Assemblyman Cusick Seeks to Curb Organized Retail Crimes

Legislation would deter and disrupt organized retail theft and professional shoplifters
July 19, 2012

Assemblyman Michael Cusick has announced comprehensive legislative action designed to inhibit and dismantle Organized Retail Crime (ORC). The Organized Retail Crime Act consists of a six-bill package that effectively impedes shoplifting while simultaneously protecting shoppers.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, organized retail theft is an industry that costs United States retailers about $30 billion per year. Supermarket losses account for $15 billion of that annual theft. In turn, retailers are forced to offset these significant losses through price increases that negatively affect the economy and consumer.

“Our presently fragile economy gives us an ever-greater impetus to protect businesses and consumers,” said Cusick. “This legislative package would serve as an active constraint on criminal behavior as it relates to retail theft.”

“Small businesses and retailers are facing double jeopardy right now: Struggling to keep their doors open in a slow economy while being preyed upon by serial shoplifters. In this twisted world, the thieves are making profits and the retailers are being punished. I believe the bills presented by Assemblyman Cusick would help change that by closing some of the loopholes in our current laws and allow us to address this disturbing trend.” said Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

The legislative action consists of six bills:


Defines “Organized Retail Crime,” adds to the General Business Law the crime of “theft of retail merchandise with an aggregated value of $1,000,” and makes corresponding changes to the Penal Law to define such crime as “grand larceny in the fourth degree.”


Relates to jurisdiction and venue for a pattern of criminal offenses and grants jurisdiction to any county when at least one of the crimes constituting a pattern occurs within the county.


Relates to prohibitions and penalties against persons who lead an organized retail theft enterprise by organizing, supervising, financing, or managing such criminal activity.


Prohibits criminal practices with an access device and classifies such crime as a class B misdemeanor. This crime would subject individuals to criminal liability for certain actions taken with a fraudulent or counterfeit credit card or other devices that grant the holder access to money, goods, or services.


Prohibits retail sales receipt fraud and Universal Product Code fraud and provides for criminal penalties for such crimes.


Adds a new section to the General Business Law to state that use of an emergency exit to facilitate a theft from a mercantile establishment is classified as “grand larceny in the fourth degree.”