Stephens Anti-Theft Bill Passes the House

HARRISBURG-- The House has passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to raise the penalties for those convicted of retail theft.

House Bill 1000 lowers the threshold for retail theft to be graded as a felony of the third degree from $2,000 to $1,000. Currently, retail theft of more than $150 up to $2,000 is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Making thefts of more than $1,000 a third-degree felony raises that punishment to a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

“Pennsylvania is one of the most lenient states in the country in addressing organized retail theft.  Only Wisconsin treats organized retail theft more leniently than Pennsylvania,” Stephens said.  “This legislation brings Pennsylvania into line with our neighboring states to ensure these sophisticated thieves don’t target Pennsylvania for their crimes.”

According to a 2012 National Retail Federation survey, 96 percent of retailers surveyed said they had been the victim of organized retail theft.  Nationally, retailers lose $20 billion to $30 billion to organized retail theft and Pennsylvania loses approximately $70 million in sales tax revenue each year according to the Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association.  Earlier this month, Montgomery County prosecutors prosecuted a New Jersey man for acting as the ringleader of an eleven-county organized retail theft ring.

“As consumers we all bear the costs of these lost revenues,” explained Stephens.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster
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