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Organized Retail Theft and The Political Campaign to Sweep it Under The Rug

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posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 08:54 AM
Unless you've been in self-quarantine on a deserted island for the past few months, or restricting yourself to a strict information diet of MSM cable news, you're probably aware that a novel form of crime wave has been hitting the scene lately: large-scale, highly organized and orchestrated retail theft.

5 plead guilty in one of largest retail theft busts in CA history, attorney general says

There is a concentration of these criminal activities, in terms of where it's been occurring, and I'll give you one guess as to the nature of the cities and states lead the way in this ignominious honor. But more on that in a little bit.

The Score

The idea behind this criminal enterprise isn't really about sophistication or technical complexity. It is, fundamentally, a "smash and grab" operation, where thieves show up at a store location, possibly break or compromise item displays, and then grab what they can and make off with the goods. Nothing new under the sun, you're likely thinking, and this is, in fact true. So what's the big deal? What sets this crime spree apart from similar types of operations in the past?

Primarily two things: the sheer number of participants involved, and the degree of coordination, communication and planning that must go into not only executing the theft/score, but unloading the merchandise on the secondary markets after stealing it. The second part is integral to the crime, because without people working in concert with the "smashers and grabbers" to facilitate resale of the stolen goods, mostly doing this through online vendors, there isn't much upside for this type of organized crime.

It's not uncommon for a dozen, or even upwards of twenty criminals to show up at location, overwhelm the store staff, and carry off the merchandise.

From a recent incident involving this practice in suburban Chicago:

You may have seen this recent video from the Oakbrook Center Mall.

Fourteen people stormed into the Louis Vuitton store and grabbed everything they could – knocking over chairs and shoving mannequins askew in the process.

Days before, a crew hit another Louis Vuitton at the Northbrook Court Mall. They stole more than $100,000 in merchandise.

The Political Score

When you look at this type of crime in its totality, the scale, the planning and the coordination involved, it becomes clear that you are not witnessing one-off impulse thefts by a few wayward kids. These are the machinations of an organized crime syndicate, no different than the mob or a drug cartel. And this in mind, it might prompt you to ask, "what are city and state officials doing to combat these criminal organizations?".

Aside from blaming the retailers themselves and looking to pin responsibility on anyone but themselves and their constituents for these crime sprees, the officials aren't doing that much.

In Chicago, where this type of crime might seem insignificant compared to the appalling amount of shootings and murders that occur there, predictably the city's top executive, mayor Lori Lightfoot, is viewing this situation through the lens of criticism and blame for the retailers themselves.

During a crime summit on Monday at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Lightfoot said she was disappointed with stores on Michigan Avenue, a popular shopping and tourist destination. She said they were not making security a priority and taking adequate measures to prevent theft.

Lightfoot said: "Some of the retailers downtown in Michigan Avenue, I will tell you, I'm disappointed that they are not doing more to take safety and make it a priority. For example, we still have retailers that won't institute plans like having security officers in their stores.

"Making sure that they've got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night, chaining high-end bags. These purses seem to be something that is attracting a lot of organized retail theft units."

Hmm, so that's the problem. If only these stores would place more hired muscle and more restrictive measures around the merchandise, none of this would happen. I see.

This cavalier and tone-deaf attitude towards these crimes, quite naturally, elicited a scathing response from the retail side of things:

The President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Rob Karr, disputed these claims by Lightfoot. Speaking to Fox Business, he said it was misinformed to suggest stores needed to do more for their protection.

He said: "The comments that retailers need to do more are sadly misinformed. I think it ignores the fact that retailers spent hundreds of millions of dollars every year on security.
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"We're not going to put the entire store behind glass cases or under lock and key. Retail doesn't work that way. We have a fine line to walk. I don't think the mayor wants a line of armed personnel in every store."

Take note of the comment in bold (mine). OF COURSE the mayor doesn't want armed guards patrolling the stores, because we KNOW what happens when criminals caught in the act of being criminals resist and fight back: they inevitably end up bringing harm to themselves, and cue the protesting, looting and burning.

A similar story is playing out in California's largest cities, and in particular, San Francisco has been hit hard with these types of crimes. When the California Attorney General, Rob Bonta, was asked about the implications of "criminal justice reform" emboldening thieves and making it easier for criminals to re-engage in this type of crime after minimal time spent in jail and working through the system, his reply was to note that the scale of these crimes:

Critics have questioned whether criminal justice reform in California – specifically Proposition 47, which prevents felony charges for theft under $950 in value – acts as a disincentive for police to arrest shoplifters. Bonta says that's not the case, as the recent rash of retail thefts throughout the state is beyond petty theft.

