The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Organized Retail Crimes Task Force, along with L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, Los Angeles Police Department and SouthGate Police Department announced that more than 300 organized retail theft cases involving adult and juvenile defendants have been filed by the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is aware that the prevalence of organized retail crimes and incidents like “smash and grab” or “flash mob” thefts concern businesses and the communities these businesses serve.
As part of the commitment to addressing this important issue, the Department formed its Organized Retail Crimes Task Force in September 2023.
The ORCTF comprises 30 detectives, three sergeants and a lieutenant, representing various Sheriff’s Department Stations across Los Angeles County. They actively work with Task Forces from the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol.
The teams handle in-depth investigations and conduct “blitz” operations throughout the county. A “blitz” operation is when detectives pair up with Loss Prevention inside retail businesses. They observe thefts occur and make an arrest outside the location.
“The Sheriff’s Organized Retail Crimes Task Force, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and our partner law enforcement agencies, are continuing to work tirelessly to tackle these brazen smash-and-grabs that are having a significant impact on our business communities,” said Major Crimes Bureau Acting Captain Rob Peacock. “Since the inception of our task force, ORCTF has arrested 438 suspects related to retail theft and 309 cases have been successfully filed. We are not only focused on the individuals responsible for the thefts but also those that are in the criminal chain, the getaway drivers, those that harbor them and those that sell the stolen merchandise. These individuals need to understand that there will be consequences, we will use all our resources to identify, pursue and arrest these suspects.”
The ORCTF is not only investigating incidents of theft directly from retailers but is also actively working on identifying the persons who operate “fence” locations, where individuals take stolen merchandise to be sold for profit. One notable Task Force operation targeting a known “fence” occurred last week in the Antelope Valley. As a result of this operation, over $300,000 in stolen merchandise was seized, two illegal firearms were recovered and four individuals were arrested.
“Organized retail theft is not a victimless crime, it harms our community’s sense of security while shopping at these retailers, and the ability for local businesses to succeed,” said Gascón. “When we saw a rise in organized retail theft crimes, I committed to holding these individuals accountable. Through my partnership with the Organized Retail Theft Task Force, we have been able to track down many of the offenders and bring them to justice. We want businesses to succeed and for Angelenos to feel safe while they’re out in public. Filing these cases is just the beginning of my office’s work toward deterring these types of crimes in order to make Los Angeles County a safer place.”
The Organized Retail Crimes Task Force may be reached at ORCTF@LASD.org, or (562) 946-7270.
“If You See Something, Say Something.” L.A. Crime Stoppers: Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station at (661) 260-4000. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may call “L.A. Crime Stoppers” at 800-222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google Play or the App Store or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.