Retailers in Massachusetts have been trying to get a bill passed that would crack down on organized retail crime since 2007.
Ryan Kearney, general counsel for the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, says the latest version of the bill has been slimmed down, including a proposed ban on the sale of certain items in flea markets and a proposed mandate for additional recordkeeping at the state Department of Revenue.
The legislation, if signed into law, would strengthen the penalties for shoplifters if their actions are part of a broader, orchestrated effort.
The bill would also turn several theft-related actions into crimes. It would impose criminal sanctions for people found guilty of using a device to block or deactivate theft-protection devices, shoplifters who use an emergency exit to avoid apprehension, and individuals who use counterfeit receipts or fake Universal Product Codes to cheat or defraud a merchant.
According to the Boston Herald, retail crime costs Massachusetts merchants more than $160 million a year in lost inventory.