California Authorities Recover Over $700,000 in Stolen Merchandise from Suspected Organized Retail Theft Ring

More than $700,000 in stolen goods was recovered and a San Francisco Bay Area man was arrested in connection with a retail theft ring, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said Wednesday.
Authorities served search warrants at a home in Pittsburg, California, and at a nearby warehouse, according to the CHP's Golden Gate Division. During the search, investigators uncovered stolen merchandise from multiple retailers, including Macy's, Lululemon, Target, CVS and more, valued at "at least $715,000."
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"The task force, in collaboration with the retail industry and our allied agency partners, is identifying these organized rings and making our communities safer," department chief Christ Costigan said in a statement shared on social media on Wednesday.
This arrest comes just months after California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan to fight and prevent crime in the state as it faces a rise in organized smash-and-grab robberies. In a news conference in late December, Gov. Newsom unveiled the "Real Public Safety Plan," which provided $255 million in grants to local law enforcement agencies over the next three years to increase police presence at retail locations. District attorneys were awarded an additional $30 million in local prosecutor grants over three years, and the state announced it would create a new gun buyback program.
The plan also included a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit, operated by the CHP, consisting of law enforcement fleets that will work with local law enforcement agencies to combat organized retail, auto and railroad larceny in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Los, Angeles and San Diego regions.
The plan seems to be working. Late last month, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that two men had pleaded guilty to a retail theft ring that resulted in about $1 million in losses in seven counties, including Contra Costa County outside of San Francisco.
According to a press release from Bonta's office, the two men who pleaded guilty were part of an organized group who committed robberies at several JCPenney and Sams' Club stores between September 2020 and February 2021. They were sentenced to 16 months in prison, the publication said.
"Organized retail theft costs businesses, retailers and consumers - and puts the public at risk," Bonta said at the time. "Brazen criminal activity, such as the organized retail theft that we are addressing today, will not be tolerated in California."
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Gavin Newsom
Governor of California

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