New York’s Lax Laws Have Spawned a Billion-Dollar Shoplifting Industry – RedState

New York’s Lax Laws Have Spawned a Billion-Dollar Shoplifting Industry – RedState

Amid heightened crime rates across the country, shoplifting has become an increasingly popular form of illicit activity. In major cities, there have been organized shoplifting rings terrorizing retail stores and their customers in the face of lax laws regarding these types of crimes.

In New York, the problem has become particularly egregious, and has resulted in a thriving black market on which criminals sell the merchandise they pilfered from major and smaller retailers. Indeed, the Empire State’s shoplifting market has cost retailers billions of dollars each year as this brand of property crime continues.

A shoplifting epidemic costing retailers in New York state $4.4 billion a year is creating a shadow resale economy that ranges from eBay to bodegas, The Post has learned.

Shoplifting in New York City alone rose 64% from June 2019 to June 2023, according to the Council on Criminal Justice.

In 2022, the total estimated loss to shops in the state was $4.4 billion, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in February.

And retailers and law enforcement told The Post that the need to sell the stolen goods has created a sprawling underground economy.

Thieves and middlemen are selling shoplifted goods on resale sites such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace and filling warehouse spaces at illegal pawn shops.

Retailers and members of law enforcement have described an underground network where stolen goods are peddled through a variety of channels. The modus operandi of these theft rings reveals a high level of sophistication in how its members procure, store, and fence the stolen property.

Thieves using detailed “shopping lists” target specific, high-value items such as cellphones, power tools, and others. After swiping these products, the thieves then funnel them through illicit wholesalers across the five boroughs.

The repercussions of this shadow economy are multifaceted, affecting not just the retailers but also consumers. While it blossomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has continued even after the coronavirus hysteria has passed.

As pervasive as the shoplifting rings have become, law enforcement has scored some significant victories in stopping the perpetrators.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said he had busted a super-size version of such an operation.

“We surveilled the boosters and saw them transporting their goods to EZ Cash Pawn & Jewelry in Brentwood,” said Tierney.

“The goods, which seemed to be stolen locally, would be kept in a room behind the pawnshop. It looked like a Home Depot warehouse.”

It was stuffed with items including DeWalt power tools, KitchenAid mixers, Singer sewing machines and Ninja Foodie Delux pressure cookers. There were also building supplies — and designer clothes and purses.

Court documents show they were sold on eBay and another website, Tradesy, a now-defunct marketplace for luxury goods.

Retailers have also taken steps to address the problem. Walmart, Amazon, and other large stores have taken to asking their customers to report stolen goods being offered for sale online and elsewhere. While this might help, the problem still persists, and it could create a situation in which consumers will have to bear the cost of the losses.


Major US Retailers Warn the Shoplifting Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

This criminal trend is not only happening in New York. As stated previously, it is happening in major cities in multiple states across the nation. Unfortunately, in places where the local and state governments prioritize protecting criminals over civilians, these types of crimes will continue to flourish.

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