SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Organized retail crime has been a hot topic in New Mexico. For months, law enforcement officials have been trying new ways to stop repeat thieves. Now, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is weighing in on the topic.
“There’s no question that organized retail crime is having a detrimental impact on the bottom line for New Mexico businesses, especially small ones,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release. “This cowardly crime also means higher prices for New Mexican consumers – it’s time to crack down on organized retail theft.”
There are several bills being considered to do just that. House Bill 55, introduced by a handful of Republican legislators aims to create a new criminal penalty for organized retail theft. Monday, Democratic legislator Marian Matthews (D-Abq.) and Governor Lujan Grisham announced their version: House Bill 234.
The two bills have some similarities. Both would make it a felony to steal goods worth a total of $2,500 or more within a year. There are some differences too: The bill from Rep. Matthews redefines the definition of “racketeering” to encompass organized retail crime. According to a press release, this could result in thieves being charged with racketeering in addition to retail crime.
Neither bill has had the chance to be debated in committee yet. Still, it’s clear that state leaders on both sides of the political aisle want to see something done about retail crime across the state.