- Richard Garcia
(Sacramento, California) – Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) has introduced a bill that gives law enforcement additional tools to arrest individuals alleged to have committed an organized retail theft crime, also known as smash-and-grab, in-lieu of issuing a written notice or citation.
“This act puts criminals on notice by giving law enforcement the ability to act immediately and take a person into custody for crimes determined to be organized in nature,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer.” “Crime in our state, of any type, is not tolerable. My bill makes it clear that if you consider committing a crime, your deeds will be met with direct action by law enforcement without delay.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 2294 eliminates the current process of having law enforcement release any individual arrested for a misdemeanor after issuing a written notice to appear in court. The bill allows a person to be taken into custody on a misdemeanor if the person has been cited, arrested, or convicted of theft from a store in the past six-months, or if there is probable cause to believe that the person is guilty of committing organized retail theft.
The bill further allows a court to issue a bench warrant for a defendant if similar factors apply and the defendant has failed to appear in court.
AB 2294 also renews the authority of local entities to create a diversion or deferred entry of judgment program for persons who commit repeat theft offenses and directs the BSCC to award funding for a grant program to several courts and probation departments to create demonstration projects to reduce the recidivism of high-risk misdemeanor probationers.
In 2021 Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer introduced, and had signed into law AB 331, which funds the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Taskforce. AB 331 has shown success in tracking and shutting down Organized Retail Crime groups and retrieving millions of dollars of stolen goods and products.