Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Retailers Blame Lax Online Vendors for Smash-and-Grab

'This lack of transparency on particular third-party marketplaces has allowed criminal activity to fester...'

Large retailers are calling on Congress to pass legislation that would make it tougher for criminals to sell goods stolen from smash-and-grab robberies anonymously through online retailers, said the Washington Post.

“In a letter signed by the chief executives of 20 retailers—including Best Buy, Target, Nordstrom, Home Depot and Dollar General—House and Senate leaders were urged to pass legislation that would make it harder for people to remain anonymous when they sell things online,” reported the Post.

“Representatives of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the trade group responsible for the letter, said every major online marketplace is regularly used to sell stolen items from fake online accounts,” it added.

The alarming trend has garnered considerable steam since the nationwide race riots last year in the aftermath of George Floyd‘s death led Democrats to normalize looting and vandalism amid calls to “defund the police.”

Not coincidentally, cities that elected radical, George-Soros-backed prosecutors who pledged to go light on criminals—including Los Angeles’s George Gascon and San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin—have been hardest hit.

Some stores, such as Walgreens and Target, have been forced to leave the areas altogether because of the ongoing crime problems and refusal to prosecute the perpetrators.

A report released last week by another retail trade group, the National Retail Federation, said that the dollar amount that is stolen in smash-and-grab robberies has risen nearly 10 times since 2019.

“In its survey, the NRF says the average dollar loss per robbery incident has gone up to $7,594.48 in 2020,” said smallbiztrends.com about the NRF report.

“It was only $828.94 in 2019,” the report added. “This can be devastating for small business owners with limited inventory and minimal insurance coverage.”

The RILA is urging the House and the Senate to pass legislation that would require online marketplaces like EBay and Facebook to verify the identities of people who sell items on their platform.

“In the current environment, criminal networks and unscrupulous businesses have exploited a system that protects their anonymity to sell unsafe, stolen, or counterfeit products with little legal recourse,” the executives wrote in the letter according to the New York Post. “This lack of transparency on particular third-party marketplaces has allowed criminal activity to fester.”

Best Buy’s CEO, Corie Barry said that theft is not only hitting their bottom line, but also is hitting their staff.

“This is traumatizing for our associates and is unacceptable,” Barry said on a call with analysts according to CNN. “We are doing everything we can to try to create [an] as safe as possible environment.”

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