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HSI partners with local and state law enforcement to combat seasonal theft rings

7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, November 22 2023 Nov 22, 2023 November 22, 2023 6:40 PM November 22, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - As the holiday shopping season ramps up, so does theft. This year, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is launching a multi-state operation to target organized retail theft groups that typically strike during the holidays. 

On Wednesday, the HSI announced 'Operation Sleigh Ride,' an initiative involving local, state and federal agencies to combat theft rings.

A newly-formed Louisiana Retail Crime Task Force includes the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Gonzales Police Department, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and the Baton Rouge Police Department. That task force is partnered with agencies in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama to create this mission. 

For years, organized retail criminals have evaded criminal charges by crossing state lines. Special Agent Adam Parks with the HSI, says with this operation those boundaries are no longer an obstacle. 

"Those whose plans involve theft or other retail crimes should expect to face consequences such as arrest and prosecution," Parks said. 

Rampant retail crime results in price hikes for consumers, and retail companies lose billions of dollars each year due to organized crime. Publicly-funded services such as schools, police and fire departments are also affected through lost sales tax revenue. 

With Operation Sleigh Ride, all proceeds seized from criminals will go to benefit task force partners. 

Shoppers will likely notice an increase in law enforcement presence at shopping hot spots between Black Friday and the end of the year. 

The HSI says they will announce the results of the operation at a later date. 

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