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Following a meeting today to formally kick off Arkansas’s efforts as part of the Organized Retail Crime Alliance (ORCA), Attorney General Tim Griffin issued the following statement:
“Last summer I was contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) about joining a regional effort to combat organized retail crime. Since then we have begun working within Arkansas and across state lines to address this significant criminal element, and today marked our first official meeting of the Arkansas contingent of ORCA.
“Even though this was our first official gathering, the fruits of our labor and collaboration are already evident. Less than two weeks ago the Blytheville Police Department arrested nine individuals and issued warrants on many more who were engaging in organized retail crime activity. Those arrests would not have been possible without the cooperation and sharing of information by multiple law enforcement agencies and private sector partners.
“Organized retail crime is a $70 billion-per-year enterprise in the United States, and those costs impact businesses and their customers. You can think of it as an organized retail crime tax, because those costs to businesses get passed on to us as consumers. This sort of cooperative effort to combat these criminals is vital to putting an end to their operations. To combat organized retail crime, we must have an organized approach. That’s what today’s meeting was all about, and I look forward to seeing more success on this front in the near future.”
Eric DeLaune, acting special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans who also oversees the HSI Arkansas Office, added this statement:
“Over the past few years, organized retail crime has exploded into a billion-dollar industry resulting in undue strain on small businesses, inflated prices for consumer goods, reduced tax revenue for public projects, and a surge in violent smash-and-grab robberies that threaten public safety. HSI Arkansas is proud to partner with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, the private sector and our other law enforcement partners across the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama to combat this trend of brazen organized retail theft. By pooling our resources and coming together with a common mission, we will be better postured to dismantle the criminal networks and sophisticated money laundering schemes that organized retail criminal organizations rely upon to evade detection and take advantage of retailers and consumers.”