WASHINGTON — Organized retail theft should be a federal felony for all members of the groups involved in these crimes, Food Marketing Institute argued at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing yesterday. “Organized retail crime is one of the most serious threats we face today,” said Tim Hammonds, president and chief executive officer, FMI. “These gangs of thieves steal up to $30 billion in merchandise a year.” He said the gangs also pose a public threat because they sometimes adulterate products and resell them, and because money gained through such sales may be used to fund terrorism. Among the witnesses who testified before about the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security about the severity of organized retail theft were Karl F. Langhorst, director of loss prevention for Randalls Food Markets and Tom Thumb Food & Pharmacy; and Brad Brekke, vice president of assets protection, Target Corp. “This hearing shows that Congress recognizes the seriousness of organized retail crime and is ready to do something about it,” said Joseph LaRocca, vice president for loss prevention, National Retail Federation, in a prepared statement.
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