Shoplifting has become big business, and South Florida law enforcement agencies are teaming up in hopes of closing up shop.

Federal officials announced Tuesday the creation of a new local task force to tackle organized retail crime, which has become, according to recent national survey, a $30 billion industry in the United States and has stolen from a majority of retail businesses.

The group, which includes detectives from the Broward Sheriff's Office, will be taking aim at all facets of such retail crime, ranging from the guy who lines his pants with tin foil to fool anti-theft sensors to cracking down on gangs who drive away with cargo containers full of merchandise.

Authorities discussed some recent arrests in South Florida to illustrate the need for such a task force.

One cited case was the April arrest of a couple in Palm Beach who were allegedly trying to steal $2,388 worth of baby formula from a Palm Springs Walmart store.

"We're not speaking about your simple onesy-twosy shoplifter," said Special Agent in Charge Alysa D. Erichs, who heads the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in South Florida.

The stolen loot often is sold at local flea markets and on the Internet, and some of the methods have ranged from sophisticated to full-out violent, including recent armed robberies of local cellphone stores, Erichs said.

The creation of the task force comes just weeks after the National Retail Federation unveiled its latest survey looking at losses caused by organized retail crime. The survey ranked Miami's metropolitan area as No. 4 in the country for organized retail theft activity.

Rich Mellor, the organization's vice president for loss prevention, said the retail industry is falling short against sophisticated and enterprising criminals. "All of those things we did a year ago to protect our merchandise suddenly is old," Mellor said. "The criminals are beating us at the game so we have to develop new initiatives such as pushing for task forces like this one."

To illustrate a common scheme, Mellor and others pointed to a recent Broward sheriff's case of a Hialeah couple suspected in more than 50 elaborate thefts of children's products worth $36,000.

The couple would buy the big-ticket items and leave. They later would return to the store another day, select the same items from the store shelves, and return those new items using the receipt from the previous purchase.

Sgt. Rich Rossman, of the Broward sheriff's Organized Retail Crime Unit, (And a Vice President of C.L.E.A.R.) said that type of case is just one of many his colleagues have been targeting since the unit's creation in 2011.

"This is big business," said Rossman. "This is not shoplifting."