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DeSantis signs SB 1534 into law to crack down on organized retail theft

(WCJB)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 11:23 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - Attorney General Ashley Moody has expressed her support for Senate Bill 1534 , recently signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, to help Florida prosecutors dismantle organized retail theft rings.

Prior to the start of session, retail theft escalated dramatically in large cities outside of Florida—with major incidents occurring during the holiday shopping season in locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The new law, that takes effect Oct. 1, creates second-degree and third-degree felony retail theft crimes based on multiple retail thefts occurring in a limited time period in different merchant locations. Under the new law, someone who steals 20 or more items, through five or more separate thefts within a certain period, can be charged with a second-degree felony. A person who steals 10 or more items, through at least five thefts within a certain period, can be charged with a third-degree felony. The offense severity level ranking chart of the Criminal Punishment Code will rank felony retail theft offenses as either level five or six, depending on severity.

In December 2021, Attorney General Moody launched the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange—a statewide task force and database to help spot trends, identify suspects and take down massive, organized retail theft rings. It also bridges the gap between law enforcement, prosecutors and retailers to work together and share information on theft incidents statewide .For more information on FORCE, click here.

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