LASD Awarded Grant to Help Fight Organized Retail Theft

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Chair Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda Solis securing a $15.6 million grant to fund the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.’s response to organized retail theft.

“These shameless smash-and-grabs need to be stopped,” Hahn said. “These are not petty thefts – these are organized violent operations that rob businesses of thousands upon thousands of dollars in merchandise, physically damage stores and traumatize retail workers. This is a priority and, with this $15.6 million grant, the Sheriff’s Department will have new resources to prevent these smash-and-grabs and root out the criminal organizations behind them.”

Hahn’s motion secures a $15.6 million grant awarded by the State to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. to fight organized retail crime. LASD will use this funding to support the department’s recently created Organized Retail Theft Task Force.

“These brazen organized retail theft sprees are hurting business communities across the county and retail companies are losing billions of dollars annually,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, who joined the meeting of the board of supervisors. “Our Retail Theft Task Force through our Major Crimes Bureau is focused on reducing these crimes by targeting these crews and aggressively pursuing not just those who commit the theft, but everyone in the criminal chain. This Organized Retail Theft Grant will allow us to continue to investigate retail theft crimes and provide dedicated staff and equipment necessary to continue to combat these thefts.” 

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation found that organized retail crime has increased by 26% since 2000. Unfortunately, this trend holds true in Los Angeles County and includes an increase in smash-and-grab crimes that have alarmed business owners and the public.  

In response, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. partnered with neighboring law enforcement organizations to create the Organized Retail Theft Task Force. Within LASD, this task force will consist of one lieutenant, three sergeants, and 30 detectives who are dedicated to preventing and addressing organized retail theft, including smash-and-grabs, catalytic converter thefts and cargo theft. The Task Force, which will also be supported by civilian professional staff, will be divided into three geographic teams and they will collaborate with other law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s Office and local businesses.