February 1, 2024
Media Relations Division
District Attorney Gascón Announces Nearly 200 Cases Filed to Combat Organized Retail Theft in Los Angeles County
The cases were filed in 2023 as a Result of Collaboration with Countywide Law Enforcement
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón today announced that nearly 200 organized retail theft cases involving adult and juvenile defendants have been filed by the office.
These cases were filed through the efforts of the regional organized retail task forces which is comprised of regional law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office partnering together to prosecute these crimes.
“Organized retail theft is not a victimless crime, it harms our community’s sense of security while shopping at these retailers, and the ability for local businesses to succeed,” District Attorney Gascón said. “When we saw a rise in organized retail theft crimes, I committed to holding these individuals accountable. Through my partnership with the Organized Retail Theft Task Force, we have been able to track down many of the offenders and bring them to justice.
We want businesses to succeed and for Angelenos to feel safe while they’re out in public. Filing these cases is just the beginning of my office’s work toward deterring these types of crimes in order to make Los Angeles County a safer place.”
“Organized retail theft stole the feeling of safety and security from Angelino’s and business owners alike last year,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. “This regional organized retail theft task force has restored much of this, although, there is work still to be done. I am proud of the hard work and dedication to public safety of those not only from the Los Angeles Police Department, but our partnering agencies as well. As public servants, we cannot work in silos; we cannot work alone. Public safety belongs to all of us.”
“The Sheriff’s Organized Retail Crimes Task Force in collaboration with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and our partner law enforcement agencies are continuing to work tirelessly to tackle these brazen smash-and-grabs that are having a significant impact on our business communities,” said LASD Major Crimes Bureau Acting Captain Rob Peacock. “Since inception of our task force, we have arrested 438 suspects related to retail theft and 309 cases have been successfully filed. We are not only focused on the individuals responsible for the thefts, but those that are in the criminal chain—the getaway drivers, those that harbor them, and those that sell the stolen merchandise. These individuals need to understand that there will be consequences—we will use all our resources to identify, pursue, and arrest these suspects.”
“WSS acknowledges and supports the vital efforts of the Organized Retail Theft Task Force and the District Attorney’s Office in combating organized retail theft, which detrimentally affects neighborhood security and local businesses. We remain committed to collaborating with law enforcement to deter and prosecute these crimes,” Blanca Gonzalez, senior vice president and general manager, Warehouse Shoe Sale.
From January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, the District Attorney’s Office has filed at least 200 cases involving adult and juvenile cases, majority involving multiple defendants, under PC 490.4. This penal code section makes it a felony for an organized group of two or more persons to steal goods from a merchant with the intent for resale. This applies to online merchants and physical store retailers.
The office is prosecuting individuals we believe are responsible for targeting these stores, resulting in significant revenue loss.
While some cases are pending, sentences can range from probation to state prison, and can include charges such as: organized retail theft, grand theft, robbery, second-degree robbery, conspiracy, and receiving stolen property.
Some of the cases filed involving stores that have been targeted include: 99 Cent Store, American Eagle, Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS, Kevin Jewelers, Kohls, Macy’s, Marshall’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Rite Aid, Ross, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sam’s Club, Sephora, Target, Ulta, Victoria’s Secret, WSS, and numerous small businesses.
In addition to prosecuting these cases, we also have worked with our task force partners to recover millions of dollars in stolen goods which have been returned to retailers by law enforcement. For example, $188,000 in merchandise has been returned to Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, $250,000 in recovered goods has been given back to Kevin Jewelers, and hundreds of thousands of dollars has been returned to Target and CVS.
If anyone has information on these types of crimes that have occurred in Los Angeles County, please call the LAPD Organized Retail Theft Task Force contact, Lt. Michael McComas at 818-374-9420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or the LASO Organized Retail Crime Task Force contact, Lt. Derek White at 562-946-7270 or email email@example.com.
If you wish to remain anonymous, please call LA Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.