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Inaugural North Carolina Organized Retail Crime Investigator’s Conference a Huge Success

As part of ongoing efforts to build effective partnerships between retail organizations and local police departments in the battle against organized retail crime, the Winston-Salem Police Department recently hosted the inaugural North Carolina Organized Retail Crime Investigator’s Conference in Clemmons, North Carolina. This free event, which was held on September 16th, provided an exciting opportunity for law enforcement and business personnel to meet, network, and establish effective working relationships while discussing and receiving training on Organized Retail Crime (ORC) and its impact on North Carolina and the nation.

The one-day conference was designed to bring together law enforcement investigators and retail business personnel to combat the growing issue of these groups, large and small who operate in the state. The event was well-organized and very well-attended, with a diverse and highly motivated audience that showed the passion and enthusiasm that is the cornerstone of a successful outcome. Teamwork and cooperation set the stage for the day’s events, with attendees eager to learn and participate. Among the 150+ guests that attended the event were retailers and loss prevention professionals representing 30 retail organizations across nine states, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers representing 20 different law enforcement agencies from North Carolina and across the country.

The Day’s Activities

Chief Barry Rountree of the Winston-Salem Police Department offered an opening address, and the Winston-Salem Police Department Honor guard presented the national anthem to start the conference. This was followed by educational sessions by state and national speakers covering a wide range of topics, to include:

  • “The Important of Partnership between the Private and Public Sector in Organized Retail Crime Cases,” by David Cutherell, CFI who serves as the Regional Director of Stores Investigation – Mid-Atlantic and Southeast Regions for Macy’s
  • “How to Create and Accomplished a Successful Organized Retail Crime Task Force,” by Lt. Jim Ostojic of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office
  • “Dismantling an Organized Retail Crime Criminal Enterprise (Case Study),” by Brendan “Ben” Dugan, the Regional Investigations Supervisor – Organized Retail Crime Division for Walgreens
  • “Interviewing a Booster,” by Rory Stallard the Corporate Manager of Organized Retail Crime for The Home Depot
  • “The High Point Police Department Larceny Initiative,” by Lt. Tracy Perry of the High Point Department
  • “Local ORC Groups/ North Carolina Organized Retail Crime Investigators Association (NCORCIA),” by Inv. Stephen Horsley of the Winston-Salem Police Department

Organized Retail Crime a Growing Concern

Organized Retail Crime is a growing concern in North Carolina and across the country. The primary objective of Organized Retail Crime is to steal from retail organizations for the purpose of turning retail products into financial gain, NC ORC Conference 2rather than for personal use. Typically coordinated under well-planned procedures and rules, professional crime rings can operate on a local, regional, national or international scale. These intricate criminal operations are responsible for tens of billions of dollars in losses each year and can devastate both our retail businesses and our communities as a whole.

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With Organized Retail Crime accounting for more than double that of other property crimes such as robbery, larceny, burglary and NC ORC Conference 3auto thefts combined, the gravity of the losses attributed to ORC operations have grown so significant that it has captured the attention of retailers, the law enforcement community, and society as a whole.

The feedback received regarding the presentations and the conference as a whole were exceptional, with many requests for the conference to continue in the coming years. An encore 2016 event is already in the works, with plans to hold the conference around the same time next year.

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