WASHINGTON — Retail associations yesterday praised new legislation that would make it a federal felony to conduct what is known as organized retail crime, or the large-scale theft of product from retailers. House Resolution 6491, the Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008, also seeks to impose new restrictions on online marketplaces, where the bill’s proponents say much of the goods that are stolen from retailers is resold. John J. Motley III, senior vice president of government and public affairs at Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., said ORC accounts for $30 billion a year in retail losses but has often been difficult to prosecute. “Too often, the gang members who are apprehended are charged with petty shoplifting misdemeanors, and receive minimal fines, probation or jail time,” he said. Joseph LaRocca, vice president for Loss Prevention at National Retail Federation here, added that the bill “shows that Congress realizes organized retail crime is more than just shoplifting.” The bill was introduced by Reps. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
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