Bills Target Organized Shoplifting

Mar 8, 2013

Two bills making their way through the legislature aim to cut down on organized crime. The measures would curb what’s called organized retail theft.

Organized shoplifting involves a group of people systematically stealing from retail stores on a large scale. Because the type of crime can involve so many people, it makes it difficult to prosecute. Republican Representative Ross Spano of Riverview, who’s sponsoring the House version of the measure, points out that retailers aren’t the only ones that shoulder the costs.

“Believe it or not they’re so well-organized that after stealing various items, they resell the items to other retailers. So, unfortunately these losses are passed on to consumers and so folks like you and me are paying for the wrongful acts of these organized thieves,” Spano said.

If the bills pass, they would lengthen the statute of limitations on organized shoplifting, allow prosecutors to charge whole groups of conspirators and stiffen penalties for convictions.  Both measures are expected to be taken up in committees next week.