Congressional Hearing to Tackle Organized Retail Crime

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, will hold a hearing on finding solutions to organized retail crime (ORC) on Sept. 22 in Washington. The hearing will specifically address the Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008 (H.R. 6491), the E-Fencing Enforcement Act of 2008, (H.R. 6713) and the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act (S. 3434).

ORC gangs go after such high-value consumer goods as power tools, razors, and over-the-counter medicine -- items that are in high demand and are often easily concealable. The stolen merchandise is then offered for sale at flea markets, swap meets, pawnshops, and, increasingly, Internet auction sites. The proceeds derived from ORC are then used to fund other criminal activity.

Scott introduced the E-Fencing Enforcement Act of 2008 in the House of Representatives in July, with the aim of curtailing the sale of stolen goods online.

According to the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime, an industry group made up of 33 national manufacturing and retail organizations, as well as individual companies, legislation such as Scott's bill "will give law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute these criminals effectively and protect innocent consumers from unsafe or damaged goods."

As the group points out, the need for such legislation is critical as no federal statute addressing ORC is currently in place.
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