"We've got a problem here and all over the state with that," Hugo Holland, a Caddo assistant district attorney and co-author of the bill, said. Shoplifting is an everyday reality for major stores like Wal Mart and Target, costing them an estimated $50 billion. Yet, Shoplifting is now the newest form of organized crime. Shoplifting rings steal the items then sell them on the streets for a profit. That's why Rep. Powell and the Caddo District Attorney's office say this law is so important. "It will allow us during a 180 day period to count all the thefts to get it up to a felony level," Paul Carmouche, Caddo District Attorney, said.
The law won't just be good for retailers; lawmakers say it could play a role in fighting terrorism. "The money then as customs has reported is being transferred to Syria and Lebanon and is believed to be used in illegal activities in the way of terrorism," Powell said. By slapping habitual shoplifters with felonies instead of misdemeanors, Powell and law enforcement hope to keep more of them off the streets and out of our stores." As organized crime takes on another level," Powell said," we need our law enforcement agencies to have the necessary tools to target those groups."
House Bill 113 also targets store owners who knowingly buy stolen goods through undercover police stings and arrests. The law has wide support and is expected to pass.