"This is organized criminal activity where multiple individuals, up to 80 at times, are acting in concert to steal the goods. When the acting is in concert, then you aggregate the value of all goods stolen. And in one incident, it was over a million dollars of stolen goods," Bonta said.

This is, in fact, a pretty reasonable stance to take, when one thinks about it. While certainly eliminating felony charges for certain levels of theft is not a helpful development on balance, being that it seems to send a lax message about the willingness of authorities to come down hard on thieves, the aggregation of the stolen goods certainly does put the crime into another level of consideration. Also, as has been pointed out by law enforcement observers, the mere act of planning a crime (i.e. conspiracy to commit X), even if the crime is a misdemeanor, will bring felony charges due to the planning and organization elements involved.
edit on 24-12-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 09:08 AM
In light of the California A.G.'s comments, a logical next question to ask is, where are the high-level efforts to break these criminal rings utilizing more sophisticated resources?

The A.G. alludes to the use of social media to plan the heists, organize where and when to steal, and how the goods should be resold and the profits divied up. In cases in the past where high degrees of organization are exhibited, statutes knows as RICO have been used to bring down heavy-handed sentences on organized crime syndicates. So far, not much has been said about the applicability of RICO for these crimes, but given that in some instances, involvement of up to 80 people in executing the crime, it would be unheard of for the government to NOT use RICO for sending a message with severe penalties for such large-scale criminal gangs.

Also of note is that, with the use of social media, there has been questions raised about the role that big tech companies play in monitoring these crimes (particularly the planning and resale aspects), and also assisting in the investigation phase. Again, this hasn't engendered much discussion on what role BigTech can or should play in deterring and helping solve these crimes.

When one views the situation in totality, and considers the ambivalent and apathetic stance taken by mayors in San Francisco, Chicago, and also the odd rush to lay blame on the retailers themselves, one must conclude that politicians in areas where this occurs seem eager to do what they can to deflect responsibility from their own lax crime policies and crime-friendly political milieus. This is a dangerous game to play, as we have seen, at some point retailers will just close up locations where crime is rampant, leaving citizens there high and dry when it comes to avenues of purchasing things in brick and mortar stores.

The question becomes, will these crimes be given the attention and resources they need to not only be solved, but establish a precedent where gangs of retail thieves will be discouraged from even contemplating such brazen and outrageous criminal enterprises? Or will we continue to see the attitude of soft-pedaling, victim blaming and deflection that has been the calling card of elected officials in places like San Fran and Chicago?
edit on 24-12-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 09:36 AM
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

Retail theft is dumb and will succumb due to their own stupidity. If law enforcement got rid of bank robberies then they will get ahead of this as well but this things take time.

A combination of physical security and good ol fashioned undercover work will get it done.

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 09:37 AM
Excellent thread ...

Retailers pulling out of urban areas will likely be one result, in my industry hearing retailers also getting slammed with higher insurance premiums. Lots of stores moving to new locations or closing altogether.

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 10:01 AM
Bring on the retail deserts!

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 10:06 AM
I predict that the stores in the big cities will be shut down, leading to even more online shopping, leading to more thefts during transportation, more frequent robberies on delivery trucks, leading to UPS & FedEx ARMORED Trucks with armed guards.

But out here living in the sticks, nothing will change.
edit on 12/24/21 by BrokenCircles because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 10:10 AM
Get rid of the big city Brigands.
That should help.
Lightfoot is an Idiot just like Biden.
Oh i meant Brandon.
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 10:53 AM
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

There is one thing all the thieves have in common. Can you guess what it is?

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 10:58 AM
In Flint MI a few years ago they were so organized they owned a warehouse and had people to sort the stuff and distribute to the party stores the group owned. They would steal the whole truck and empty it out then drop it off a few weeks later after it cooled down. Went on for years.
Until a thief was casing out the warehouse and figured out what was going on and turned them in for the reward.

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 11:21 AM

originally posted by: VierEyes
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

There is one thing all the thieves have in common. Can you guess what it is?

I'm not sure how this works... Are you the racist for saying that↑?
Or am I the racist because of the thoughts I had while reading it?

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 12:13 PM
Well. Just read that a 14 y.o. girl was shot in LA while police were attempting to aim at and take down a suspect.

Wonder if politicians will have an easier go of claiming “nothing to see here” when the riots unfold. Wonder if they will continue to blame shopkeepers and business owners for the crime that is happening to them.

Meanwhile. A family’s Christmas and subsequently their lives are ruined forever.

posted on Dec, 24 2021 @ 01:14 PM
a reply to: slatesteam

A few more lawmakers need to be carjacked before people will wake up.


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