SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — To help crack down on the rise of “smash-and-grabs,” Illinois legislators crafted a new bill that would give prosecutors more resources to charge suspects.
Senator Glowiak Hilton (D-24th District) announced the bipartisan effort on Tuesday.
“House Bill 1091 codifies a legal definition for organized retail crime and provides the prosecution with additional resources to charge perpetrators,” Hilton said.
Hilton said the bill requires prosecutors to prove something was stolen and that reselling the item was the intent. The proposal also intends to mend current legal loopholes.
“This as it is envisioned today, would allow any jurisdiction where an element of the crime occurs to take up prosecution of the entire crime” President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Rob Karr said. “Today, (suspects) take advantage of that confusion and the lack of communication that often occurs between various jurisdictions.”
The bipartisan effort would allocate annual funds to the attorney general’s office for more investigators and lawyers dedicated to organized retail thefts.
The ideas sound good to Bentley Gold Coast co-owner Joe Abbas, who had several luxury watches stolen from his dealership in December.
“Any resources that we can put, whether it’s personnel or a monitoring resource that could help us,” Abbas said. “It’s just going to be our last chance. I think if we don’t get this right, it’s going to be a big problem for the city and we may not be able to recover.”
Robb Karr said he hopes the proposed bill is passed and signed by Gov. Pritzker by April 8.