Republic details criminal activities and arrests, but culprits go unnamed
The daily features a lengthy article on highly organized shoplifting gangs that are targeting Valley merchants. These sticky fingered “boosters” are in in for more than satisfying their kleptomaniac urges. They are well-oiled thievery rings whose business is resale — on eBay and or in their own homes — which they’ve turned into shop-off-the-rack stores.
The group detailed in today’s newspaper report is a central Phoenix family which has several homes and no legitimate means of support. Eleven members of the single family have been charged in the Valley-wide criminal organization..
In just over an hour at one mall three women and a 15-year-old boldly stole approximately $7,500 in clothing and other household merchandise. The haul was so hefty it required numerous trips to get the bulging bags from the mall to their car.
In hopes of thwarting such schemes, State Sen. Linda Gray, (R-Dist.10), has introduced SB 1059 that would make organized retail theft a separate criminal charge from shoplifting and stiffen the penalty.
Under current state laws a shoplifter can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the goods, and be punished by up to two years in prison. Under Gray’s bill, organized retail theft — defined as shoplifting with the intent to resell or trade the merchandise — would be a felony, regardless of the value of the stolen goods. It would be punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison.
Sen. Gray’s efforts are laudable.
These crimes are skyrocketing in Arizona cities, harshly impacting merchants who are seeing fewer customers due to the rough economy. Additionally, the loss of sales-tax revenues negatively affect the communities where the crimes are occurring.
It would be interesting to know why the Arizona Republic chose to omit the names of the family members charged with these brazen criminal offenses.
Last month, FOX News reported on a widespread shoplifting crime organization and named Michelle Stanton, 29, as the ringleader of that five-person operation.