In July of this year, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced the start of a new Organized Retail Theft Team in response to increased organized retail theft. Organized retail theft refers to groups, gangs, or individuals who illegally obtain retail merchandise in large quantities and resell them for a profit as part of a criminal enterprise. The team, comprised of multiple prosecutors and a detective, works with businesses and law enforcement agencies to ensure these crimes are successfully prosecuted.
An essential component in combating this crime is statewide collaboration and communication between law enforcement agencies, retail organizations, and prosecutorial agencies. MCAO has worked with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Arizona Organized Retail Crime Association to discuss and share information on retail crime trends and the prosecution process. These partnerships have helped retailers build better criminal cases to hold people accountable.
MCAO participated in the Arizona Justice Educators Association (AJEA) Conference on October 21st at the Paradise Valley Community College to better inform these organizations and encourage more collaboration.
At the start, MCAO Deputy County Attorney Douglas Mangum participated in a speaker panel and spoke of the office’s efforts to reduce organized retail crime and the importance of partnerships and collaboration. Other panel speakers included a representative from Kroger Markets, the Arizona Retailers Association President, and a representative from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
In attendance at this presentation were criminal justice students, law enforcement officers, city representatives from across the Valley, retail representatives, and members of the public. Participants gained an understanding of organized retail crime, current crime trends, and the prosecution process for these types of cases. Many participants were excited to hear from the panel. One participant shared that he was unaware of the extent of retail criminal activity in the Valley and looked forward to working with our office to combat this crime.
About the Arizona Justice Educators Association
The AJEA is a non-profit organization that promotes collaboration between educators and criminal justice agencies and provides opportunities for educators and students to enhance their knowledge of the criminal justice studies. AJEA also provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate criminal justice students.