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Guilty pleas for 2 men in $1M California retail theft ring

Group targeted stores in 9 counties including Kern
File image of a gavel in front of law books.
Posted at 1:21 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 16:21:06-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two men have pleaded guilty for their roles in an organized retail theft ring that stole about $1 million from stores across California.

Authorities said Friday that the group stole high-end jewelry from multiple JCPenney and Sam’s Clubs stores in nine counties, including Kern. The thieves broke in at night, unlike the prominent smash-and-grab robberies in California and elsewhere last year.

The prosecutions come as critics including state lawmakers say the state should do more to combat retail theft. But a state Assembly committee this week defeated a bill supported by retailers that would have toughened a 2014 ballot measure that lowered penalties for thefts, among other crimes.