"You can see where Michigan's law is the product of a lot of research and I applaud them," says Rich Mellor, NRF's vice president of loss prevention.
"My guess is that thieves are gravitating toward states that do not have strong ORC laws on the books."
The law, supported by the Michigan Retailers Association
, places a very strict and narrow definition on ORC: Theft of merchandise with the intent or purpose of reselling, distributing or transferring stolen retail merchandise to another retail merchant or any other person personally, through the mail or through any electronic medium, including the Internet, in exchange for anything of value.
emphasizes that there are several main covenants of the Michigan law, all of which are in sync with knowingly committing theft, organizing, supervising or financing an enterprise, removing anti-shoplifting devices, conspiring with others to commit ORC, receiving or purchasing merchandise that's stolen as part of the act, using a device to facilitate commission of the crime, knowingly deactivating or preventing fire exit alarms from sounding, and communicating over wireless devices to arrange sale of stolen merchandise.
Some states have chosen to deal with other issues separately - actions "associated with shoplifting like removing electronic tags or trying to disable electronic systems or coming into the store with foil-lined bags to negate electronic control of merchandise," Mellor
"Some states went after these things to either make it an additional charge or make it a more severe crime."
Additionally, "Some thieves are using fire exits to escape or come in with tools to deactivate the fire exit alarms in order to get an easy way out of the store.
Many states have put this into their laws," Mellor
Disabling alarms isn't an automatic felony, he
adds, noting that states all have different classes of misdemeanors and felonies.