With a recent string of retail theft in Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass announced the formation of a combative task force.
The Organized Retail Crime Task Force will consist of multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, LAPD, California Highway Patrol (CHP), Glendale PD, Beverly Hills PD and Santa Monica PD. The apprehension task forces for the U.S. Marshals and FBI will also collaborate with local law enforcement.
“Our number one job is to keep Angelenos safe and to feel safe,” Bass said at a press conference inside Los Angeles City Hall Thursday. “No Angeleno should feel like it is not safe to go shopping in Los Angeles. No entrepreneur should feel like it is not safe to open a business in Los Angeles.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore explained that the task force will consist of detectives with specific experience in theft investigations and theft prevention.
“As chief of police, my primary duty is to ensure the safety and security of our community members and businesses,” Moore said Thursday. “With that commitment in mind, we are taking an aggressive stance to tackle the escalating issue head-on.”
Multiple thefts have occurred at stores throughout Los Angeles County, with one of the most recent occurrences at the Ksubi luxury denim store on South La Brea. A “Flash mob” of at least 10 suspects in ski masks and long sleeve clothing ransacked $100,000 worth of merchandise before fleeing in multiple vehicles with covered license plates.
On the state level, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he tripled the number of CHP available to assist Los Angeles and its retail theft task force.
“The state is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to crack down on organized crime and when our local partners need further assistance, we’re ready with a helping hand,” Newsom said in a statement. “The CHP is the proven leader in tackling organized retail theft and through this expanded partnership the agency will further assist the city in doing its job to keep Angelenos and their businesses safe.”
In 2019, Newsom announced the Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORTCF), in collaboration with CHP, and since then, the task force has recovered more than $30 million in stolen merchandise from retail stores, investigating upward of 1,850 instances of theft, leading to more than 1,250 arrests.
“What we’ve seen over just the past week in the City of Los Angeles and in surrounding regions is unacceptable,” Mayor 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.”
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