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FORCE Team Makes Arrest in Washtenaw County Organized Retail Crime Ring

LANSING – Yesterday, Richard Larsh, 55, of Ann Arbor, was arraigned before the 14A-1 District Court in Washtenaw County on charges of Organized Retail Crime in connection to a theft ring responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in losses to retailers Target, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom Rack, targeting locations in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

The investigation was conducted by the Attorney General’s Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit operating with Michigan State Police as the FORCE Team, as well as the Canton Police Department and representatives of the affected retailers. Organized retail crime entails coordinated efforts to steal product from retailers with the intent to resell in either legitimate or illegitimate marketplaces.

Larsh is charged with one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, and four counts of Organized Retail Crime, for allegedly operating the retail theft ring. The State alleges Larsh orchestrated small teams of ‘boosters’ to conduct push-out thefts wherein merchandise is simply removed from a store without providing payment, and to then sell the merchandise to Larsh who would then sell the stolen merchandise for a profit out of his vehicle.

“By working hand in hand with Michigan retailers affected by these thefts, our FORCE Team is able to quickly identify and investigate these coordinated criminal outfits that impact both retailers and consumers,” said Nessel. “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of the FORCE Team, the Canton Police Department, and our retail partners for disrupting yet another alleged theft ring in our state.”

Larsh will next appear before the 14A-1 District Court for a probable cause conference on January 25th, 2024. 

The FORCE Team and the Organized Retail Crime Unit were established in January by the Attorney General 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 special agents within the Department of Attorney General and Michigan State Police detectives to investigate and prosecute these crimes. 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. This is a first-in-the-nation unit, unique in the 50 states as being the first such unit with embedded, dedicated staff from the Department of Attorney General. 

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 earlier this year. Local law enforcement agencies or retailers with evidence of organized retail fraud are encouraged to email the ‘FORCE’ Team.


Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.

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