Retail theft may inspire voters to pass tough-on-crime proposition in upcoming election.
Just how big has the problem become? Just in the past few weeks, raids on 2 retail theft rings have led to the recovery of over $9 million in cosmetics.
In San Diego County, one woman has been arrested for her role in leading a nationwide shoplifting ring worth more than $8 million in beauty products.
Federal agents identified Bonsall resident, Michelle Mack as the head of the criminal enterprise.
According to the search warrants, Mack paid as many as 12 people to steal from Ulta Beauty stores, as well as other retail outlets, and ship them to her Bonsall post office box.
In certain cases, Mack allegedly purchased plane tickets, rented cars and paid for hotels for the shoplifters who worked under her.
CBS 8 has learned Ulta Beauty worked with authorities on the investigation into Mack.
“We can confirm that Ulta Beauty partnered with law enforcement on this investigation but cannot share any details at this time as the case is still being processed,” an Ulta Beauty spokesperson said in a statement to CBS 8.
Additionally, Los Angeles woman was recently arrested on suspicion of being part of a Southern California retail theft ring.
The California Highway Patrol charged Brenda Yanez, 48, with organized retail theft, grand theft, and possession of stolen property. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Organized Retail Crime Task Force of the CHP found over $1 million in alleged stolen goods during a raid on a warehouse in the city of Paramount and a business called The Makeup Store on Tuesday.
…According to several local reports, officials linked Yanez to a retail theft ring that has targeted stores like CVS, Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Rite Aid, Nordstrom and 99 Cents Only.
KFSN-TV reported that alongside the alleged stolen merchandise, CHP said they also found “tools used to remove anti-theft devices.”
“CHP investigators will continue to work proactively with our loss prevention partners, allied agencies, and prosecutors through the holidays to combat organized retail crime throughout California,” CHP said in a press release sent to KFSN-TV.
Los Angeles County Police Find $1M In Stolen Beauty Products Tied To Theft Ring.
The organized theft ring targeted popular retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty, police said. A 48-year-old woman faces charges.https://t.co/BfIcVy2lwM
— Tommy Lightfoot Garrett (@LightfootInHwd) December 28, 2023
The problem of organized crime is so significant that large retail firms will organize another state-wide campaign to reimpose California’s tough-on-crime laws.
Next year voters could have the chance to reconsider one of criminal-justice advocates’ biggest accomplishments: a 2014 ballot initiative that downgraded drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Law enforcement officials are once again leading the push in this deep blue state to restore the penalties despite voters decisively rejecting a similar ballot measure in 2020.
Now those same law-enforcement officials are finding interest from potential new allies. Walmart has funneled $500,000 to the ballot initiative and a legislative leader has launched a committee that will examine retail crime and possibly ask voters to amend the law.
“This isn’t an abstraction anymore. This is something people see and experience,” said Daniel Conway of the California Grocers Association, which represents major companies like Costco and Safeway and is again calling for tougher laws after backing the unsuccessful 2020 measure. “People see folks pushing shopping carts out. They see people taking things, or they see security guards in front of their local grocery store.”
Hopefully, the next crime-control proposition offered up will be passed by California voters. However, life would be so much easier for Golden State residents if they voted for tough-on-crime politicians and district attorneys in the first place.DONATE
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