“This is about the safety of our communities,” Pritzker said. “It’s about preventing militarized storefronts and empty stores.”
The governor has signed into law the Inform Act, which enforces the new crime of organized retail theft.
It’s the latest step in Illinois’ efforts to fight a crime that has plagued businesses large and small across the state.
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Surveillance video has captured several incidents showing crowds rushing into stores to steal goods from luxury goods to convenience stores, even while employees or customers are inside. Macy’s, Nordstrom, Burberry and LensCrafters along the Mag Mile were all hit.
Last December alone, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s Organized Crime Task Force recovered $1 million worth of stolen items from storage units.
Also in December, a group of 14 people looted the Louis Vuitton in Oak Brook and made off with $120,000 worth of merchandise.
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The new law cracks down on the ringleaders who organize these crimes and profit from them to fund other illegal activities.
“This is not aimed at low-income parents who are desperate to feed their child,” Gov. Pritzker said. “It’s not about a kid making a short-sighted mistake. This is about a multi-billion dollar industry of organized crime conducting sophisticated theft operations to make a profit in the resale market.”
As part of the new law, those who knowingly participate with others in a theft of $300 or more would be guilty of a Class 3 felony. Those who engage in retail theft at one or more stores would be guilty of a Class Two felony, which would carry more jail time.
“Deterring retail crime starts with helping law enforcement, holding the ringleaders accountable and making it harder to sell these stolen goods,” said State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton.
The Burberry store on Michigan Ave. was burgled for the second time in a week, Chicago police say
The law allows prosecutors to bring offenders to justice even if the conspiracy, theft and/or sale crosses county lines. You are now able to pursue the entire crime.
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association has partnered with several lawmakers to make the law a reality.
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