Wide-reaching California bill would create new crime for professional retail thieves

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The bill would also amplify the use of rehab and intervention programs as well as give police new tools to arrest and catch thieves.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Retail theft is a growing problem in California, and there’s an expansive new plan to crack down on it.

The National Retail Federation ranked the Sacramento area seventh in the country for organized retail crime.

A new proposal announced by state lawmakers aims to give new tools for fighting this problem, including creating a new crime with a hefty punishment.

“Organized retail theft is having a chilling affect on our communities,” said Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas.

Retail theft cases in the area are costing businesses and shoppers alike millions of dollars.

“Crime, like everything, evolves. And criminal enterprises are using new and different ways to get around current prohibitions,” said Rivas.

State lawmakers on the select committee on retail announced the California Retail Theft Reduction Act. It’s a wide-reaching proposal that would create a new crime targeting professional retail thieves with a penalty of up to three years for possession of stolen property with the intent to sell.

“Retail crime is an emotional issue for many of our residents. Business owners fear for their livelihoods, workers fear for their well-being and members of the public worry that it may no longer be safe or convenient to frequent their neighborhood stores,” said Assemblyman Rick Zbur (D-Hollywood).

There’s also a push for transparency. The proposal would create new reporting requirements for people who resell things online. Retailers would also have to report theft data.

The bill would amplify the use of rehab and intervention programs as well as give police new tools to arrest and catch thieves.

“With the introduction of this bill, we are demonstrating that the California Assembly has listened, and we are serious about addressing the problem of retail crime that is plaguing our communities,” said Zbur.

This bill is just one part of a larger bipartisan effort to stop retail theft across California.

State lawmakers said there are also 15 to 20 other bills regarding retail theft being introduced soon.

Lawmakers said the bill would not need to be approved by voters, but it would need govenror’s signature.

The proposal comes as more state leaders are calling for changes to or a repeal of Prop 47, which relaxed the state’s theft laws.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.