California Gov. Newsom signs bill to combat organized retail crime following brazen and violent thefts
July 22, 2021 at 02:30
Newsom announced new efforts to crack down on a surge of retail thefts and other crimes Wednesday following a series of violent incidents involving shoplifters in recent months.
The bill -- AB 331 -- also re-established organized retail theft as a crime, a designation which had lapsed on July 1.
"We’ve been organized in a very deliberative manner to address the issue of organized retail crime for a number of years," said Newsom.
"We are doubling down on those efforts today with this bill that I’ll be signing here in a moment."
LOS ANGELES MASK MANDATE REVIVED ON ANNIVERSARY OF NEWSOM ORDER THAT SHUT DOWN SCHOOLSThe task force teams will focus on three regions – the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego and Orange County.
Two California cities – Los Angeles and San Francisco – rank in the top five cities experiencing organized retail theft, according to the National Retail Federation.
Retail thieves have grown bolder in recent months as videos of thefts in San Francisco and Los Angeles have gone viral.
A video circulating online Tuesday appears to show two men in the Los Angeles suburb of Granda Hills casually leaving a TJ Maxx store with their arms full of items.
On July 15, Rite Aid employee Miguel Penaloza was shot and killed while confronting two men who attempted to leave the Los Angeles store with beer without paying, police said.
In San Francisco, 10 people entered a Nieman Marcus store and snatched designer purses in a smash-and-grab scheme before running out to waiting cars.
"The overall problem is a challenge — the brazenness of some of these crimes," San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said Wednesday.
Jessica Millan Patterson, the chairwoman for the California Republican Party, said Newsom was only getting serious about crime because he faces a recall election.