PA cracks down on organized retail theft rings, makes it a felony with up to 20 years in jail

21 December 2023- A bill to crack down on looters and thieves was approved with strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and Senate and has now officially become law across Pennsylvania.

Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) introduced the bill after seeing the shocking reports of widespread looting in Philadelphia and many other cities.

“Small business owners are under siege,” said Argall. “As rising theft continues to grip communities across Pennsylvania, we need to act now!”

According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, organized retail theft has resulted in the loss of almost 700,000 jobs nationwide due to over $125 billion in economic losses.

Senate Bill 596 creates a first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $50,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them.

The bill would also create the Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft to pursue the leaders of these criminal rings.

“Retail theft has become a plague on employers large and small in recent years,” Argall continued. “We must take harsh action to deter these criminals and protect family-sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania.”

The bill was signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro and has since become Act 42 of 2023.