Two arrested; $80,000 of merchandise recovered
Police in Macon, Ga. have arrested two men they believe are part of a shoplifting ring that targeted Home Depot and Lowe’s stores throughout the state and also in Miami, according to an article in the Macon Telegraph.
Loss prevention personnel in a Macon Home Depot called police on Jan. 26 after they suspected two men of shoplifting. Officers arrested Pablo Lorenzo, 54, of Miami, and Edelberto Opopesa, 20, of Louisville, Ky., on shoplifting charges. Officers found that Opopesa allegedly concealed about $3,000 worth of merchandise.
A third suspect fled the scene.
After a search of the suspects’ vehicles, the police said they found $12,000 in merchandise allegedly stolen from Home Depot and Lowe’s. Upon further investigation, Home Depot has been able to link about $80,000 in merchandise from several of its stores to a shoplifting ring involving the two men, authorities said.
Retail vacancy rates decline, according to study
An annual report by Marcus and Millichap, a real estate investment and brokerage firm, showed a drop in the nationwide vacancy rate for retail properties, from 10.2% last year to the current 10%, according to an article in the San Diego Union.
The Encino, Calif.-based company forecasted 64 million sq. ft. of retail space will be under construction in 2011, double that of 2010.
“The tide has begun to turn,” the report said, thanks to monthly retail sales at $275 billion at the end of 2010, after excluding autos and gas. The authors called this benchmark breakthrough “a critical bellwether of consumer demand.”
But it noted there is still an excess of store space in many markets, and increasing sales aren’t high enough to raise rents for retail space. No change in rental rates were predicted nationally until 2012.
In terms of retail rankings, Marcus & Millichap kept Washington, D.C., at the top of its National Retail Index, with New York City and San Diego in second and third place. The list is based on retail vacancies, rental rates, population growth, employment and other factors. Several California cities occupy spaces on the Top 10 list because restrictive land-use policies control supply and keep vacancies low.
The bottom 10 were also consistent over the last two years: Jacksonville, Fla; Cleveland; Detroit; Cincinnati; Las Vegas; Sacramento, Tucson, Ariz.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Indianapolis; and Phoenix placed in the bottom 10 of the National Retail Index.
Readers respond: Housing mortgage market reform
The Obama administration released its housing "white paper," which advocates big changes in the U.S. mortgage markets. One change: wind down the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"After the revelations of the last couple of years, it appears that Fannie and Freddie were nothing more that a giant slush fund for the political party in power. Getting rid of it sound like a good move. But after the smoke clears, I think all will be the same people, same polices, same buildings, same, same, same — oh, a NEW SIGN, and that will be all that’s new."