We applaud State Attorney Foxx for recognizing that the criminal actors repeatedly hitting stores on the Magnificent Mile and elsewhere in Chicago, wiping store shelves clean of product are not “petty shoplifters” deserving of leniency and that these are not victimless crimes. Store employees and shoppers are put in harm’s way when these increasingly brazen and violent members of organized retail crime rings set their sights on stores.
Now is the time for stakeholders – including prosecutors – to collaborate around commonsense solutions to this growing problem. We need to go after the kingpins who are building a business model selling stolen product, as well as the habitual thieves they pay to do their dirty work.
And, more needs to be done to hold online marketplaces accountable for stopping the sale of stolen product on their platform. Given the ease with which many of these criminals can anonymously sell their stolen goods on online third-party marketplaces, there is no greater incentive for this type of organized retail theft than the ability to swiftly pocket profits, no questions asked. That is the environment which many of these marketplaces have fostered by not requiring simple transparency and accountability measures for third-party sellers.
Federal legislation like the INFORM Consumers Act, which would require marketplaces to verify basic information from their third-party sellers, is one part of the solution to combat this problem and deter this criminal business model. We need to marry the transparency created by INFORM with better and smarter law enforcement tactics, starting with a dedicated task force in every state that is funded to hire special investigators and coordinate with retail asset protection professionals.
States that have established ORC task forces have been successful in identifying crime rings profiting off this illicit activity – in some cases to the tune of millions of dollars – and often using it to fund other serious criminal activity. We encourage more states to similarly invest the time and resources necessary to combat ORC. Simply put, it’s a well-worth investment in community safety.
We’re eager to hear more from State’s Attorney Foxx on how her office plans to take a stance against ORC gangs reaping havoc in the City of Chicago.
For more information about retailers' efforts to combat organized retail crime, please contact Lisa LaBruno.
Organized Retail Crime
Keeping Communities Safe