CHP cracking down on retail crime theft across state

Brianna Willis Image
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
CHP cracking down on retail crime theft across state
EMBED <>More Videos

Valley retailers are taking action after a string of robberies at stores across the state.

FRESNO, Calif. -- Valley retailers are taking action after a string of robberies at stores across the state.

In some cases, the thieves attack in organized groups.

In a blitz operation with different teams, the California Highway Patrol's organized retail crime task force arrested 51 suspects and recovered 697 assets with a nearly $58,000 value, including items at the Walmart on Shaw and Brawley.

"We did cover the location here in Fresno, which was a victim to a shooting and a stabbing in the parking lot. This location was requested by Walmart representatives just because of the high crime activity in the area," said California Highway Patrol Officer Adrian Lopez.

Officer Adrian Lopez with CHP says they are starting to see this type of theft more across the region.

"I would say there is an increase, especially with organized crime. A lot of individuals work in teams," said Officer Lopez.

Monday, a group stealing hundreds of dollars of items from Kohl's at Sierra vista mall in Clovis started a fire, and Saturday, around 20 to 30 people robbed Nordstrom in Southern California.

Attorney Roger Bonakdar says if there's an agreement between two or more people to do something illegal, there is a chance you can be charged with conspiracy.

"What we're seeing these large scale group smash and grabs, they would be subject to a felony, so the consequences are higher, the amount of custody times that they can get is higher, and they will have a prior felony, which means if they are rested again, and charged again, they can be sentenced more heavily," said Bonakdar.

Bonakdar says the current law doesn't allow for repeat offenders to have a hefty charge.

"Right now currently, as a result of Prop 47, property theft, petty theft, like going into stores and stealing things -- if its under a thousand dollars, law enforcement's limited in charging them with a misdemeanor, and this is even if they do it multiple times," said Bonakdar.

Assembly Bill 1708 is looking to amend Prop 47, making two or more theft convictions a felony.

Until then, Officer Lopez says they will continue to hold as many people accountable as possible.

"As the California Highway Patrol, we are going to continue to do these operations. We're not backing down from these organized crime teams," said Lopez.

Law enforcement says if you see any type of theft happening around you, they recommend getting to a safe location and calling 911.

In addition, they say it would be helpful if you could provide a description of the suspects, or get a license plate for the vehicle, or any type of description of the car to help with their investigation.

For news updates, follow Brianna Willis on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Related Topics