OAKLAND, Calif. - A total of $1 million in jewelry has been stolen from JC Penney and Sam's Club stores throughout California, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Friday.
The suspects entered stores by breaking and entering though exterior doors and stealing high-end jewelry in Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Clarita, and Tulare counties, Bonta said.
Anton Salaam and Marion Paul Tilley pleaded guilty to a violation of organized retail theft and sentenced to 16 months in the California Department of Corrections.
A third suspect has been charged with organized retail theft and child endangerment, as an illegal assault weapon was allegedly found in the presence of the suspect’s nine-year-old child. A fourth suspect was also charged with organized retail theft.
To combat organized retail theft, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1065, which paved the way for the California Highway Patrol to partner with the state Department of Justice to establish a regional property crimes task force and assist local law enforcement with resources, such as personnel and equipment. Newsom also signed AB 331 to extend the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force until Jan. 1, 2026.
"Organized retail theft costs businesses, retailers, and consumers – and puts the public at risk," Bonta said at a news conference in Oakland. "Brazen criminal activity, such as the organized retail theft operation we are taking action against today, will not be tolerated in California.
California is not the only state affected by organized retail theft.
According to a 2020 national survey, U.S. retailers lose approximately $700,000 per every $1 billion in sales to organized retail crime.
Bonta announced a new online portal for the public to submit complaints and tips at oag.ca.gov/retail-theft.
Organized retail theft incidents may also be reported to the CHP online at: https://www.chp.ca.gov/notify-chp/organized-retail-theft-program.