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‘If you steal in San Joaquin County we prosecute . . .’
Endeavor offers one-time grants up to $2,000 for security camera systems to provide evidence for DA to prosecute

Criminals can’t say they weren’t warned.

Billboards declaring “If you steal in San Joaquin County we prosecute” are going to start poppling up throughout San Joaquin County.

It is part of a $1.3 million effort being funded by San Joaquin County to aggressively push back against retail theft.

The program includes grants up to $2,000 on a one-time basis for small businesses throughout county for camera systems on a first-come, first-served basis.

When coupled with an app that is being rolled out to allow store owners to directly upload videos with accompanying information to the District Attorney’s office, it will increase the probability of criminals being prosecuted.

And it doesn’t matter if the theft is $10 and  a misdemeanor or a felony based on $950 plus in stolen items in one incident or accumulative between various incidents.

San Joaquin County under the leadership of District Attorney Ron Freitas and his office are prosecuting.

They have been successfully working with the courts to bundle what would be misdemeanors together from various incidents that they can tie a suspect to in order to secure felony convictions that have resulted in jail time.

Videos of thefts help to identify suspects and connect them to multiple incidents leading to successful prosecutions.

The effort by the county is being spearheaded by the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce via its Stockton Takes Action Against Retail Theft (STAART) program being implemented countywide.

And the Stockton business organization wasted no time in getting the word out.

On Thursday, just two days after the county funded the endeavor, Stockton Chamber Chief Policy Officer Frank Ferral was at the Manteca Rotary meeting at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room to spread the word and encourage business owners to take advantage of the STAART effort.

“The stuff stolen from mom and pop shelves is their kid’s education,” Ferral said to emphasize how devastating theft can be to a small business.

The Stockton chamber is also staging compact one-hour seminars to educate merchants on how to report theft. The first Manteca gathering is Thursday, May 30, at 8:30 a.m.

The grant is part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and must be used to respond to the negative impacts of the public health emergency (COVID-19) including aid to impacted industries.

 “Retail theft continues to plague local businesses, and we know that our residents are frustrated and ready to help,” noted Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Paul Canepa.

“I am thankful  (county staff) has found additional federal dollars that can be used to help our local businesses. We want large retail theft rings to know that there is no place in San Joaquin County for them – other than the County jail. Our elected officials, law enforcement, and residents have said enough is enough. We are united to ensure there will be consequences for criminal behavior.”

The STAART program is a retail theft initiative designed to tackle the serious epidemic that is currently wreaking havoc on our business community, resulting in substantial financial losses, wasted time, and diminished future revenue.

By building upon existing initiatives aimed at combating retail theft in San Joaquin County, the STAART program takes a proactive approach to engage in activities and strategies aimed at mitigating crime effectively.

The Stockton chamber can be contacted at (209) 547-2770 or by emailing


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email