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Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo Announces the Secured Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention (STOP) Act to Combat Retail Theft

Because Organized Retail Theft Demands Organized Prevention

For immediate release:
  • Judith Gutierrez
  • (916) 319-2052

SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo introduced Assembly Bill 1990 (AB 1990), the Secured Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention (STOP) Act, a significant step toward enhancing the safety of both employees and customers. It aims to create a more secure environment by addressing the issue of retail theft, which has become increasingly prevalent as part of organized crime activities. This legislation comes at a time when policymakers explore potential strategies to combat organized retail crimes, directly aligning with Governor Gavin Newsom's appeal for the Legislature to develop a framework that intensifies the crackdown on property crimes.

As California grapples with an increase in retail theft, AB 1990 would authorize a peace officer to make a warrantless arrest for a misdemeanor shoplifting offense not committed in the officer’s presence if the officer has probable cause to believe that person has committed shoplifting.  Under existing law, for a warrantless arrest on a misdemeanor, which includes retail theft, the crime generally has to be committed in the officer’s presence for the officer to make an arrest. Secondly, current law generally requires the citation and release of someone arrested for a misdemeanor rather than being booked. This has resulted in issues for law enforcement to successfully arrest and hold professional criminals involved in retail theft accountable. AB 1990 would exempt a person arrested for shoplifting from the release and citation requirement.

"Retail theft continues to impact small and large businesses alike, our California economy, and the safety and wellbeing of our communities. Today, we stand at a pivotal moment to address a challenge that has been allowed for far too long," said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D - Los Angeles). "Businesses and communities have been under siege by organized retail theft rings that have created lawlessness by some and fear for employers and workers alike who don’t know if they will be safe in their workplaces. With the introduction of AB 1990, we are taking a necessary step to strengthen our response to this crisis. Organized retail theft demands an organized response on prevention and safety.”

“By enhancing coordination between law enforcement agencies, introducing tougher penalties for these crimes, and increasing enforcement against suspected shoplifters, we are sending a clear message: we will not tolerate these acts that threaten our public safety and economic vitality,” continued Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. “AB 1990 provides peace officers with the ability to respond more effectively to misdemeanor shoplifting offenses, even if the offense was not committed in their presence, as long as they have probable cause. It's time we take back control and ensure that our streets and stores are safe for everyone. My office looks forward to working with stakeholders and community groups amid the legislative process.” 

A recent report notes that statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department demonstrate there was an 81% increase from 2022 in shoplifting reports this past year from 6,585 to 11,945. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office recently reported having filed over 200 cases of organized retail theft, in 2023, indicating a significant surge in retail crime rates in Los Angeles. This bill aims at reaffirming Governor Newsom's and the Legislature’s commitment to public safety by protecting communities from the detrimental impacts of organized crime. 

“The safety of our customers, communities, and small businesses are being put in harm’s way right now,” said Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy. “The STOP Act significantly boosts public safety and bolsters the efforts of local law enforcement to tackle these offenses. By escalating penalties and enhancing collaboration between agencies, we aim to deter criminal activity and safeguard our communities.”

What organizations are saying about AB 1990, the “STOP” Act: 

Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce (LALCC)

"Organized retail theft disproportionately impacts Latino-owned businesses, causing severe harm on our community and undermining California's economic vitality," said Darrel Sauceda, Chairman of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce. "We fully support Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo's introduction of AB 1990. This legislation is a crucial step toward safeguarding the interests of Latino business leaders, entrepreneurs and creating a safer, more secure environment for our business community, our families and the public at large."


About Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo

Assemblywoman Carrillo was elected to serve in the State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which includes East Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, and South Glendale. She serves on the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Emergency Management, Health, Labor and Employment, and the Joint Committee on Climate Change Policies. She also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, Commissioner for the California Film Commission, Commissioner for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, and Member of the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board.