won last January because people were harassing her for money. She says she used the winnings to pay off medical bills, and adds that she is still in poor health.

“I paid off all my medical bills, helped my family and helped people in the community. I was supposed to be dead three years ago,” Leach said.

Lopez says the lottery is compiling all sides of the argument before they make a decision.

“The facts are the facts, and we will make a call then,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Survey: Americans Lose Cellphones About Once Each Year

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Does it seem like you are always losing your cellphone?  Well, it turns out you are not alone.

According to mobile security firm Lookout Labs, Americans on average lose their cellphones about once a year, which could account for about $30 billion in replacement costs for consumers.

After analyzing data from 15 million users who employed an app that locates lost cellphones, Lookout Labs found that Philadelphia led the nation in lost or stolen cellphones in 2011.

As for the place where people are most likely to lose or have their cellphones stolen, the mobile security firm says coffee shops.

Here are the top 10 cities for cellphone loss during 2011:

1. Philadelphia
2. Seattle
3. Oakland, CA
4. Long Beach, CA
5. Newark, NJ
6. Detroit
7. Cleveland
8. Baltimore
9. New York
10. Boston

Here are the top 10 places where cellphones were lost or stolen in the U.S. in 2011:

1. Coffee shop
2. Bar
3. Office
4. Restaurants
5. Apartment and Condo
6. Grocery store
7. Gas station
8. Residential
9. Pharmacy or drug store
10. Park´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Risk for Cyber Scams Up with Osama Bin Laden's Death

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden may not just mean an increased risk of terror attacks across the country, but the possibility of more cyber scams on the Web.

Following the news that bin Laden had been killed and buried at sea, computer researchers said cyber scammers were quick to set online traps for people searching for and sharing information about the terrorist leader.

In the day following the big news, Kurt Baumgartner, a senior security researcher for Kaspersky Labs, a security firm, said cybercriminals started using top search results related to bin Laden in Google Images to redirect people to pages filled with malware.

Baumgartner said if they searched for "Osama bin Laden" in Google Images, one of the highest results on the page could have taken them to a malicious website ready to infect their computers. Some poisonous pages try to convince users that their computer is already infected with a virus, and then prompt them to pay for and download fake anti-virus software.

Facebook users looking to share links and "like" stories and video face a different kind of risk.

Ads on the social network may promote offers celebrating bin Laden's death -- such as those for free tickets or free sandwiches -- but by clicking on the ads, users are just redirected to scam-filled pages that prompt them to turn over personal information, Baumgartner said.

As they "like" the ads or click on the fake links, they give online criminals a way to reach their Facebook contacts and spread the scam to their friends. They also help the crooks collect email addresses or other valuable information.

Security researchers at Sophos Labs said a "death video" scam related to bin Laden was spreading virally on Facebook. Messages leading to the video link claim there is banned video of bin Laden's final hours. But by "liking" and sharing the link (which doesn't actually point to video at all) Facebook users give cyber criminals access to their contacts while helping them collect money (Sophos says they get paid per click).

"People should understand on Facebook that when there are these great offers, usually the offers are too good to be true," Baumgartner said. "And just because something has been posted on a friend's wall it doesn't mean it's from them." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio