LANSING, MI -- (Marketwire) -- 03/07/12 -- The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) today praised Governor Rick Snyder's plan to provide law enforcement with better tools to fight organized retail crime.
"We applaud Gov. Snyder for taking on this serious public safety issue, and we look forward to assisting his legislative efforts to ensure better laws are enacted," said James P. Hallan, MRA president and CEO.
Hallan explained that organized retail crime is responsible for a large and growing share of the estimated $15-30 billion in annual retail theft across the nation.
"We're not talking about conventional shoplifters, we're talking about sophisticated rings of professional criminals who steal for large financial gain," Hallan said. "In many instances the stolen merchandise is sold for cash or drugs, which can be used to finance other major criminal activities."
Current Michigan laws are generally limited and deal primarily with personal shoplifting, Hallan said. That means prosecutors are left with a patchwork of criminal statutes that are not specifically applicable to organized retail crime and make enforcement difficult.
"Organized retail crime not only hurts retail businesses, it has far-reaching effects throughout society," Hallan said. "We appreciate the governor addressing this problem and we're prepared to help any way we can."
Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of retailing in Michigan and the nation's largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers and other businesses. MRA's nearly 5,000 members represent more than 15,000 stores and websites across Michigan.