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Crime DAs, retailers say California needs stronger shoplifting law

23:17  03 december  2021
23:17  03 december  2021 Source:   msn.com

California Gov. Gavin Newsom Promises to Boost Police Funding Amid Shoplifting Wave

  California Gov. Gavin Newsom Promises to Boost Police Funding Amid Shoplifting Wave "We want to protect people and we want to respect people's rights, including small business owners," Newsom said.Newsom, a Democrat, made the remarks during a speech at a COVID-19 vaccination event in San Francisco on Monday. He described multiple high-profile Bay Area robberies, including the organized storming of a Nordstrom luxury department store on Saturday, as "unacceptable" before noting that California had recently reestablished a retail theft task force.

Gavin Newsom said Wednesday in no uncertain terms that he thinks shoplifters should be prosecuted under existing California laws , as he called out local officials whom he said have been reluctant to do so. He was responding to a recent run of large-scale thefts in California and across the nation in Single operators have also been a growing problems for retailers who say the thieves face little consequence. Newsom, a Democrat who has boasted of his criminal justice reform efforts, promised that the proposed budget he sends to state lawmakers next month will "significantly increase our

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law aimed at curbing organized retail theft as violent smash-and-grab shoplifting costs state businesses millions of dollars every year. The law reestablishes the crime of organized retail theft, which lawmakers first created in 2018 but allowed to lapse as of July 1. Prosecutors can again seek to charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. It applies to those who work with others to steal merchandise either from brick-and-mortar stores or online, with the intent to sell or return the merchandise.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Spurred by a recent run of large-scale smash-and-grab robberies, prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California's governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat retail theft in the wake of a voter-approved easing of related laws.

FILE - A security guard stands outside the Nordstrom store at The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, on Nov. 23, 2021. Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting. California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin says shoplifting has been a growing problem. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - A security guard stands outside the Nordstrom store at The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, on Nov. 23, 2021. Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting. California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin says shoplifting has been a growing problem. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia, File) A security guard, right, stands at the entrance to a Nordstrom department store at the Grove mall in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, where a recent smash-and-grab robbery took place.  Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting. California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin says shoplifting has been a growing problem.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) © Provided by Associated Press A security guard, right, stands at the entrance to a Nordstrom department store at the Grove mall in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, where a recent smash-and-grab robbery took place. Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting. California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin says shoplifting has been a growing problem.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

“We cannot function as a society where we have told people over and over again that there is no consequence for stealing other people’s property," said Vern Pierson, immediate past president of the California District Attorneys Association and El Dorado County's district attorney.

Timeline: Chronicling Recent Smash-and-Grab Robberies in LA, Bay Area Amid Crime Spike

  Timeline: Chronicling Recent Smash-and-Grab Robberies in LA, Bay Area Amid Crime Spike Many of the reported thefts have involved dozens of people who broke into stores and stole items while traveling in groups.Most of the thefts reported thus far have occurred at stores in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. Several of the reported incidents have involved large groups of people rushing into stores and stealing products.

This law is total BS. Its way too lenient on theft and of course people take advantage of that, That’s why it is so bad, not because of drug possession which is the good part, mere drug users shouldn’t be put in the same category as as the scumbag dealers who make society a worse place. Walgreens is Closing 5 San Francisco Stores Thanks to This Failed California Policy; The city isn’t just experiencing a run of bad luck—its rampant shoplifting problem is directly rooted in its terrible policy choices.

Organized crime syndicates are behind spate of California 'smash and grab' heists - and are paying gangs between 0 and ,000 to swipe specific items at luxury stores in LA and San Francisco - experts say . One group of 40 to 50 looters wielding hammers smashed glass cases at a Hayward, California , jewelry store and ran off with loot. Governor Gavin Newsom vowed to crack down on organized retail theft rings in the Bay Area despite state law listing theft under 0 as a misdemeanor.

“We feel a little bit like we’re under assault," California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin said separately.

Shoplifting has been a growing problem, Michelin said, but recent large-scale thefts in California and elsewhere across the nation in which groups of individuals rush into stores and take goods in plain sight or smash and grab from display cases is ”raising it to a whole new level.”

