The Battle Creek City Commission could be closing a loophole surrounding shoplifting that might bring in some extra cash.

The Commission’s agenda for their May 15 meeting shows that an ordinance will be introduced, that specifically prohibits retail fraud. The City already has an ordinance against theft, but without a specific shoplifting ordinance, the cases must be handled under the state’s anti-shoplifting law. Consequently, the Battle Creek Police Officer making the arrest needs to hand the case over to the Calhoun County Prosecutors Office, and the city wouldn't get any money for it.

By creating a local retail fraud statute, the city would be able to both prosecute the case and recoup some of the fines and costs associated with the court case. As well, the action summary in the agenda says it would mean the arresting officer was less "tied up" getting the case to the County.

The law, if the Commission approves it, would make it a misdemeanor to steal less than $200 worth of property from a business, or to do things like change the price on a product or attempt to return an item you didn't actually buy. Violators would face up to 93 days in jail or a fine of $500.

The ordinance was requested by BCPD Chief Jim Blocker, and it is supported by the Battle Creek City Attorney's Office.

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