Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a new bill into law Friday that raises penalties on retail theft statewide, as those crimes increase across the U.S.
The INFORM Act, or HB 1091, would allow the Illinois attorney general to charge those who knowingly violate organized retail theft valued at $300 or more with a Class 3 felony offense, according to a release.
People who engage in retail theft from one or more establishment could be found guilty of a Class 2 felony under the new law.
“This is how we protect store workers and customers, prevent militarized storefronts and empty commercial corridors, and across the board, make communities safer for all who call them home. And I look forward to furthering our work to shape a public safety system that works for all of us, including ensuring the victim rights advanced today are carried throughout our justice system," Pritzker said in a statement.
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The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the INFORM Act strengthens the ability of his office and other law enforcement agencies to bring criminals participating in organized retail crime to justice.
“Serious criminal activities, including gunrunning and drug trafficking, have been funded using proceeds from the sales of merchandise stolen through organized retail crimes. This is not just a criminal problem – this hurts consumers as well. That is why we need online marketplaces to do their part. Online marketplaces must use their intellectual resources to make sure criminals are not selling stolen products on their sites, which will help us protect consumers,” Raoul said.
Aside from the INFORM Act, Illinois' Reimagine Public Safety program is providing $250 million to "disrupt cycles of violence in neighborhoods where it’s needed most through community-based solutions," a release noted.