Senator Schumer calls on DOJ to help address organized retail theft in Rochester area

Retail Theft

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VICTOR, N.Y. — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Department of Justice to help address a rise in organized retail theft in the Rochester area and across the nation.

Schumer spoke at a news conference on Tuesday in front of Victor Crossing Shopping Plaza. That’s the area where an Ulta Beauty store has lost $100,000 to theft since 2023.

As News10NBC has reported, four major retailers in Monroe County lost $7 million to theft in 2023 alone. Schumer wants an investigation into how much organized crime rings have contributed to that theft.

Schumer called on the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute organized retail theft using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which helped to bring down the mafia’s organized crime sprees in the past.

“It was to help federal agents take down the mafia. It was extremely effective by giving the feds new tools to investigate and prosecute these crime rings and the same principles can be used here,” Schumer said. “RICO is national and a lot of these crime rings are national.”

Schumer said people involved in these crime rings often steal items, then sell them to national leaders who know how to re-sell the items on the black market. He said the RICO Act can help federal officials to investigate crime across state lines, allowing law enforcement to see patterns instead of just individual crimes. That will allow officials to go after the leaders.

“The DOJ can help by making sure that we have increased federal penalties for these crimes but, more importantly, that we go after the whole organized crime operation. We’re going to cut the snake off at the head,” Schumer said.

You can see Schumer’s conference here: