$197,000 in cash, merchandise recovered from alleged retail theft ring

Nine people have been charged in what State Attorney General Rob Bonta calls “another step in the fight” against organized retail theft.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — About $62,000 in cash and $135,000 in stolen merchandise were recovered in Los Angeles on Monday when police arrested five people they suspect staged a retail robbery ring hitting stores across California, including Sacramento.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a news release on Friday that a total of nine people are charged with property stolen from retailers like Macy’s, JC Penney and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Bonta said they were charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and receiving stolen goods.

Three of the suspects are charged in a separate complaint with allegedly having $17,000 in stolen goods on them.

Police were still trying to find a ninth suspect. They were all charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, organized retail theft, grand theft, possession of stolen property and a special allegation that the theft totaled more than $100,000, Bonta said.

He said the group allegedly stole and transported hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from stores in Los Angeles, Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura counties. They would then have shipped the stolen goods internationally.

“Today, we are taking another step toward addressing this issue by announcing arrests and felony charges against individuals suspected of participating in an organized crime scheme targeting retailers across our state,” Bonta said in his statement. communicated. “I would like to thank the California Highway Patrol and our business partners for their cooperation and assistance in this investigation. As our state’s law enforcement official, I will continue to aggressively pursue and hold accountable those who participate in organized retail theft.”

State lawmakers are considering two bills to combat organized retail theft. A bill would create an online reporting platform for consumers to report suspected stolen goods online. Another would allow separate cases of retail theft to be counted globally against the existing $950 crime threshold approved by voters in 2014.

“My bill, AB 2390, would hold offenders accountable while providing diversion programs to address the root causes of crime, such as poverty, mental illness or childhood trauma,” said Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat, who introduced the bill. Thursday.

He added: “Currently, too many offenders charged with a misdemeanor for theft under $950 are not given a prison sentence and often re-offend. This bill would help deter serial theft by holding offenders accountable while providing the support services needed to ensure they do not re-offend. »

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