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Prosecutors form alliance to combat organized retail theft
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While the Manteca Police Department has stepped up its active work to prevent organized retail theft by dedicating a detective to the burgeoning crime, it now looks like they’re going to be getting help.

Last week San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced a partnership between Northern California prosecutors that will allow for better cooperation and communication across counties where the thefts are taking place.

It’s not uncommon for a group that is arrested for the crime – where they target specific items from stores and leave with large quantities of merchandise without paying in hopes of flipping it online quickly – to be found as suspects in a number of other similar crimes across a wide region.

In addition to San Joaquin County, the newly-formed alliance will include Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Clara Counties – covering a wide swath of Northern California that is home to more than 7 million people.

“Organized retail theft has adverse and costly impacts on business owners and consumers alike,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a release about the cooperative effort. “Through a partnership with our neighboring counties, we will hold all parties accountable, including fencing rings and individuals who purchase stolen goods.

“We commend Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta for taking organized retail theft seriously and we implore the community to report suspicious resell activity to assist law enforcement’s efforts in tracking organized retail theft rings.”

The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office spearheaded the attempts at collaborating and bringing the affected parties to the table to work for a solution.

Manteca’s efforts to stop organized retail theft are being headed by Detective Dave Brown, who has worked closely with loss prevention teams from a number of retailers to establish relationships that allow for easy and quick communication if signs of one of the crimes was in progress were to emerge.

During busy retail times Brown has been proactive in positioning himself in places where the crimes are known to occur so can thwart any would-be thieves before they’re able to get away with the merchandise.

With the cost of the thefts often being borne back by the law-abiding retailers shopping at the affected stores, preventing the crimes from impacting the innocent is a cornerstone of the new collaborative effort that will allow for information to be more easily shared amongst agencies. The effort will also dedicate prosecutors specifically to ensure that documented cases of organized retail theft are properly adjudicated.

“It’s clearer than ever that the retail theft incidents we’ve seen are not isolated, but rather are organized efforts to steal and destroy property with no regard for the workers, customers, communities, or businesses hurt in the process,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in the statement. “This group represents an active, collaborative approach to tackling the problem of organized retail crime head-on.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell, email or call 209.249.3544.