Congress to Hold Hearing on Organized Retail Crime

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Congress to Hold Hearing on Organized Retail Crime

WASHINGTON -- Organized retail theft -- a growing problem that costs retailers and consumers as much as $30 billion a year -- will be the subject of a congressional hearing in Washington this week, the National Retail Federation said yesterday.

The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is scheduled to address "Organized Retail Theft Prevention: Fostering a Comprehensive Public-Private Response" at 10 a.m. Thursday in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing comes as Congress is preparing for introduction of new federal legislation to crack down on organized retail crime.

Witnesses have not been publicly announced, but are expected to include representatives of retailers, supermarkets, on-line auction sites and law enforcement, NRF said.

Organized retail crime amounts to between $15 billion and $30 billion annually, according to the FBI. Crime rings typically target consumer products that are in high demand and easy to steal, ranging from razor blades to consumer electronics. Once stolen, the goods are resold at pawnshops, flea markets, swap meets, and Internet auction sites.