There was a time when retail crime meant something relatively minor, like shoplifting, or a hijacked truck. In recent years, however, stores around the country have demanded laws to protect them against major crimes by organized entities. This accounts for the wave of organized retail crime laws.
Oregon recently passed legislation strengthening its commitment to fighting ORC. Nationwide, 34 states have such laws in place.
What is organized retail crime?
Organized retail crime is bigger and smarter than small time crime. It includes pawn shops, storefronts, flea markets and kiosks where stolen goods can be fenced. Some gangs specialize in ripping off return and exchange departments. ORC also includes internet-based scams categorized as e-fencing.
Criminals are also finding ways to manipulate store return policies. According to the survey, 68 percent of respondents said they had experienced thieves returning stolen merchandise for store credit, which is often resold to secondary-market buyers.
Essentially, ORC stakes out every juncture of the retail supply chain, stealing, reselling, and fraudulently obtaining exchanges and refunds.
Many of the companies behind this demand for enforcement are Fortune 500 companies, including department stores, discount stores, big box stores, drug chains and grocery stores.
ORC law may become even tougher down the road, as big stores push for federal laws to protect their interests.
Our poosition on organized retail crime
At Short Law Group of Portland, we appreciate these companies' concern to tighten enforcement of ORC laws. The problem is that when law enforcement is tasked by powerful entities to protect their interests, police make many arrests, to show they are doing their job.
We see this pattern with healthcare fraud, drunk driving, RICO and other criminal areas. Along the way, innocent or falsely identified people get swept up in the wave of arrests.
Our lawyers are attentive to the rights of individuals charged with every kind of property crime, from shoplifting to larger scale offenses.
If you have been charged or are under investigation for organized