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Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo Unveils Bipartisan Effort, the Secured Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention (STOP) Act, AB1990, to Combat Retail Theft

Because Organized Retail Theft Demands Organized Prevention

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  • Judith Gutierrez
  • (916) 319-2052

SACRAMENTO - Today, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo and co-authors Assembly Members Carlos Villapudua, Mike Gipson, and Juan Alanis held a press conference to unveil Assembly Bill (AB) 1990, The Secured Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention (STOP) Act. AB 1990 aims to…  

  1. Prioritize public safety and safeguard local economies 
  2. Increase enforcement and introduce tougher penalties for suspected shoplifters 
  3. Enhance the safety of employees and customers 

This legislation is a direct response to communities across California facing an onslaught of organized retail theft and loss of jobs, and directly answers Governor Gavin Newsom's call for the Legislature to develop a framework that intensifies the crackdown on property crimes.

"AB1990, the STOP Act, is an urgent call to action in response to the alarming escalation of organized retail theft that threatens the very fabric of our communities. Shoplifting adversely affects both small and large businesses, our state's economy, and the security and well-being of our neighborhoods," said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles). "It is our responsibility to confront a problem that has been increasingly worsening over time. In my community of Eagle Rock, we have noticed an uptick in organized retail theft with community groups bemoaning stores being broken into and employees being robbed on a weekly basis. Organized groups targeting retail stores have plunged businesses and communities into chaos, creating an environment of disorder for some and instilling fear in consumers, employers, and employees who are uncertain about their safety at work. Stores are closing. Jobs are being lost. It's clear that combating organized retail theft requires a coordinated effort aimed at both prevention and ensuring safety."

While California deals with a dangerous rise in retail theft, AB1990 would permit a peace officer to conduct an arrest without a warrant for a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, if the officer did not directly observe the shoplifting, provided there is probable cause the individual has engaged in shoplifting. 

“California businesses need stronger support from leaders in Sacramento to address the dangerous levels of retail theft seen over recent years,” said Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton), Principal Co-Author of AB1990. “Many shops have been left to their own devices to protect their stores and keep customers safe, and the current method of enforcement requires peace officers to enforce against theft with one hand tied behind their back. The STOP Act would be an important tool to allow our officers to operate more freely and efficiently in order to provide greater accountability and better protect our communities.”

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 to make an arrest. Additionally, 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 arrest and hold professional criminals involved in retail theft accountable. AB 1990 allows a peace officer to use their discretion to arrest and book a suspect involved in theft from a store, rather than citing and releasing them as required under existing law. 

“I firmly believe in the principles of justice, public safety, and economic stability that are foundational to the prosperity of California,” said Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), Principal Co-Author of AB 1990. “That is why I am a proud principle co-author of AB 1990, the Secure Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention Act (STOP Act). The escalating trend of retail theft across our great state, particularly in urban areas such as my district, not only undermines the safety of our communities but also poses a significant threat to our economy. The STOP Act is a crucial step forward in our fight against organized retail crime. Together, we can protect our communities, support our local businesses, and ensure California remains a place where safety and prosperity go hand in hand.”

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 rise in shoplifting reports is a reflection of our broken system. We need to take a hard look at our current policies and strive to do better. We cannot wait while retail theft crimes continue to plague our communities, eroding the economic stability of local businesses and undermining public safety,” said Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto), Co-Author of AB 1990.  “Strengthening our laws and enhancing enforcement capabilities are essential to deter these crimes and protect the livelihoods of our citizens. AB 1990 is an important step in the right direction, and I am proud to join as a co-author on this bill.”

AB 1990 seeks to address the growing issue of organized retail theft by prioritizing the safety and security of communities, businesses, and individuals alike. It is a testament to the state’s current efforts to prevent retail theft and its collective effort to protect Californians from the ramifications of retail crime.


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.