Retail News Breaks Archives
NACDS: Organized retail crime bill set for passage
September 24th, 2010
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has commended the House of Representatives for the likely passage of the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010, which aims to curb the rising problem of organized retail crime.
NACDS said Thursday that the bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D., Va.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), would create a specific task force in the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute instances involving organized retail crime.
The association reported that the bill stands to pass under “suspension of the rules,” which allows for expedited consideration of legislation. Earlier this week, House lawmakers referred the bill to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
In a letter to Scott and Smith, NACDS applauded the lawmakers for their leadership in introducing and advancing bipartisan legislation to help fight the escalating problem of organized retail crime, which the association said is responsible for over $30 billion in losses annually. Such crime leads to in increased costs for merchants, higher prices for consumers, and lost tax revenue for state and local governments, and it poses safety issues when over-the-counter medications and other health care products are tampered with, NACDS noted in the letter.
"This bipartisan legislation is a strong first step to stem the growing problem of organized retail crime by creating a specific task force within the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute instances involving organized retail crime," the letter stated. "In addition to increased costs faced by retailers to cover losses and investment in additional security measures, consumers are placed at risk when package tampering occurs on consumer health care products, such as infant formula and OTC medications. These stolen products are repackaged and relabeled to falsely extend a product's expiration date or to hide the fact that the item has been stolen."
NACDS also urged Congress to support legislation that treats theft committed by organized, professional crime rings as a federal felony, pointing out that much of the stolen product is transported across state lines.
"We commend you again for introducing and advancing strong bipartisan legislation that will assist retailers and law enforcement to combat the serious problem of organized retail crime, and we look forward to working with you to enact this important legislation," the letter concluded.
Last November, NACDS also had voiced support for legislation, including another bill introduced by Scott, to address the issue of organized retail crime.
Organized retail crime is a well-coordinated, complex scheme in which individuals steal large quantities of retail goods and consumer products — such as infant formula, baby food, over-the-counter medications and medical devices — from retail outlets to resell them on unrestricted and poorly monitored online auction sites, according to NACDS. Besides involving theft, such crime is dangerous because the stolen items are often mishandled, adulterated and expired and frequently find their way back into commercial retail, placing consumers and patients at risk.