Tag: Los Angeles District Attorney's Office

Almost 200 Cases Filed To Combat Organized Retail Theft

February 6, 2024 ·

BEVERLY HILLS—On Thursday, February 1, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release that over 200 cases have been filed to fight against organized retail theft and the task forces are comprised of regional law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office partnering together to prosecute these crimes.

“Organized retail theft stole the feeling of safety and security from Angelino’s and business owners alike last year,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. “This regional organized retail theft task force has restored much of this, although, there is work still to be done. I am proud of the hard work and dedication to public safety of those not only from the Los Angeles Police Department, but our partnering agencies as well. As public servants, we cannot work in silos; we cannot work alone. Public safety belongs to all of us.”

“The Sheriff’s Organized Retail Crimes Task Force in collaboration with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and our partner law enforcement agencies are continuing to work tirelessly to tackle these brazen smash-and-grabs that are having a significant impact on our business communities,” said LASD Major Crimes Bureau Acting Captain Rob Peacock. “Since inception of our task force, we have arrested 438 suspects related to retail theft and 309 cases have been successfully filed. We are not only focused on the individuals responsible for the thefts, but those that are in the criminal chain—the getaway drivers, those that harbor them, and those that sell the stolen merchandise. These individuals need to understand that there will be consequences—we will use all our resources to identify, pursue, and arrest these suspects.”

From January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, the District Attorney’s Office filed at least 200 cases involving adult and juvenile cases, the majority involving multiple defendants, under PC 490.4. This penal code section makes it a felony for an organized group of two or more persons to steal goods from a merchant with the intent for resale. This applies to online merchants and physical stores. Individuals who have partaken in such thefts are being prosecuted, as the thefts have caused large revenue losses for the businesses.

There are some cases pending, sentences can range from probation to state prison, and can include charges such as: organized retail theft, grand theft, robbery, second-degree robbery, conspiracy, and receiving stolen property.

Some of the cases filed included stores that have been targeted like: 99 Cent Store, American Eagle, Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS, Kevin Jewelers, Kohls, Macy’s, Marshall’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Rite Aid, Ross, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sam’s Club, Sephora, Target, Ulta, Victoria’s Secret, WSS, and numerous small businesses.

“WSS acknowledges and supports the vital efforts of the Organized Retail Theft Task Force and the District Attorney’s Office in combating organized retail theft, which detrimentally affects neighborhood security and local businesses. We remain committed to collaborating with law enforcement to deter and prosecute these crimes,” Blanca Gonzalez, senior vice president and general manager, Warehouse Shoe Sale.

In addition to prosecuting these cases, law enforcement worked with task force partners to recover millions of dollars in stolen goods which have been returned to retailers by law enforcement. Over $188,000 in merchandise has been returned to Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, $250,000 in recovered goods has been returned to Kevin Jewelers, and hundreds of thousands of dollars has been returned to Target and CVS.

Anyone with details on these types of crimes that have occurred in Los Angeles County can call the LAPD Organized Retail Theft Task Force contact, Lt. Michael McComas at 818-374-9420 or email orc@lapd.online, or the LASO Organized Retail Crime Task Force contact, Lt. Derek White at 562-946-7270 or email orctf@lasd.org.

By Trevor

DA’s Office Launches Investigation Into Labor Practices At Local Hotels

October 25, 2023 ·

SANTA MONICA—On Monday, October 23, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced an investigation into labor practices within hotels across Los Angeles County. Recent strikes have been organized by UNITE HERE Local 11 about alleged employment of unhoused refugees, particularly from Venezuela, to replace striking workers, notably in the housekeeping departments, as noted in a press release from the DA’s Office.

“We take these egregious allegations with the utmost seriousness,” said DA George Gascón. “The mistreatment of vulnerable workers and their exploitation will not be tolerated. We will conduct an exhaustive investigation, working closely with UNITE HERE Local 11 and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with labor laws and protect the rights and dignity of all workers.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Ada Briceño said: “Thank you to District Attorney Gascón’s leadership on this issue. We will not stand by while that happens, our union is committed to continue fighting for all workers.”

The investigation is aimed for the hiring practices of hotel employers in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, with a specific focus on the alleged employment of unhoused refugees. The inquiry will examine the circumstances surrounding the transportation of these workers, including claims that some were dispatched from Texas by Governor Greg Abbott, while others sought refuge in Los Angeles after fleeing their home countries because of violence.

Individuals are asked to come forward with any information about labor practices and to share their experiences. Witnesses, hotel employees, and others with knowledge regarding the matter can contact the Consumer Protection Division at (213)257-2540.

The District Attorney attended a news conference with union officials October 23 in Santa Monica to discuss the investigation. State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles was also present. It is alleged that hotels in LAX and Santa Monica have hired migrant workers who are homeless.

During the press conference one of the migrant workers indicated she was unaware of the agency that was hiring her, she did not know how much pay she would receive and she was unaware how long she would work, she didn’t have breaks or permission to eat. She added, she was also doing the work of “three to four people. She added she received a check without any indication of how much she earned per hour.

“This investigation embodies the district attorney’s commitment to transparency, accountability and fairness within the hospitality industry. The office will provide regular updates on significant developments as the investigation progresses,” the LADA’s said in a statement.

By Trevor

Former LAPD Police Officer Paul Razo Charged With Sexual Assault

May 17, 2023 ·

HOLLYWOOD HILLS—The Los Angeles Police Department announced on Monday, May 15 that they were made aware of the criminal case involving former Police Officer Paul Razo, 47, who has been charged with eight counts of lewd acts with a child on May 5, by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division initiated an administrative investigation, which is being conducted simultaneously with the pending criminal case. The administrative investigation will include reviewing his past work history for similar behavior.

“Chief Michel Moore is deeply disturbed by these allegations as they are in direct opposition to the Department’s Core Values and expectations of a Los Angeles Police Officer,” the LAPD indicated in a statement.

Officer Razo has been employed by the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years and was last assigned to Hollywood Area as a training coordinator. He separated from the LAPD in March 2023. He sexually assaulted four boys at his Covina home.

“The allegations of sexual abuse against vulnerable children in this case are deeply disturbing and it’s particularly troubling that the defendant was a law enforcement officer at the time,” said District Attorney Gascón.

Childhood sexual abuse causes immeasurable harm and our hearts go out to the victims who were victimized by someone they trusted. We will do everything in our power to ensure that they have access to the support and resources they need to heal. Sexual abuse of any kind is a heinous crime and we will not tolerate it in our community.”

The defendant is accused of sexually assaulting two of his young male relatives. One of the victims was about 11 or 12 years old when Razo allegedly began the abuse, while the other victim was around 13.

The other two victims were sons of a woman Razo had been dating and they often reportedly spent the night at his home. One of the boys was 9 or 10 years old when Razo is accused of sexually assaulting him, while the victim’s brother was 12 years old.

The alleged crimes occurred during various times between 2006 and 2017.

The LAPD is cooperating with the LADA’s Office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation relating to Razo’s alleged criminal conduct.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau toll-free tip line at (877) 710-5273 or at specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org.

To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or http://lacrimestoppers.org.