Like all liberal policies – another knee jerk idea not fully thought out
Shoplifting in some cases have doubled since California voters approved Proposition 47 and ended the possibility of charging shoplifting as a felony.
ROCKLIN, Calif. (AP) — Perry Lutz says his struggle to survive as a small businessman became a lot harder after California voters reduced theft penalties 1½ years ago.
About a half-dozen times this year, shoplifters have stolen expensive drones or another of the remote-controlled toys he sells in HobbyTown USA, a small shop in Rocklin, northeast of Sacramento. “It’s just pretty much open season,” Lutz said. “They’ll pick the $800 unit and just grab it and run out the door.”
Anything below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor — and usually means the thieves face no pursuit and no punishment, say retailers and law enforcement officials. So it is worth the risk. Low risk, high reward. Crime now pays.
Shoplifting reports to the Los Angeles Police Department jumped by a quarter in the first year, according to statistics the department compiled for The Associated Press. The ballot measure also lowered penalties for forgery, fraud, petty theft and drug possession.
Prosecutors, police and retailers, including California Retailers Association President Bill Dombrowski and CVS Health spokesman Mike DeAngelis, say the problem is organized retail theft rings whose members are well aware of the reduced penalties.
Duh, we didn’t think about that
“The law didn’t account for that,” said Capt. John Romero, commander of the LAPD’s commercial crimes division. “It did not give an exception for organized retail theft, so we’re seeing these offenders benefiting and the retailers are paying the price.”
Shoplifting rings generally recruit society’s most vulnerable — the homeless, low-end drug users, those living in the country illegally — to steal merchandise that can be sold for a discount on the streets or over the Internet, said Joseph LaRocca, a Los Angeles-based theft-prevention consultant and formerly the National Retail Federation’s vice president of loss prevention.
While misdemeanors, in theory, can bring up to a year in county jail, Fresno Police Sgt. Mark Hudson said it’s not worth it to issue a citation or arrest a suspect who would likely be immediately released.
So they are just allowed to take the merchandise and run.
“We’ve heard of cases where they’re going into stores with a calculator so they can make sure that what they steal is worth less than $950,” said Robin Shakely, Sacramento County assistant chief deputy district attorney.