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Some Black Friday bargains at Michigan stores are a real steal

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Not everyone shopping in Michigan stores this weekend plans to buy.

Some plan to steal.

The hectic nature of the holiday shopping season makes it easier for shoplifters.

Individual shoplifters have always been a headache for Michigan store owners.   But Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers Association says now store owners are having to deal with organized gangs of shoplifters…

“We actually have organized crime behind these thefts. And it’s a huge problem,” says Scott,  “Whether they’re doing it in organized rings or the organized rings are hiring people to go out and do shoplifting, we’ve gone way beyond the casual shoplifter who does it either on a whim or because they have to.”

Scott says nationwide organized shoplifting gangs represent a growing share of the 15 to 30 billion dollars retailers lose to theft every year.

The Michigan legislature is considering bills to make organized shoplifting a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

If the legislature passes the bills this year, that would be something of an early Christmas present to Michigan retailers.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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