Nearly 400 loss prevention investigators and their law enforcement partners from the greater Atlanta region met to network and hear multiple keynote speakers and retail case studies at the 8th annual Georgia Retail Association Organized Retail Crime Alliance (GRAORCA) conference at the downtown Hyatt Regency on Wednesday, August 29.
The event began with welcome remarks from Georgia Senator Tyler Harper and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. In his remarks, Howard told the audience that he is asking to hire a full-time assistant DA and a dedicated investigator to focus totally on reducing retail crime. If his budget request is granted, his office plans to create programs with the goal of reducing retail crime by 10 percent, reduce ORC by 20 percent, and increase prosecutions by 20 percent by the end of 2019.
Three keynote speakers addressed the audience throughout the day. The morning speaker was Kimberly Overton, the chief resource prosecutor for the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys. She provided an energetic presentation on the four types of ways people learn and the importance of matching your communication style to the person you are trying to influence.
The mid-day keynote was offered by Tom Meehan, CSO and CISO for Controltek and retail technology editor for LP Magazine, who gave an overview of tools and techniques for accessing the dark web for investigations.
Describing her afternoon keynote as “not a typical keynote,” Judge Glenda Hatchett, who is well known for the reality court TV program Judge Hatchett, gave a moving talk about “finding your purpose and passion.”
There were multiple breakout sessions throughout the day on a variety of topics. Two sessions that stood out focused on retail ORC investigation case studies. Patrick Fairley Sr., ORC investigator for the Southern division of Home Depot, described details of a year-long investigation of a box-stuffing theft ring that hit more than 90 Home Depot stores in Florida and Georgia. Tim Huff, director of ORC investigations, and Marcelo Bravo, ORC manager, described Macy’s use of RFID for asset protection and “shortage avoidance” that has produced significant ROI.
The day ended with Chad McManus, CFE, CFI, LPC, field loss prevention manager for T-Mobile and chair of the Georgia Retailers Association LP committee, telling the attendees that the GRAORCA organization name has officially changed to the Georgia Retailers Organized Crime Alliance or GROC (pronounced GEE-rock).
Despite the name change, the organization will continue its mission of promoting retailer-law enforcement partnership to reduce organized retail crime in Georgia and the Southeast. Details about next year’s conference will be announced at a later date.