Florida man arrested after breaking into HD, punching police dog
A shoplifting suspect in St. Lucie West, Fla., was arrested Sept. 18 after attempted break-ins at both Home Depot and Lowe’s, according to a report by CBS-affiliate Channel 12.
According to police reports, 48-year-old Mark Earl Cross cut a hole in the garden center fence at Lowe’s at 10 a.m., then went across the street to a Home Depot store, where he used a hacksaw to cut a lock off a garden center gate. Police say the suspect went inside the Home Depot, but left quickly and returned to Lowe’s, where he grabbed three drills and placed them next to the hole in that garden center’s fence. Cross then left the store and circled around to the fence, but suspicious store employees had removed the drills before he could get to them.
Cross left the store on his bike, but was intercepted by police, according to the news report. The suspect abandoned his bike and ran into a wooded area, where a tracking dog found him. Police say Cross punched the police dog before being taken into custody; he suffered cuts to his face, chest and fingers in the scuffle.
Authorities later found a pair of wire cutters on Cross, and Home Depot employees found bolt cutters and a hacksaw next to the breached gate.
Cross was jailed on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling, possession of burglary tools, grand theft, criminal mischief, trespassing and resisting officers with violence.
Bed Bath & Beyond sales, earnings up in Q2
Bed Bath & Beyond’s earnings per diluted share for its second quarter rose 5.4% from 98 cents ($224.3 million) from 93 cents ($229.4 million) last year.
The company reported net sales of approximately $2.6 billion, an increase of approximately 12.1% from net sales of approximately $2.3 billion reported in the fiscal second quarter of 2011. Comparable-store sales in the fiscal second quarter of 2012 increased by approximately 3.5%, compared with an increase of approximately 5.6% in last year’s fiscal second quarter.
For the fiscal first half, the company reported net earnings of $1.87 per diluted share ($431.2 million), an increase of approximately 13.3% over net earnings of $1.65 per diluted share ($410 million) in the corresponding period a year ago. Net sales for the fiscal first half of 2012 were approximately $4.811 billion, an increase of approximately 8.8% from net sales of approximately $4.424 billion in the corresponding period a year ago. Comparable-store sales for the fiscal first half of 2012 increased by approximately 3.3%, compared with an increase of approximately 6.3% in last year’s fiscal first half.
Bed Bath & Beyond is expecting net earnings per diluted share to be approximately 99 cents to $1.04 for the fiscal third quarter and continues to expect net earnings per diluted share to increase by a high single to a low double digit percentage range for all of fiscal 2012, which will be 53 weeks and includes World Market and Linen Holdings from the date of each acquisition to the end of the fiscal year.
Housing experts predict strong recovery
Economists who follow the housing industry expect home prices to rise by a total of 2.3% during 2012, according to the September 2012 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. Compiled from 113 responses from a diverse group of economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists, the survey found that housing experts have become more bullish on home prices than they were last quarter. Many of the projections are based on the projected path of the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index during the coming five years.
Survey respondents expect home prices to increase in full-year 2012 by 2.3%, up from their forecast of -0.4% in the June 2012 survey. Respondents have also revised their forecasts for 2013-2016, predicting steadily increasing home values in each year.
"This is further evidence that we’re seeing a true recovery in the housing market," said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. "Not since mid-2010 — in the midst of the home buyer tax credits — have we seen this group so bullish on housing. It’s refreshing to see this optimism at a time when the market seems to be making an organic recovery, in the absence of an artificial stimulant like the tax credits."
The most optimistic quartile of panelists predicts a 4.4% home price increase in 2012, on average, while the most pessimistic predict an average increase of 0.3%.
Additionally, respondents overwhelmingly favor changes to the mortgage interest deduction. Ten percent believe it should be eliminated as soon as possible; 50% believe it should be eliminated, but phased out gradually; and 30% believe it should remain, but that more restrictions should be placed on eligibility. Only 11% believe it should remain as-is.
"Although the mortgage interest deduction remains enormously popular with existing and aspiring homeowners, it costs the federal government about $90 billion a year," said Pulsenomics founder Terry Loebs. "Time will tell whether the unprecedented fiscal challenges facing the U.S. coupled with a housing market now on the mend will embolden more policymakers to touch this lightning rod."
The panel also weighed in on expectations for the housing policies of the presidential candidates and the exercise of eminent domain to seize mortgages secured by underwater homes. Responses are below.
Additional details regarding this portion of the survey are available at pulsenomics.com.
The Home Price Expectations Survey, now in its 14th edition, was conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 by Pulsenomics on behalf of Zillow, Inc.