retail theft

Florida Fighting to Dismantle Retail Theft Crime Rings

Attorney General Ashley Moody says she is taking proactive measures and fighting back against organized retail theft.

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Smash-and-grab cases are on the rise in several cities across the country.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 69% of retailers say they saw an increase in organized retail crime in 2021.

In November, more than a dozen people burst through the doors at a Louis Vuitton store in a Chicago suburb and stole more than $100,000 worth of merchandise.

In California, nine people armed with hammers entered a jewelry store and took off with tons of jewelry.

Although these flash-mob-style attacks have not been widespread in Florida, Attorney General Ashley Moody says she is taking proactive measures and fighting back against organized retail theft.

"We are going to eliminate barriers that we find in our organized retail theft statutes to ensure prosecutors can effectively prosecute these large-scale theft organizations,” said Moody.

Ahead of the state's legislative session, several lawmakers announced their plan to propose a bill to dismantle retail theft crime rings.

"You have bands of gangs of people going into a store and basically robbing them blind and why do they do that because they can do that. Because they get away with it. Why? Because the policies in place in places like California, Chicago, and New York, all those other places which are soft on crime,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez.

In December, Moody launched a task force called FORCE, an interactive database for retailers, law enforcement and prosecutors to spot trends and identify suspects.

"Stop the practice of these criminals evading prosecution, because they employ those in different jurisdictions sometimes juveniles to hit multiple stores and prosecutors across the state are unable to piece these cases together,” said Moody.

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