Retailers, FBI Launch Database

In response to what they called "an alarming rise in organized retail crime," the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have teamed up to launch the Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network (LERPnet), a secure national database that will allow retailers to share information.

With LERPnet, the partners will combat illegal activity including organized retail crime, burglaries, robberies, counterfeiting, and online auction fraud.

The database will launch on April 9. LERPnet will help by consolidating data from many localities and regions, enabling users to detect patterns that can lead to more effective deterrence and enforcement.

"With this system, retailers are banding together with law enforcement to send a clear message to criminals: We will not tolerate your behavior and we will stop you," said Joseph LaRocca, NRF vp of loss prevention.

According to NRF's 2006 Organized Retail Crime survey, 81% of retailers said they have been a victim of organized retail crime.

FBI supervisory special agent Brian Nadeau, program manager for the FBI's Organized Retail Theft program, calls LERPnet "a vision of the retail community that will help solve a $30 billion a year problem."

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