WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) cosponsored legislation introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to establishes a coordinated multi-agency response and creates new tools to tackle evolving trends in organized retail theft. Organized retail crime costs retailers $720,000 for every $1 billion in sales – up 50 percent since 2015. As law enforcement focuses on the rise in drug trafficking and other offenses, criminal organizations have increasingly turned to retail crime to generate illicit profits, using internet-based tools to organize flash mobs, sell stolen goods and move money.
“Organized retail crime is becoming more and more prevalent, putting retailers, their employees and communities in danger,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act provides what we need to fight these crimes.”
“Stores throughout American communities have not been spared from a national crime wave. These organized theft rings have been developing new tactics to pilfer goods, causing economic harm to American businesses and putting consumers at risk while funding transnational criminal organizations throughout the world. These criminals are exploiting the internet and online marketplaces to stay one step ahead of the law, and it’s time the law catches up. This bill improves our federal response to organized retail crime and establishes new tools to recover goods and illicit proceeds, and deter future attacks on American retailers,” said Senator Grassley.
“I’ve heard directly from retailers across Nevada about the challenges they’re facing with organized retail crime—that’s why I’m pushing bipartisan legislation to help our law enforcement keep these businesses safe. Protecting our communities shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and I will continue working with Senator Grassley to crack down on organized crime and stand up for the Nevada small businesses that have been targeted,” said Senator Cortez Masto.
The bicameral Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023 creates a unified government and industry collaboration to address this trend. The bill establishes a Center to Combat Organized Retail Crime at Homeland Security Investigations that combines expertise from state and local law enforcement agencies as well as retail industry representatives. It also creates new tools to assist in federal investigation and prosecution of organized retail crime, and help recover lost goods and proceeds.
It is supported by the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ICSC, the Peace Officers Research Association of California, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD and the PASS (Protect America’s Small Sellers) Coalition.
Cassidy, Grassley, and Cortez Masto were joined by U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), James Risch (R-ID), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) in cosponsoring this legislation.