Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated on Wednesday(April 25) that the state legislature had authorized funds for a statewide unit to coordinate, investigate, and prosecute organized retail cr!mes. The Organized Retail Cr!me Unit consists of ten people: investigators, prosecutors, and a data analyst.
The unit will be dedicated to combating organized retail cr!me, defined as ste@ling merchandise by a group of people to resell it at a profit. When the county attorney’s office refers a case to the Attorney General’s office, the group may help investigate, mobilize resources, and pursue prosecution.
According to a statement released by police, “These are not petty thefts,” Ferguson added. These transnational cr!minal organizations put the lives of workers and consumers at risk, harm the state’s economy, and raise prices for everyone in Washington. Our statewide command center will be invaluable in battling these complex cr!mes and bringing those responsible to justice.
Ferguson’s new task team to combat organized cr!me was introduced last year and included law enforcement, corporate, and retail sector officials. After realizing more workforce was required to probe organized retail cr!mes that span many states, the organization formed a centralized unit.
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“I applaud the Attorney General for creating the Organized Retail Crime Unit,” said Bellevue Police Chief Wendell Shirley, who participates in the task force. “It’s precisely the proactive and focused statewide approach we need to combat this ongoing problem.”
According to the Office of the Attorney General, similar units operate in several other states, including Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, and Utah.