California is hardly alone, with similar brazen incidents seen in Minnesota, Chicago's North Michigan Avenue and North Rush Street and many other locations.

Authorities in Oak Brook, Illinois, for instance said 14 people entered a Louis Vuitton store in the Chicago suburb last month and filled large plastic bags with clothing and other items worth more than $120,000.

Bear Spray Used in Latest Smash-and-Grab Robbery at Los Angeles Mall

  Bear Spray Used in Latest Smash-and-Grab Robbery at Los Angeles Mall Los Angeles police said they are investigating the incident, which is one of several retail thefts that have occurred in California over the last two weeks.The store, which is located at the Westfield Topanga & The Village shopping mall in Canoga Park, was hit by a group of thieves shortly before 7 p.m. local time as some shoppers were still inside the store, according to KABC-TV.

Retailers and law enforcement officials state that since shoplifting below 0 is now a misdemeanor, it means shoplifters face no pursuit and no punishment. Sources quote some large California retailers such as Safeway, Target, Rite Aid and CVS as saying that One piece of good news for California prosecutors is AB1065, a bill that makes it easier to tackle organized retail crime (ORC). As of July 2018, the bill has moved through the legislature but needs a final push in the state senate to make it to the governor’s desk. Some officials are still defending Proposition 47 and generating certain

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor in California law . The potential penalties are up to six (6) months in Welcome to the wonderful wacky world of California laws , where it is illegal to hand out straws or plastic Retail merchants are paying the price by being victimized da . It’s a relatively new concept, about 20 years old, to help retailers financially recover from the high cost of shoplifting , said to be in

National retail groups last month estimated the annual losses to be in the tens of billions of dollars. Some states’ attorney generals are supporting a congressional bill that would require more prevention efforts by large online marketplaces, where experts say many of the stolen goods are fenced.

Two pedestrians walk near a closed street entrance to a Nordstrom department store at the Grove mall in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, where a recent smash-and-grab robbery took place. Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting. California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin says shoplifting has been a growing problem.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) © Provided by Associated Press Two pedestrians walk near a closed street entrance to a Nordstrom department store at the Grove mall in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, where a recent smash-and-grab robbery took place. Prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat shoplifting. California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin says shoplifting has been a growing problem. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The thefts have become a political issue as well, particularly in California, where critics place blame on progressive policies like Proposition 47, a ballot measure approved by 60% of state voters in 2014 that reduced certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.

$25,000 in luxury purses stolen in latest 'grab and go' theft in California: What to know

  $25,000 in luxury purses stolen in latest 'grab and go' theft in California: What to know About $25,000 worth of luxury purses were stolen from a Nordstrom store in LA. Here's what to know about the 'flash mob' thefts.Los Angeles police said a security guard was sprayed with an irritant meant to deter charging bears at the Westfield Topanga & The Village shopping center in Canoga Park. The stolen bags were estimated to be worth $25,000, local media reported.

Homicides in California jumped 31 percent last year, making 2020 the deadliest year since 2007. The 2,202 homicides in 2020 represent an increase of 523 over 2019. Homicides in Los Angeles rose 40 percent to 332, and they rose 35 percent to 285 in San Francisco. Nov 03, 2020 · Nov. 2, 2020 6:54 pm ET Progressives in California in recent years have strengthened property rights—to other people’s property. Shoplifting has essentially been decriminalized, and retailers

Jerretta Sandoz said a new law downgrading theft of property whose value is less than 0 is to blame for rash of shoplifting incidents. Earlier this month, a video captured the moment at least ten people stole loads of designer bags from Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and fled undeterred. Two men casually walked out of a Los Angeles area TJ Maxx with their arms full of what appears to be stolen goods as brazen shoplifters continue to rampage through California retail stores.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta separately argued Wednesday that police and prosecutors still have the legal tools to go after such perpetrators, and Newsom called out some local officials he said choose not to do so.

“It’s patently false to assert that we have enough laws on the books that are fixing this problem, because it’s obviously not going away and won’t be going away," countered John Kabateck, director of the California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents small and independent business owners.

