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Investigative Report: America's Silent Crime: Organized Retail Fraud spreading   As the Christmas shopping season gets underway, police and retailers are keeping close watch on what is called the nation's silent crime: Shoplifting. Shoplifting has grown into a $30 billion industry; an economic drag that can no longer be dismissed as the traditional "five-finger discount.'' It is more organized, more professional and far more pervasive than people think. Only about 20 percent of shoplifters are prosecuted, according to law enforcement estimates in Michigan. "Organized Retail Crime is not shoplifting. It's a premeditated crime committed by sophisticated criminals,'' said William J. Hallan, chief operating officer for the Michigan Retailers Association in Lansing. "They know what they're searching for and they often go in with a shopping list of items,'' Hallan said. "They're stealing it to resell to further other criminal activities.'' Smaller, pricier items that can be easily concealed are targeted. The list includes teeth whitening strips, iPhones, cologne and medications. "A lot of times I'll take orders from people and steal what they want,'' said Douglas Loran Vanwyk, 32, to Grandville police after they arrested him in February for stealing glasses frames from Pearle Vision, according to a police report. Vanwyk said he resells the frames at half-price to help pay child support.

$4,000 Booster Bag Shoplifter arrested at Macy's South Shore Plaza, Braintree, MA  
A Boston woman made it out of a department store with about $3,000 worth of stolen merchandise but was arrested when she went back for more, police said. Officers arrested Stevee Davenport, 25, of Dorchester on Saturday night after personnel at the Macy's store in South Shore Plaza reported that she was shoplifting, according to police. The store's loss-prevention staff told police that they saw Davenport leave the store with stolen items and put them into a vehicle in the parking lot. She then went back inside and picked up more merchandise before store employees confronted her. When confronted, Davenport had more than $1,000 in merchandise and three so-called "booster" bags, which are used to conceal merchandise and defeat sensor tags, police said. Police said Davenport had 125 items with a value of almost $4,000. She was arrested and charged with larceny over $250 and possession of clonazepam.

Monroe, LA Police search for Pecanland Mall thieves
Monroe Police have released photos of three females and one male who are wanted for felony theft at Champs in Pecanland Mall to ask for the public's help in identifying the suspects. The theft occurred shortly after 6 p.m. Nov. 11, when they selected several items from the store and concealed them in bags. The suspects left the store without paying for the merchandise only to return around 8 p.m. and steal more clothing. After discovering the shortage, footage of the suspects were observed on CCTV. The suspects were seen splitting up and talking with sales associates within the store to provide a distraction. Video captured the suspects stealing more than $1,500 in clothing from the store.

Man sentenced in $1000 baby formula theft from Target in Cottage Grove, MN
A Minneapolis man was sentenced to prison for trying to walk out of the Cottage Grove Target store without paying for more than $1,000 in stolen baby formula. A Target employee told police Sept. 9, 2013, that a man had filled a plastic tote with baby formula containers and tried to leave the store. A police officer saw the suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Deontae Maurice Jackson, walk out of the store but turn around after apparently spotting the cop, according to the criminal complaint. Jackson was arrested for felony theft when he was found in possession of 56 cans of baby formula hidden in the tote. The total value of the merchandise was $1,040. Jackson was sentenced Oct. 30 in Washington County District Court. He was ordered to complete a 19-month prison sentence, with credit for 221 days already served, and he will be on five years probation.

Macy's employee accused of stealing $3K from retailer in Boynton Beach in false refunds charged with organized fraud

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