Glendale California Attorney General Rob Bonta, along with the California Highway Patrol and other partnering agencies, announced arrests and charges against three individuals involved in a statewide organized retail theft operation on Friday, April 14.
The individuals targeted several Home Depot locations, resulting in a total loss of over $75,000. The alleged conduct began in October 2021, and involved an organized criminal scheme in which suspects would enter stores and steal power tools, and other retail items.
“Organized retail theft costs businesses, retailers, and consumers—and puts the public at risk,” Bonta said. “Brazen criminal activity, such as the organized retail theft operation we have taken down today, will not be tolerated in California. I want to thank our law enforcement partners, including the California Highway Patrol, for their work in apprehending these suspects, and for our continued collaborative efforts to end organized retail theft. With these charges, we’re moving forward to hold these defendants accountable.”
On April 12, the California Highway Patrol’s Southern Division Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) investigators, with the assistance of investigators from CHP’s Border Division, and in cooperation with The Home Depot’s organized retail crime investigators, served search and arrest warrants at multiple locations throughout Southern California.
The alleged crimes occurred in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego.
The suspects face multiple counts of felony charges brought by the California Department of Justice. These include retail theft, grand theft, and receiving stolen property.
California and other states across the country have seen a pattern of organized retail crime. According to a 2020 national survey, US retailers lose approximately $700,000 per every $1 billion in sales to organized retail crime. The attorney general has made this issue a top priority and asks the public to submit complaints and tips at oag.ca.gov/retail-theft.
Attorney General Bonta and law enforcement partners throughout the state proactively collaborate to end organized retail crime. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta brought together retailers and law enforcement to address the challenge of organized retail theft, and develop strategies for combatting this criminal activity head-on.
Additionally, in 2021 Attorney General Bonta announced the sentencing of a group involved in organized retail theft in the Bay Area. In March 2022, Attorney General Bonta announced felony charges against members of a statewide organized retail theft ring and international shipping operation.
In April he announced the guilty pleas of two members of an organized retail theft ring operating throughout California targeting JCPenney and Sam’s Club stores.
In February 2023, Attorney General Bonta announced charges against organized retail theft suspects with theft of approximately $1 million in goods from Apple stores.