USAIT064_Post_Hero_01a_1366x496

State AG creates task force to investigate organized retail theft across Illinois


By 

Originally posted on
File:Chicago Sun-Times (2019-08-02).svg - Wikimedia Commons
chicago.suntimes.com

The Organized Retail Crime Task Force brings together law enforcement departments across the state, retail advocacy groups and major retailers like Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced a new statewide task force to combat organized retail theft that he said is responsible for $45 billion of annual losses across Illinois.

“It is our goal to disrupt and bring to justice the organizations responsible,” Raoul said at a Monday morning news conference. “Not only for the sake of economic prosperity but for business owners, consumers and workers victimized by acts of theft, fraud and violence.”

The Organized Retail Crime Task Force brings together law enforcement departments across the state, retail advocacy groups and major retailers like Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.

Each member of the task force will assign a “point of contact” who will then share data and information that can help identify large-scale organized theft.

Working across different jurisdictions in the state — and in partnership with those affected by retail theft — will help find patterns and locate the people “masterminding theft instead of just arresting one perpetrator at a time,” Raoul said.

“We are here because of the rise of incidents of retail theft and fraud,” Raoul said. “Increasingly these incidents are not isolated incidents, and enforcement must not just focus on individuals charged with individual acts of retail theft but on the broader organization or scheme of which these individuals may be a part of.”

Raoul said there is an organized element to much of the retail theft the state is facing in which people enter online marketplaces to sell the stolen items. Organized retail theft is often connected to human trafficking, money laundering, drugs and counterfeit products, he said.

“The magnitude of this problem is significant,” Raoul said. “Even during the looting that we saw last year on the edges of legitimate protest, we came to understand that some of this criminal activity was not merely opportunistic but organized in advance.”