Online marketplaces enabling smash-and-grab criminals: 'It has put the problem of stolen goods on steroids' 57% of retailers reported a rise in thefts during the coronavirus pandemic

Online marketplaces have created a black market business model for thieves, driving the surge in smash-and-grab robberies that have been on the rise throughout the United States in recent months and years, retail industry leaders told FOX Business.

Ben Dugan, the head of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, estimates that retail theft is now responsible for $68 billion in annual losses, a number that has gone up during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It really is a growing problem and COVID was kind of the tipping point," Dugan told FOX Business.

"During COVID, everybody is shopping online. So it created this huge new demand, or increase in demand, which is fueling all this additional crime to get that product available for resale online."

More than half of retailers nationwide, 57%, said that there has been more organized retail crime since the pandemic began, according to a survey conducted last year by the National Retail Federation.


The forces that have led to the increase in thefts were put in place about a decade ago, according to Jason Brewer, the executive vice president at Retail Industry Leaders Association.

"The difference between today and 10 years ago is the rise in online marketplaces and the ease of anonymously selling stolen products," Brewer told FOX Business.

"It has put the problem of stolen goods on steroids and it has created, unfortunately, a business model for some criminals to steal and very quickly and anonymously resell stolen products."

The surge in retail theft has prompted some law enforcement agencies to convene task forces and operations targeting the criminals...

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