House Approves Legislation to Combat Organized Retail Theft

Apr 25, 2024
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The Oklahoma House of Representatives today approved legislation to reduce criminal activity in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 1450, authored by Rep. John George, R-Newalla, lowers the felony threshold for theft from $1,000 to $500, defines organized retail crime, and sets penalties based on stolen property value.

"Oklahoma urgently needs to implement practical legislation based on the recommendations of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force to address alarming crime rates," George said. "Senate Bill 1450, a direct result of the task force's efforts, not only holds violent offenders responsible but also addresses the problem of organized retail theft."

George said Oklahoma increased the felony threshold on July 1, 2017, resulting in a substantial overall increase in crime rates. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 81% of business owners have reported a higher rate of violent theft-related offenses compared to previous years.

Under the measure, individuals convicted of organized retail theft could reportedly be subject to up to five years in county jail. SB1450, if signed into law, would allow the Attorney General's Office to hire more agents to investigate organized retail crime, improving response time and bringing charges more quickly.

The measure passed the House 65—14 and now returns to the Senate, where Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, is the author.

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal