The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office received a $2.05 million grant to combat organized retail theft in Riverside County. The grant period runs from Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2026.
The grant funds approved by the Board of State and Community Corrections will be used by the office to create a dedicated and experienced team to prosecute and investigate organized retail theft, in an approach that will support the elimination and exposure of organized retail theft at its root.
Once implemented, the vertical prosecution program will consist of a full-time deputy district attorney, full-time district attorney investigator, investigative technician, and research specialist. This team will utilize state-of-the-art techniques and stakeholder partnerships to identify modern organized retail theft trends and schemes being used to steal goods and recruit resources.
Twelve additional California prosecutor’s offices and 38 law enforcement agencies were also funded in an effort to dismantle retail theft at its core.
“These grant funds are critical to elevating organized retail theft prosecution to the same level as we do other complex fraud offenses,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “We recognize this as a serious problem, which impacts every single consumer and retailer in Southern California. Our ORT program will use proven strategies specially designed to identify the core participants behind these operations, and then hold them accountable.”
Since PC 490.4 became law in California in 2021, through May of 2023, the Riverside County DA’s office initiated 53 organized retail theft cases, which included nearly 100 defendants. Due to the complexity and conspiracy elements of these crimes, that number likely represents only a portion of the reality of organized retail theft in the region.