Cracking Down on Retail Crime: AG Nessel Highlights FORCE Team’s Success

In a concerted effort to combat the growing issue of retail crime, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel addressed the public on Thursday, emphasizing the importance of the FORCE Team’s initiatives.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Michigan businesses suffered a staggering loss of $3.2 billion due to retail theft in 2022.

This significant financial impact has driven Nessel to take a stand against organized retail crime.

At the press conference, Nessel stood alongside representatives from major retailers to discuss the strides made by the FORCE Team.

The acronym FORCE stands for Focused Organized Retail Crime Enforcement, highlighting the team’s mission to investigate, prosecute, and prevent retail crime.

Nessel’s frustration with the issue was palpable as she stated, “Think there is nothing more depressing to see stores have to shutter their doors because they couldn’t sustain operations.”

Retail crime isn’t limited to large urban areas; it’s affecting small businesses across the state. In REO Town, a small business community, the impact of retail crime is deeply felt. Amy McMeeken, owner of The Vintage Junkie, shared her experience with a theft that occurred in January 2024.

Her store, along with several others nearby, was hit by a group theft, resulting in a loss of over $900 in merchandise. “That was really hard because it has not been the easiest year so far, in a few years and since it was a lot, it was really hard to recoup,” McMeeken said.

The emotional and financial toll on small businesses like McMeeken’s is immense. She pointed out that the tight-knit nature of the community amplifies the impact of such crimes.

“The community because we are so tight-knit when one person has something bad happen to them, all of us feel it.” Despite the challenges, McMeeken remains hopeful for the future of Mid-Michigan, stressing the broader impact of retail crime.

“They should know that when if you do things like that to a small community or a small business, it doesn’t just affect the business, it affects the community,” she added.

Attorney General Nessel delivered a stern warning to those considering engaging in retail theft, stating, “We’re watching you and when we catch you we’ll prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

This strong stance is intended to deter potential criminals and reassure business owners that their concerns are being taken seriously.

The FORCE Team’s efforts are part of a broader strategy to address organized retail crime, which includes working closely with local law enforcement and retailers.

Nessel encouraged retailers who have evidence of retail fraud or theft to contact their local law enforcement and to email the FORCE Team. By fostering a collaborative approach, the state aims to create a more secure environment for businesses.

The press conference served not only as a platform to highlight the ongoing issue but also to showcase the commitment of the state’s top law enforcement officials to addressing it.

Nessel’s message was clear: retail crime will not be tolerated, and those who engage in it will face severe consequences.

The economic and emotional repercussions of retail crime extend beyond individual businesses, affecting entire communities.

According to the source, the significant losses reported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce underscore the urgent need for effective measures to combat this issue.

The FORCE Team represents a proactive approach to addressing retail crime, combining investigation, prosecution, and prevention in a comprehensive strategy.

As small business owners like Amy McMeeken continue to recover from the impact of theft, the support and protection offered by the FORCE Team and local law enforcement are crucial.

The collaborative efforts aim to restore a sense of security and stability to communities across Michigan, ensuring that businesses can thrive without the constant threat of retail crime.

In conclusion, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s press conference highlighted the critical work being done by the FORCE Team to prevent retail crime. The significant financial losses faced by Michigan businesses due to theft have prompted a strong response from the state’s law enforcement.

Through the efforts of the FORCE Team, there is hope for a future where businesses can operate safely and communities can feel secure. Retailers are urged to report any incidents of theft, reinforcing the collective effort to combat this pervasive issue.

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