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Minnesota Legislature

New Law: Adding felony theft to racketeering

Published (7/15/2011)
By Mike Cook
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Another tool has been added for law enforcement and prosecutors to go after organized retail crime leaders and those performing the thefts.

Effective Aug. 1, 2011, felony theft will be added the list of eligible offenses for which an offender can be charged with racketeering.

Rep. Kelby Woodard (R-Belle Plaine), who sponsors the law with Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), said to be affected by this change a person would have to be part of an organized crime group and have three or more criminal acts within 10 years at the felony level. Felony theft is defined as stealing something valued at more than $1,000.

The maximum penalty for racketeering is a 20-year felony.

Supporters emphasized the law is not about going after a teenager that steals a compact disc, rather it is about going after teams of sophisticated, well-connected criminals with specific roles who steal high-end products with the intent of reselling them.

In Minnesota, it is estimated that approximately $33 million is lost in annual sales tax revenue due to organized retail crime.

HF1001/ SF680*/CH81

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