Increases information sharing through all stages of retail supply chain
LOS ANGELES — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, with retailers and online marketplaces representing some of the largest share of retail and online business, signed a first-of-its-kind agreement committing to specific actions aimed at helping address the growing issue of organized retail crime. Organized retail crime refers to large-scale theft and fraud by individuals or groups that steal retail goods from the retail supply chain with the intent to resell, distribute, or return stolen merchandise for financial gain. In some cases, resell may occur through third-party online platforms. California and states across the country have seen a pattern of organized retail crime. According to a 2020 national survey, U.S. retailers lose approximately $700,000 to organized retail crime per every $1 billion in sales. In the agreement, the parties agree to take certain steps aimed at increasing the detection and reporting of organized retail crime, as well as improved collaboration on information sharing and investigation of organized retail crime in furtherance of prosecutions.
“The fact is, we are stronger when we work together as a united front,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Organized retail crime costs businesses, retailers, and consumers — and puts the public at risk. This new partnership signals a robust and genuine commitment shared by the retail marketplace and law enforcement to crack down on these crimes. Today’s announcement demonstrates California’s resilience and tenacity in tackling these challenges within our state. Whether it is law enforcement, online marketplaces, or retailers — we will not tolerate organized retail crime in our state.”
“The Home Depot applauds Attorney General Bonta for committing to this agreement and the passage of SB 301 and AB 1700, legislation that will fight organized retail crime and help stop dangerous criminals from stealing from our stores,” said Scott Glenn, Vice President of Asset Protection, The Home Depot.
"eBay is committed to providing a secure online shopping experience to millions of people globally and has been very serious about battling stolen goods,” said Zhi Zhou, Chief Risk Officer, eBay. “We have zero tolerance for criminal activity on our platform and are proud to support Attorney General Bonta and other online marketplaces in this effort to curtail organized retail theft and support criminal prosecutions against those who try to use our platform to sell stolen goods. This will compliment eBay’s Partnering with Retailers Offensively Against Crime and Theft (PROACT) program, a collaboration with Retail Loss Prevention departments in North America seeking assistance with investigations related to Organized Retail Crime.”
“Organized Retail Crime is a prevalent issue for all retailers, online and physical, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Anthony Williams, Director of California Public Policy, Amazon. “For us, customer trust is central to everything we do. To that end, we strongly support legislative efforts and collaborative partnerships, like Attorney General Bonta’s Statement of Principles, to stop bad actors from harming consumers.”
“We are pleased to join Attorney General Bonta and our retail, marketplace and law enforcement partners in this effort to combat organized retail theft,” said Jeffrey Zubricki, Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, Etsy. “A huge credit to the California Department of Justice and the stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to get this done. These commitments will help achieve our shared goal of protecting consumers from bad actors and keep marketplaces like Etsy a safe place for small honest sellers across America to run their creative businesses.”
“OfferUp strongly supports this initiative and believes that the California principles can serve as a model for other states,” said Nathan Garnett, General Counsel, OfferUp. “We appreciate the hard work of the California Attorney General's office and the collaboration of the other signatories.
“Organized retail crime not only jeopardizes consumer safety, but costs businesses billions annually,” said Lia Nitake, Deputy Executive Director of California & the Southwest, TechNet. “Our members have invested significantly in technologies, personnel, and processes to help stop bad actors from harming consumers and businesses. The Joint Statement of Principles is a continued commitment to address the issue across California. We thank the Attorney General for his leadership to combat organized retail crime.”
The agreement today will help advance information-sharing and detection regarding loss of items from various stages of the supply chain, including cargo and retail goods, that may end up for sale in online marketplaces. Additionally, today’s announcement highlights Attorney General Bonta’s efforts to improve reporting of retail crime, with a new online reporting form that will be linked and available at online marketplaces doing business in California. The online portal for the public to submit complaints and tips can be found at oag.ca.gov/retailtheft.
In 2022, California passed into law a package of legislation to address retail crime. This new organized retail crime agreement advances the intent and purpose of this legislation, which includes:
The agreement signed today can be found here.
Attorney General Bonta and law enforcement partners throughout the state proactively collaborate to end organized retail crime. In February 2023, Attorney General Bonta announced felony arrests and charges against eight individuals involved in a statewide organized retail crime operation targeting primarily Apple Store locations. In April 2023, Attorney General Bonta charged three individuals involved in a statewide organized retail crime operation targeting Home Depot locations and resulting in a total loss of over $75,000. In March 2023, Attorney General Bonta charged four individuals with felonies for allegedly stealing more than $1 million worth of goods, including Xbox and Acer products, from cargo trucks that had departed from Microsoft shipping facilities. A year prior, Attorney General Bonta announced felony charges against members of a statewide organized crime ring, after a search and arrest operation recovering items from retailers including Macy’s, Columbia Sportswear, Abercrombie & Fitch, J.C. Penney, and Lululemon. In December 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the sentencing of a group involved in organized retail crime in the Bay Area. Also in December, Attorney General Bonta brought together retailers and law enforcement to address the challenge of organized retail crime and develop strategies for combating this criminal activity head-on. In March, Attorney General Bonta announced felony charges against members of a statewide organized retail crime ring and international shipping operation.