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CA Bill Would Make It Easier For Police To Arrest Retail Thieves

California Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo thinks there’s a way to crack down on retail theft without increasing penalties — making it easier for police to arrest suspected thieves. “Right now, there’s no fear, right? It’s like we can steal, we can commit these petty misdemeanor crimes, but it’s cite and release and there’s no record,” Carrillo says. The Los Angeles County Democrat is sponsoring a bill that would allow for police to make misdemeanor shoplifting arrests without a warrant or being present during the theft, if they have probable cause, Politico reports. Carrillo believes the Secured Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention — or “STOP” Act — would deter prolific shoplifters by increasing the likelihood of a low-level arrest. “This is just going back to traditionally what we used to have, which was book-and-arrest, so you’ll have a record,” Carrillo said.


Carrillo’s bill doesn’t aggregate misdemeanors into felony charges, lower the $950 felony theft threshold or make any number of penalty-increasing ideas floating around the legislature this year. It has attracted bipartisan support. Carrillo’s bill has drawn criticism from people concerned with inequities in law enforcement even without increased penalties. Tina McKinnor has been rallying against the bill, saying on X that the bill is “bad for black and brown folks.” McKinnor said the bill would only increase mass incarceration. “The laws on the books are effective if our law enforcement partners would enforce them,” she said. Carrillo insisted that her goal was not to jail more people, but to leverage the looming threat of arrest to prevent theft.

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