Downtown Businesses Looking for Relief from Organized Retail Theft

The Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed S.180, which would address organized retail theft by making a string of larcenies or misdemeanor retail thefts within a 6-month period a new category of felony if committed in coordination with another person. With businesses short-staffed and struggling to hire loss prevention and security personnel, some retailers are asking the Legislature for relief. Several downtown Burlington business owners and loss prevention professionals described the same individuals and groups stealing from them repeatedly, sometimes multiple times per week, and a pattern of escalating aggression and violence toward employees over the past several months. Hesitation among some legislators hinged on whether elevating this crime to a felony would sufficiently deter theft for those with no expectation of being caught and charged with a crime. The Vermont Chamber supports retail businesses as this legislation is considered to address organized theft in Vermont’s downtowns. If you are a retail business experiencing rising theft, contact the Vermont Chamber lobbying team.