Wal-Mart Thief: Fake Pregnancy, Fake Barcode, Fake Shoplift, Real Stupid

Written by Evan Schuman
October 14th, 2010

As a world-class—not to mention the world’s largest—retail chain, Wal-Mart attracts world-class criminals. But it also attracts criminals who should, well, have more seriously explored other lines of work. This story is about one of them—and her sister.

The action began last Thursday (Oct. 7) at the Wal-Mart in Alliance, Ohio, when two sisters from Cleveland—Katurah and Staniel Petty—visited. The pair went to the back of the store, selected two higher priced pieces of software and “concealed them behind a large purse in the [shopping] basket,” said Alliance Police Lt. Kevin Moore, who later saw the pair’s activity on the store’s video system. The Pettys then tried exiting the store without paying and the theft-detection system was activated. (Stick with me on this one. It gets a lot better.)

According to Moore, as security personnel were approaching, the Pettys pushed the cart—still holding the not-yet-paid-for software—into a cart parking area and then stepped out the door. When security stopped them, the two correctly said that they did not have anything stolen. Security shortly found the software in the cart, which was technically still in the store, meaning that it had not officially been removed from the store.

To explain the alarm, one of the sisters produced a hard-drive from another store, with the theft-detection tag still on it. The other store must have accidentally left the tag on, one sister said. (Moore said he had suspicions about whether the hard-drive had actually been stolen, but this story is complicated enough without going there.)

Here’s where things get strange. Security, puzzled by whether a shoplifting charge would stick if the items never actually were removed from the store, opted to not pursue charges and let the pair go. But one of the sisters then called police, wanting to charge the Wal-Mart security folk with harassment and improper detention.


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Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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