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Publix Super Markets' loss prevention manager of distribution received the 2008 Loss Prevention Case of the Year award by the National Retail Federation yesterday, during the trade group's 2008 Loss Prevention Conference and Expo in Orlando.
In June 2007, Ron Averette began amassing evidence that suggested a major organized retail crime group was operating in the central Florida area, according to NRF. Detective Jim Ostojic of the Polk County Sheriff's Office contacted Averette to compare the details of a specific arrest with other arrests at Publix stores, and they quickly linked the suspect to several other pending cases.
With Detective Ostojic's help, Averette approached Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Telly Sands to present their findings. A task force was quickly established, and over the next seven months, Averette worked hand in hand with law enforcement to uncover the crime ring. The sting operation uncovered the largest (in dollar losses) organized retail crime ring to date and has been a topic of conversation throughout the retail loss prevention community since the arrests were made in January 2008.
NRF presented its Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Award to Detective Ostojic and Special Agent Sands.
Finally, the trade group added nine new inductees to its Ring of Excellence, a recognition program for loss prevention professionals whose achievements and leadership have significantly shaped the industry.