Law enforcement agencies across the County of Los Angeles have partnered to establish a task force to investigate, apprehend and prosecute suspects who have committed retail theft as businesses grapple with an uptick of smash-and-grabs in recent weeks.
In a press conference on Aug. 17, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced the Organized Retail Crimes Task Force that will focus on the organized retail crimes in the county. The task force will include detectives and investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Glendale Police Department, Burbank Police Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, Santa Monica PoliceDepartment, U.S. Marshals Apprehension Task Force and Federal Bureau of Investigation Task Force.
Prosecutors from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s office will join the task force as well to ensure suspects are prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law,” according to Bass.
“What we’ve seen over just the past week in the city of Los Angeles and in the surrounding regions is unacceptable, which is why today we are here announcing action,’’ Bass said. “These are not victimless crimes—especially in the case where Angelenos were attacked—through force or fear—as they did their jobs or ran errands.’’
“No Angelenos should feel like it’s unsafe to go shopping and no Angelenos should feel like it’s unsafe to open a business in Los Angeles or Los Angeles County,’’ she added.
Bass emphasized that if “someone commits a crime, we’ll catch you.’’
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement on Aug. 17, indicating that the “CHP will triple its resources in the Los Angeles region devoted to tackling retail crime and allocate additional investigators specifically the new regional law enforcement task force.’’
The Southland has been subject to an increasing number of retail thefts by large groups of suspects targeting retail locations. The suspects often target specific malls with high-end merchandise, according to a statement from the LAPD.
Suspects grab a large quantity of merchandise often using tools to break glass display cases and cut security cords—or smash-and-grabs.
According to a statement from LAPD, each incident has resulted in several hundreds of thousands of dollars loss to retailers.