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Associated Press: DAs, retailers say California needs tougher retail theft law

By DON THOMPSONDecember 3, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Spurred by a recent run of large-scale smash-and-grab robberies, prosecutors and retailers are pushing back on assertions by California’s governor and attorney general that they have enough tools to combat retail theft in the wake of a voter-approved easing of related laws.

“We cannot function as a society where we have told people over and over again that there is no consequence for stealing other people’s property,” said Vern Pierson, immediate past president of the California District Attorneys Association and El Dorado County’s district attorney.

The complaints came as authorities on Friday announced what they said was “one of the largest retail theft busts in California history,” a haul of $8 million worth of merchandise stolen from San Francisco Bay Area retailers including CVS, Target and Walgreens, along with $85,000 in cash and nearly $1.9 million from various bank accounts.

While shoplifting has been a growing problem, recent large-scale thefts in California and elsewhere in which groups of individuals brazenly rush into stores and take goods in plain sight are ”raising it to a whole new level,” said California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin.

“We feel a little bit like we’re under assault,” she said.

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