Yet authorities in Los Angeles on Thursday announced 14 arrests in 11 recent smash-and-grab robberies where nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise was stolen.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin last week charged nine people with looting targets including Louis Vuitton and other Union Square retailers.

And Bonta planned a Friday announcement with San Mateo County law enforcement officials on a major organized retail theft case in the Silicon Valley.

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Newsom has repeatedly said prosecutors can “stack” multiple misdemeanor thefts into a felony charge. But Pierson, the district attorney, said that "reveals a significant misunderstanding of the law in the wake of Prop. 47.”

Subsequent court decisions require that the repeated thefts involve the same victim and conduct eventually amounting to a loss exceeding $950, which Pierson said “is very difficult to prove."

“The law here in California is very clear — we cannot simply stack petty thefts into a felony,” he said.

Will Matthews, a spokesman for Californians for Safety and Justice, which sponsored the ballot measure, cited penal code sections for receiving stolen property, organized retail theft, conspiracy, grand theft or aggregating crimes that he said provide “multiple avenues” for filing more serious charges.

“Unfortunately, too many of our law enforcement leaders ... are choosing to play a blame game,” he said.

A law firm that has worked with the prosecutors' association last week introduced a ballot measure that would allow up to a year in jail for anyone who previously was twice convicted of various thefts.

“Brazen retail theft, auto theft, porch piracy, and other similar crimes are out of control,” asserts the initiative proposed by attorney Thomas Hiltachk, who did not return a call seeking comment. “Anyone convicted two or more times for these types of theft crimes must be incarcerated for up to one year. No exceptions, no excuses.”

How law enforcement is trying to stop mob retail thefts

  How law enforcement is trying to stop mob retail thefts With in-store customers expected to return in droves for the holiday shopping season, law enforcement agencies are moving to halt a wave of organized "smash-and-grab" crimes at retailers across the US. © Santa Rosa Police Department Stills from surveillance footage of a new smash and grab robbery that occurred Wednesday, 11/24/21, in Santa Rosa, California, at the Apple Store in the Santa Rosa Plaza. Hand out stills from the Santa Rosa Police Department. In Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities, police departments are increasing patrols at retailers targeted by mobs of thieves in brazen raids.

Pierson called the proposal “a significant step in the right direction” but said the association isn't a sponsor.

But 62% of California voters last year rejected a broader effort to roll back portions of Proposition 47 and other recent laws easing criminal sentences.

“Californians have made clear multiple times that they want to see us prioritize our investments on crime prevention over continued investments in failed incarceration," said Matthews.

Though Newsom and Bonta defended current law as adequate, the retail association's Michelin praised the governor's aides for reaching out to her last week to see if more should be done.

She thinks there may be common ground in restoring a “carrot and stick” approach that would let shoplifters enter diversion programs in lieu of jail.

“Many times they're homeless, they have additional problems, but there’s no reason for them to go out and take advantage of services. They’ll just continue to shoplift," she said.

Those lower-level thieves in turn are often recruited by retail theft organizers, experts say. And in another affront to brick-and-mortar stores already battling online sales, the stolen goods often are then sold online.

It's a double-whammy particularly for small businesses that can't afford increased security, said Kabateck: They are struggling this year with supply chain shortages only to see products they do receive stolen off the shelves.

Newsom said blaming Proposition 47 is too simplistic and pointed to consistently lower property crime rates since the measure took effect seven years ago.

That's because few retailers report the crimes, Pierson and Michelin said separately.

“I know on the retail side they’re underreported because if someone’s coming and stealing under $950 — I’ve heard this multiple times — there’s no reason; law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to come out and do anything. And if they do they’re just going to write them a ticket,” Michelin said.

She's proposing to work with her members and Newsom's administration next year to better collect that data, because right now “even the stores don’t know because a lot of times they just let them go."

GOP, businesses slam AOC for doubting existence of smash-and-grab robberies: 'Tone-deaf and offensive' .
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said 'a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out' referring to smash-and-grab incidents. The New York Democrat is facing pushback from Republicans and retail leaders."A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with The Washington Times last week.

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This is interesting!