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Lansing man arraigned for retail theft crime ring

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(The Center Square) – A Lansing man was arraigned in Eaton County on eight charges of organized retail crime and one charge of conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony.

Eric Tanner, 38, of Lansing, allegedly operated an organized retail crime ring targeting Lansing-area home improvement stores, employing drug-dependent acquaintances to steal merchandise to be later sold on Facebook marketplace.

The alleged thefts happened between May 2023 and January 2024 targeting power tools and vacuums at Home Depot locations in Lansing, Jackson, and Okemos, and a Lansing Lowe’s and Kroger.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel welcomed the charges

“Our FORCE Team is doing incredible work alongside our retail partners to disrupt criminal operations all across the State,” Nessel said in a statement. “We often see the characteristics evident in this case — multiple theft perpetrators, brazen daytime thefts, turning merchandise over to a single operator who then sells the loot for profit. The FORCE Team and Organized Retail Crime Unit continue stamping out these networks and I’m proud of their efforts.”

Tanner is scheduled to appear before the Court for a probable cause conference on April 8.

The FORCE Team and the Organized Retail Crime Unit were established in January 2023 to 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 the Department of Attorney General and Michigan State Police detectives. 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 is dedicated to working 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 early last year.

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