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AG’s FORCE Team Charges Retail Crime Ring Operator Targeting Home Improvement Stores

LANSING – Today, Eric Tanner, 38, of Lansing, was arraigned in the 56A District Court in Eaton County on eight charges of Organized Retail Crime and one charge of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.  

Tanner is alleged to have operated an organized retail crime ring targeting Lansing-area home improvement stores, employing drug-dependent acquaintances to steal merchandise to be later sold on Facebook marketplace. The specific and charged thefts are alleged to have: 

  • happened between May 2023 and January 2024;
  • most commonly targeted power tools and vacuums; and 
  • taken place at Home Depot locations in Lansing, Jackson, and Okemos, and a Lansing Lowe’s and Kroger. 

“Our FORCE Team is doing incredible work alongside our retail partners to disrupt criminal operations all across the State,” said Nessel. “We often see the characteristics evident in this case— multiple theft perpetrators, brazen daytime thefts, turning merchandise over to a single operator who then sells the loot for profit. The FORCE Team and Organized Retail Crime Unit continue stamping out these networks and I’m proud of their efforts.” 

Tanner will next appear before the Court for a probable cause conference on April 8th. 

The FORCE Team and the Organized Retail Crime Unit were established in January of 2023 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/WalmartMeijerTarget, Home Depot, TJ Maxx, Rite-Aid, Lululemon, Ulta, and Lowe’s. The team’s first major investigation produced charges against seven individuals early last year. Local law enforcement agencies or retailers with evidence of organized retail fraud are encouraged to email the ‘FORCE’ Team



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

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