April 22, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

California Attorney General Announces Charges in Organized Retail Theft Case

Three Suspects Accused of Targeting High-End Retail Stores Across the State

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced charges against three individuals allegedly involved in a spree of organized retail theft, robbery, and grand theft targeting high-end retail establishments across California.

According to Bonta, the crimes occurred between December 12, 2022, and February 12, 2024, resulting in commercial burglaries and attempted burglaries in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, Alameda, and Santa Clara Counties. These incidents collectively inflicted losses exceeding $300,000 on the targeted stores.

The investigation, led by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Organized Retail Task Force (ORCTF), involved collaboration with multiple law enforcement agencies, including the San Diego Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and various municipal police departments. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) filed multiple felony charges against the suspects, encompassing organized retail theft, robbery, and grand theft.

“Organized retail theft harms businesses, retailers, and consumers – and puts the public at risk,” remarked Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Organized retail crime has been plaguing our state for far too long. I want to thank our local law enforcement partners for their work in apprehending the suspects in this case.”

The suspects are accused of employing a smash-and-grab modus operandi, dashing into stores, seizing high-value items such as purses, and swiftly fleeing the premises. Allegedly, they forcibly removed merchandise, including items from luxury brands like Burberry, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, collectively valued at approximately $309,752.

Chief of Detectives Hamilton from the Los Angeles Police Department emphasized the significance of regional cooperation in combating organized retail theft. He stated, “A strong economy and a feeling of safety should not be disrupted in any community by a delinquent few. We will continue to strengthen public safety and build trust with our businesses and consumers alike.”

While criminal charges have been filed against the suspects, it’s crucial to note that these charges are merely allegations. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Organized retail crime poses a significant challenge not only in California but across the United States. A 2020 national survey revealed that U.S. retailers lose approximately $700,000 for every $1 billion in sales to organized retail crime. Attorney General Bonta has underscored his commitment to addressing this issue and encourages the public to report complaints and provide tips through the California Department of Justice website at oag.ca.gov/retail-crime.

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