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ORC 3-19-12



2012 Archives

ORC couple with duct tape-lined shopping bag busted stealing $6,000 in jeans from True Religion at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets in RI. Howard Watson, 54, and Teandra Rose, 50, were arrested on Interstate 495 by local and state police after they were allegedly caught in the act of stealing jeans from True Religion, a clothing store in the outlet mall. (Source

Omaha, Nebraska serial shoplifter with nine shoplifting busts is busted again with thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise in his vehicle
. Hitting the Hy-Vee store they found dozens of batteries-razors-and assorted stolen merchandise in his car which he was probably selling. (Source

Excerpts from GAO-11-675:  Efforts to Combat Organized Retail Crime

The U.S. Government Accountability Office ORC report June 2011

Law Enforcement Agencies Collaborate with Retailers to Investigate ORC, and Federal Agencies Are Taking Steps to Improve ORC Case Tracking

State and Local Efforts: Continued from Friday - Although retail crime is primarily prosecuted under state criminal laws, the monetary thresholds required for theft to be considered a felony vary from state to state. For example, in Illinois the felony threshold is $30010 and in Wisconsin it is $2,500. Retail and law enforcement officials we interviewed noted that professional shoplifters involved in ORC are typically aware of these thresholds and often steal at levels below these amounts to reduce the risk of felony prosecution. While two retail stakeholders we spoke with noted that reducing the felony thresholds may provide a limited deterrent to ORC, they also recognized that law enforcement already faces resource constraints with existing retail theft cases. In fact, some states have increased the thresholds in recent years, potentially to focus available resources on higher-priority cases. For example, in Maryland, the state felony threshold has increased twice since 2000, from $300 to the current level of $1,000. In January 2011, California also raised the threshold for grand theft in that state from $400 to $950. However, officials in California indicated that prosecutors often try to develop a charge of “conspiracy” or use other criminal statutes, such as those involving false pretenses, in conjunction with major theft provisions to build a stronger case. Similarly, officials we spoke with in Maryland noted that multiple theft incidents may potentially be linked together through the state’s “scheme” statute if substantial evidence exists to identify an ongoing course of conduct, and some other state laws may allow for aggregation of thefts to meet the threshold.

In recent years, many states have also developed legislation that specifically targets ORC-related offenses. Examples of provisions outlined in state legislation include defining retail theft and ORC, prohibiting certain high-theft items from being sold at flea markets or similar venues, and establishing felony offenses for multiple thefts occurring within a specified time frame or for specific activities, such as box stuffing or possessing items used for overcoming security devices. Several retail and law enforcement stakeholders noted that ORC statutes in most states are relatively new and, according to three law enforcement authorities we spoke with in states that had ORC laws, there is not yet broad awareness of these provisions by many detectives or prosecutors. As a result, it is too soon to tell what the impact of these statutes may be in terms of providing an additional deterrent to ORC and assisting investigators and prosecutors in building successful cases.

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