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Craigslist heist baffles police

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Police in Mount Prospect, Ill., are still trying to unravel a case where a robber sprayed pepper spray into a man’s face and stole $2,128 worth of Home Depot store merchandise credits. The alleged victim, Freddie Ng, told police he advertised the store credit cards on Craigslist and agreed to meet a man named “Mike” around 9 p.m. on Oct. 23. But instead of producing cash to buy the cards, “Mike” used a can of pepper spray to momentarily disable the victim and snatch the cards. A struggle ensued, and the robber’s black shirt was torn off before he escaped.

Detective Bob Riordan, who is investigating the incident for the Mount Prospect Police Department, told Home Channel News that he had video footage of the crime from a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. He has subpoenaed the cell phone records of the alleged robber, and he has the can of pepper spray and the torn black shirt. The part of the case that baffles him, he said, is the $2,128 worth of store credit.

“[The victim] claimed he was doing some home repairs, and it all came from merchandise returns,” Riordan said. “But I checked with Home Depot. He’s got more credits than [returned] merchandise, so I’m not sure what he’s up to.”

Riordan said he hasn’t heard from the victim since the initial crime report, but he’s still pursuing all leads in the case, including the origin of the store credit cards.

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Rona earnings and revenues down in Q3

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Retailer and distributor Rona, Canada’s biggest home improvement chain, reported sales of C$1.32 billion for its third fiscal quarter, a 4.4% decline from sales of C$1.38 billion posted in the third quarter last year. Same-store sales suffered a 5.3% reduction in the corporate and franchise store sector, while distribution sales dropped 1.6%.

Net earnings, excluding one-time costs like store closings, were C$53.3 million in the third quarter 2009, compared with C$58.9 million in the same period of 2008.

The Boucherville, Quebec-based company blamed the declines on a slowdown in housing construction and home renovations in Canada, although it noted that sales to commercial and professional customers in Ontario were strong.

Earlier this week, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said housing starts rose 5.4% in October, signifying an upward trend.

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Newell Rubbermaid adds to board

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Newell Rubbermaid has announced that Michael B. Polk has been elected to the company’s board of directors, bringing the number of directors to 12. Polk is president of Unilever Americas.

Polk joined Unilever in 2005 and has streamlined the company’s Americas organization and optimized its mix of food, hygiene and personal care items. Under Polk, Unilever was named Wal-Mart’s Supplier of the Year in 2008.

“Michael brings outstanding global marketing, consumer innovation and operations leadership to our board,” said William D. Marohn, chairman of Newell Rubbermaid’s board of directors. “He has overseen billion-dollar brands, managed portfolios of diverse product categories and navigated complex geographies — all very relevant to the growth and transformation of Newell Rubbermaid.”

Before Unilever, Polk held positions at Altria Group. He began his career at Procter & Gamble in industrial engineering and product development.

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