Organized Retail Theft Bill Introduced in Colorado
By George Anderson
A bill introduced in the Colorado House would a create a task force to combat organized retail theft as well as instituting measures including requiring flea market dealers to show proof of ownership for commonly stolen goods such as infant formula, baby food, batteries and over-the-counter medicines.
Large retailers operating stores in the state, including Target, Safeway and King Soopers, support the bill, HB 1380, sponsored by Rep. James Riesberg, D-Greeley.
Many smaller stores are also in favor of the proposed legislation as they look to deal with organized retail theft.
Mary Lou Chapman of the Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association told The Denver Business Journal, “The problem is not just specific to big cities and big stores.”
Losses due to organized theft rings is estimated at $30 billion a year across the country. Rep. Riesberg’s bill has passed Colorado’s House Judiciary Committee and will next be considered by Appropriations.
Moderator’s Comment: Is a federal legislative and law enforcement response necessary to deal with the growing problem of organized retail theft? How
are retailers addressing the issue?
Frank Muscato, Wal-Mart’s investigative coordinator, testified before Congress on the organized shoplifting threat last year.
“Because state laws are often soft and there is a lack of federal laws addressing the issue, retail theft has become a high-profit, low-risk avenue of crime,”
he said at the time.
Aside from the call for federal action, retailers have set up a national database to try and identify areas where organized retail theft activity is taking
George Anderson – Moderator