(KRON) — More help is on the way to crack down on the problem of retail theft. A statewide task force is receiving millions of dollars in additional funding. California Highway Patrol is ramping up efforts to disrupt retail theft rings statewide with the help of additional funding for its organized retail task force.
But a retail sector expert says shoplifting won’t stop until the law is changed.
One video of a mob of shoplifters inside a Los Angeles-area Nordstrom has been seen around the world.
“A flash mob of individuals ransacked a department store, took more than $300,000 in merchandise,” said CHP commissioner Ceto Ortiz.
Scenes like these may call into question whether or not the retail task force is making a difference. Officials at the CHP provided these stats showing the recovery of over 300,000 assets and over 1,200 arrests.
“You know I was actually thrilled to see what’s going on with the CHP. California retailers, we introduced the original bill to establish the organized retail task force back in 2018,” said Rachel Michelin.
Michelin, the president of the California Retailers Association, applauds Gov. Newsom and state legislators for getting behind the retail task force. She says the next step for lawmakers is to adjust the felony threshold for serial shoplifters.
“That fact that in California we still don’t have the ability to go after repeat offenders. We’re not allowed to aggregate up to that $950 dollar mark. Part of what we are seeing as well is people who took advantage of that, and they continue to push the envelope,” Michelin said.
She says with that component to help the CHP and its efforts, a key incentive to deter this kind of brazen lawlessness will likely continue.
“You know that’s why we’re seeing some of these smash and grabs across the State of California. You know, to retailers it’s important that our employees are safe. That our customers are safe,” said Michelin.