Anti-theft law with prison sentences receives broad support |

By California Black Media

Are you tired of the alarming frequency of shoplifting throughout California, including smash and grabsa diverse group of business leaders, law enforcement, policymakers and public safety advocates joined their efforts in Sacramento on January 24.

Their goal: increasing social support for it Assembly Bill (AB) 1772a bill that would make prison time mandatory for repeat theft offenders.

AB 1772, co-authored by Assembly members James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino), Avelino Valencia (D-Anaheim) and Devon Mathis (R-Tulare), would require a prison sentence of one to three years for theft crimes, depending the circumstances.

“Offenses include, but are not limited to, grand larceny, theft from an elderly or dependent adult, theft or unauthorized use of a vehicle, burglary, carjacking, robbery, receiving stolen property, shoplifting or mail theft,” the bill reads.

Ramos said urgent action is needed.

“It is time we reverse the spikes in thefts since the pandemic. Our law enforcement members and prosecutors need additional tools like AB 1772. We must reverse the trend before the problem gets worse. Last year I requested a state audit into the impact of Support 47 in Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” Ramos said.

Prop 47 is California’s initiative, approved by voters in 2014, that reclassified some felonies to misdemeanors and raised the minimum charge for most misdemeanor thefts from $400 to $950.

According to a report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), petty crimes such as shoplifting and commercial burglaries have increased by double digits over the past four years.

In Orange County alone, business burglaries are up 54%.

“Our communities are experiencing an increase in retail crime and deserve appropriate action from their legislators,” Valencia said.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus thanked Ramos.

“This bill, designed to impose harsher penalties on those suspected of shoplifting, responds urgently to the escalating impact of shoplifting and related crimes on our communities,” he said.

Supporters of AB 1772 who spoke at the meeting included Sacramento Sheriff Jim Cooper and San Bernardino Police Chief Darren Goodman. Listed as supporters are the California State Sheriff’s Association, City of Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez and the Redlands Chamber of Commerce.