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Brazen shoplifting spurs California law for organized thefts

Posted at 7:26 AM, Jul 22, 2021

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law aimed at curbing organized retail theft as violent smash-and-grab shoplifting costs state businesses millions of dollars every year.

The law signed Wednesday reestablishes the crime of organized retail theft, which lawmakers first created in 2018 but allowed to lapse as of July 1.

Prosecutors can again seek to charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Nationally, organized retail theft causes retailers tens of billions of dollars annually.

What effect the law will have is unclear, because district attorneys in some of California's biggest cities have pledged to avoid stiff penalties and sentencing enhancements.