Maricopa County Attorney’s Office looks to crack down on retail theft with new team

Jul 21, 2022, 4:45 AM

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler-Oatley)...

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler-Oatley)

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler-Oatley)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is looking to crack down on retail theft after Arizona and surrounding states saw an increase.

Interim County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced in a press conference on Wednesday that she is creating an organized retail theft team, comprised of multiple prosecutors and an investigator to coordinate with local business owners and law enforcement to ensure successful prosecution of these crimes.

“The people who are coming here from other states, such as California, specifically Los Angeles or Las Vegas or Albuquerque, you need to understand if you come here and commit these crimes, plan to stay a little bit longer than you thought you would,” she said. “We are not going to tolerate that here.”

Mitchell said the Los Angeles District Attorney will not prosecute retail theft below $1000, but she said that is not the case for Maricopa County.

“There will be no threshold set below which we won’t prosecute,” Mitchell said. “We will also not be asking for them to be released without bond, we’ll be asking that they be held on bond.”

This comes after two armed individuals went into a jewelry store in Anthem and allegedly robbed it last week.

Mitchell said these crimes have moved beyond shoplifting and have become an organized crime.

She explains people are stealing mass amounts from stores and then selling it for profit.

Mitchell stressed that these crimes are directly affecting Arizonans.

“The economic impact of retail crime in Arizona resulted in over $766 million in lost wages and 14,297 lost jobs,” she said.

Mitchell added she’s making this a priority for her office to try and help curb the crime before it gets any worse.

Retail leaders also attended the press conference and spoke firsthand about what they’ve experienced.

Michelle Ahlmer, the executive director of the Arizona Retailers Association, said they started to see an increase in crimes during the pandemic and its also become more aggressive.

“Even if it’s not an armed robbery, it is violent to the extent that there is physical altercations,” Ahlmer said. “We’ve had knives, we’ve had guns, we’ve had bear spray.”

Ahlmer said she’s also noticed the crimes becoming more organized.

“This is an organization that either recruits and then they train, or they take advantage of, I should say, disadvantaged people,” she said. “Drug addicts, homeless, they’ll hire them for the day.”

Alhmer claims these people come into the stores already knowing what to steal and how much they’ll get paid for the job.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Hobbs sits at a table with representatives of the Korean International Trade Association...

Gov. Hobbs returns to Arizona from east Asia after meeting industry leaders

Gov. Katie Hobbs returned to Arizona on Friday after concluding a weeklong trip to Taiwan and South Korea to strengthen economic ties.

21 minutes ago

File photo of a Mesa Police patrol vehicle. A man was killed in a shooting involving Mesa officers ...

Man killed in shooting involving Mesa police Sunday night

A man was killed in a shooting involving Mesa police after officers responded to a domestic violence call Sunday night.

3 hours ago

patrol car in front of caution tape...

Police investigating 2 south Phoenix homicides from over the weekend

Investigations are underway after two people were found fatally shot Sunday morning in separate south Phoenix shootings, authorities said. 

4 hours ago

Arizona man sentenced after attempted child sex trafficking...

Arizona man gets 7 years in prison for attempted child sex trafficking

An Arizona man was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted child sex trafficking on Thursday, officials said.

5 hours ago

The Boys and Girls Club city facility at 300 E. Chandler Blvd is set to be renovated thanks to an a...

Serena O'Sullivan

East Valley city approves $1.3 million renovation of Boys and Girls Club facility

The city of Chandler said it approved an amended lease agreement to renovate the Chandler Compadres facility for $1.3 million last week.

5 hours ago

(Phoenix Police Department Photo/via YouTube)...

Police share body cam footage related to fatal shooting of alleged carjacker in Glendale

The Phoenix Police Department released body camera footage related to an early September shooting of an alleged carjacker on Friday.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.



Thank you to Al McCoy for 51 years as voice of the Phoenix Suns

Sanderson Ford wants to share its thanks to Al McCoy for the impact he made in the Valley for more than a half-decade.

Maricopa County Attorney’s Office looks to crack down on retail theft with new team