LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón says his office is prosecuting hundreds of cases involving smash-and-grab retail thefts as a result of two local task forces that are targeting the growing crime.
"To date, the Los Angeles Police Department O.R.C.T.F. (Organized Retail Crime Task Force) has made a total of 145 arrests," LAPD Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton said during a news conference with the DA at the Hall of Justice Thursday.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department, which formed its own Organized Retail Crime Task Force, reported 438 more arrests since its inception in September 2023.
"We are not only focused on the individuals responsible for the thefts, but those that are in the criminal chain - the getaway drivers, those that harbor them and those that sell the stolen merchandise," said Capt. Rob Peacock, who heads up Sheriff Department's task force.
"These individuals need to understand that there will be consequences. We will use all our resources to identify, pursue and arrest these suspects."
Gascón says last year his office filed at least 200 cases that involve smash-and grab-type thefts and are using a relatively new state law that makes it a felony for an organized group of two or more people to steal goods from a merchant with the intent for resale.
"There will be people going to prison and jail as a result of this, and we're not looking the other way," Gascon said at a news conference, standing shoulder to shoulder with leaders from local police agencies and retailers. "The people that are engaged in this activity are being held accountable. I will be severe in the consequences."
Gascón wouldn't say how severe though, explaining that each case depends on many factors - like a suspect's previous record or what role that person played in the crimes.