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Ann Arbor man arraigned for organized retail theft

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(The Center Square) – An Ann Arbor man was arraigned on charges of organized retail crime for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars of products from Target, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

Richard Larsh, 55, is charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony, and four counts of organized retail crime for allegedly operating the retail theft ring.

Court records say Larsh orchestrated small teams of “boosters” to conduct push-out thefts wherein merchandise is taken from a store without paying, and to then sell the merchandise to Larsh who would then sell the stolen merchandise for a profit out of his vehicle.

Attorney General’s Organized Retail Crime Unit conducted the investigation operating with Michigan State Police as the FORCE Team, as well as the Canton Police Department and representatives of the affected retailers.

Organized retail crime coordinates efforts to steal products from retailers with the intent to resell in either legitimate or illegitimate marketplaces, which raises consumer prices.

“By working hand in hand with Michigan retailers affected by these thefts, our FORCE Team is able to quickly identify and investigate these coordinated criminal outfits that impact both retailers and consumers,” Nessel said in a statement. “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of the FORCE Team, the Canton Police Department, and our retail partners for disrupting yet another alleged theft ring in our state.”

Larsh will next appear before the 14A-1 District Court for a probable cause conference Jan. 25.

Created in January, the FORCE Team and the ORCU target criminal organizations that steal products from retailers to repackage and sell for a profit.

Two assistant attorneys general serve the unit full time, working with special agents within the Department of Attorney General and Michigan State Police detectives to investigate and prosecute these crimes. In September, the Department announced a partnership with the FBI’s Detroit Fraud and Financial Crimes Task Force, which has assigned a special agent to the FORCE Team to assist State efforts to combat organized retail crime.

The FORCE Team works collaboratively with retailers and local law enforcement agencies to combat organized retail crime. Recent corporate partners on investigations have included Sam’s Club/Walmart, Meijer, Target, Home Depot, TJ Maxx, Rite-Aid, Lululemon, Ulta, and Lowe’s. The team’s first major investigation produced charges against seven individuals earlier this year.

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