According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, organized retail theft losses have amounted to as much as $30 billion. It is a growing problem for retailers, manufacturers and distributors in this state and throughout the United States. Organized retail theft is committed by professional theft rings which move across communities and states to pilfer merchandise from supermarkets, chain drugstores, independent pharmacies, mass merchandisers, convenience stores, warehouses and transporters, then resell that merchandise in venues including the Internet, at flea markets and to the stores from which it was stolen. Popular targets include infant formula, skin care products, heartburn medications and shaving products. 
This SSL draft Act is based on Pennsylvania HB 1720, which became law in 2010. This draft legislation creates penalties for organized retail theft as a felony of the second or third degree, depending upon the retail value of the stolen merchandise. 
A 2009 SSL draft Act entitled Organized Retail Crime allows for the amount of goods stolen to be aggregated into one charge before a defendant goes to trial. That Act also allows grouping multiple offenses together to meet a threshold that imposes stiffer charges on people who commit organized retail theft. The legislation requires establishments which accept large amounts of items for resale to make a reasonable attempt to determine if the items are stolen. The 2009 SSL draft is based on Delaware HB 121, which was enacted into law in 2007. 
The 2008 SSL draft Act entitled Organized Retail Theft creates three crimes. One addresses theft of property with a value of at least $250 from a mercantile establishment with intent to resell. Another makes it a crime to possess stolen property from a mercantile establishment with a value of at least $250. The third addresses theft of property from a mercantile establishment when the person leaves through an emergency exit, uses a device designed to overcome security systems, or commits theft at 3 or more mercantile establishments within 180 days. Finally, that Act adds theft with intent to resell and organized retail theft to a list of offenses that can be “criminal profiteering” when punishable as a felony and by imprisonment for more than one year. The 2008 SSL draft is based on Washington Chapter 277 of 2006. 
 
This legislation enacts a number of provisions about gang-related offenses. For example, it creates an offense for aspiring to commit or committing certain crimes as a member of a criminal street gang and it establishes penalties for directing the activities of street gangs. It also requires children who are arrested for committing crimes as gang members to participate in gang intervention programs. 
The Act enhances penalties for certain organized criminal activity committed in or around a gang-free zone and provides that a map from a municipal county engineer is admissible as evidence of a gang-free zone. It requires information about gang-free zones be included in the student handbooks or equivalent publications of public or private elementary or secondary schools and institutions of higher education and also be distributed to the parents and guardians of children who attend day-cares. 
It enables the state or another governmental entity to bring an action against a member of a criminal street gang for damages when the member violates a temporary or permanent injunction. A district, county, or city attorney or the attorney general can sue to recover actual damages, civil penalties, and court costs and fees. 
The legislation makes the property of a criminal street gang or its members subject to seizure under certain conditions. Money received for damages or as a civil penalty must be used to benefit of the community or harmed neighborhood. 
It authorizes a court to impose electronic monitoring on a member of a criminal street gang as a condition of granting community supervision. The bill authorizes a parole panel to impose on a member of a criminal street gang who is a repeat offender electronic monitoring as a condition of release on parole or mandatory supervision. 
The Act establishes criteria for including evidence of membership in a criminal street gang intelligence database and allows that information to be retained for five years. 
The legislation also provides for the creation of a state anti-gang grant program to support regional, multidisciplinary approaches to combat gang violence. 
 

Suggested State Legislation: This legislation allows for the amount of goods stolen to be aggregated into one charge before a defendant goes to trial. The Act also allows grouping multiple offenses together to  meet a threshold that imposes stiffer charges on people who commit organized retail theft. This legislation requires establishments which accept large amounts of items for resale to make a reasonable attempt to determine if the items are stolen.