A new bill, introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Catherine Cortez Masto D-Nev., is designed to crack down on flash mob robberies and intricate retail theft schemes.
The bill is called The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023. A statement from Grassley's office said the bill would create "a unified government and industry collaboration to address this trend. The bill establishes a Center to Combat Organized Retail Crime at Homeland Security Investigations that combines expertise from state and local law enforcement agencies as well as retail industry representatives."
It would also create "new tools to assist in federal investigation and prosecution of organized retail crime, and help recover lost goods and proceeds."
Grassley said: "Stores throughout American communities have not been spared from a national crime wave. These organized theft rings have been developing new tactics to pilfer goods, causing economic harm to American businesses and putting consumers at risk while funding transnational criminal organizations throughout the world.
"These criminals are exploiting the internet and online marketplaces to stay one step ahead of the law, and it's time the law catches up. This bill improves our federal response to organized retail crime and establishes new tools to recover goods and illicit proceeds, and deter future attacks on American retailers."
Cortez Masto added: "I've heard directly from retailers across Nevada about the challenges they're facing with organized retail crime — that's why I'm pushing bipartisan legislation to help our law enforcement keep these businesses safe. Protecting our communities shouldn't be a partisan issue, and I will continue working with Senator Grassley to crack down on organized crime and stand up for the Nevada small businesses that have been targeted."
The bill is supported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ICSC, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, NYPD, and the PASS (Protect America's Small Sellers) Coalition.
"NRF commends Senators Chuck Grassley and Catherine Cortez Masto for their leadership on legislation to curtail one of the most urgent problems facing retailers and the communities we serve," said a statement by the NRF. "Organized retail crime is a multibillion-dollar crisis impacting retailers, associates and consumers."
NRF's 2022 National Retail Security Survey found that over the past year retailers have reported a significant increase in violence and aggression associated with these types of crimes.
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