Los Angeles police bust retail theft ring that looted $23,000 in clothing

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Los Angeles police arrest retail looters caught on camera between Dec. 1 and 2. (Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Department)

Los Angeles police bust retail theft ring that looted $23,000 in clothing

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Los Angeles police arrested 18 suspects they said are members of a large organized retail theft ring who were recorded ransacking four clothing and shoe chain stores in the county.

Thieves were seen grabbing bundles of clothes and shoes from the retailers worth an estimated $23,000 on Dec. 1 and 2, then exiting the stores. The Los Angeles Police Department released several photos of the incidents, which show clothing stacked so high in the arms of perpetrators that it partially obscures their faces.

California has raised the level of a misdemeanor theft to $950, which led to the smash-and-grab influx at retailers after the death of George Floyd. Misdemeanors result only in a citation, usually with no jail time.

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In this case, LAPD arrested the suspects on suspicion of organized retail theft and grand theft, which are felonies because the merchandise is over $950.

The suspects range in age from 15 to 20 and live locally. Eight vehicles believed to have been used in the crimes have been impounded, and the stolen items were returned to the retailers.

Police believe the same suspects are responsible for 14 other similar thefts with retail losses of $90,000. The investigation is continuing into these incidents.

The arrests came this weekend as Los Angeles County swore in a new sheriff, Robert Luna, who defeated incumbent Alex Villanueva in the midterm election. One theft was in the jurisdiction of the sheriff, which contracts law enforcement with numerous cities.

Luna has promised a more conciliatory relationship with county lawmakers and District Attorney George Gascon, who was the target of a recall effort supported by Villanueva.

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Villanueva has blamed part of Los Angeles’s increased level of crime on county mandates to lower jail populations and allow defendants to remain in the community.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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