by Scott McClallen
A Detroit man was arraigned on organized retail fraud charges for allegedly stealing $80,000 of merchandise from Sam’s Clubs in Michigan.
Kevin Tansil, 64 of Detroit, was arraigned before Judge Vikki Bayeh Haley in the 67th District Court in Grand Blanc on five counts of organized retail fraud for his role in an alleged theft and resale ring targeting Sam’s Club stores across mid- and southeast Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
In April, Michigan State Police and Sam’s Club investigators began observing a group entering Sam’s Club locations and conducting “push-out” thefts, whereby people push carts loaded with merchandise out the front door without paying.
Tansil allegedly stole bottled liquor, electronic equipment and seafood from Sam’s Clubs in Auburn Hills, Grand Blanc, Lansing and Ypsilanti and planned to resell the products.
Nessel’s new organized retail crime unit worked with the Michigan State Police to stop organized retail crime with the intent to resell in either legitimate or illegitimate marketplaces.
“Our FORCE Team and the Organized Retail Crime Unit are working hand in hand with retail companies to investigate and prosecute these coordinated theft and resale schemes,” Nessel said in a statement. “In only its first year of operation, the FORCE Team has already brought multiple charges against the operators of these often sophisticated crime rings that cost Michigan retailers millions of dollars every year.”
Nessel established the team in January 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.
Since 2020, consumers have paid higher prices from inflation and increased retail theft from individuals as well as organized groups of up to 50 people who target stores, according to Nessel. She has said she’s working on multiple organized retail theft cases worth millions of dollars.
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