Two New Jersey State Senators craft legislation that goes after flash mob shoplifters
As part of a long-running effort by New Jersey GOP lawmakers to squash flash mobs, out of control parties, and looting, among other criminal acts, two State Senators have crafted legislation that goes after flash mob shoplifters.
The plan to introduce the bill was announced by the State Senate Republican Office on behalf of Senators Jon Bramnick and Anthony Bucco.
Their legislation would make gang shoplifting a third-degree crime with a consequence of at least a year in jail and everyone involved would not be eligible for parole.
“We’re seeing more and more instances where flash mobs of shoplifters have run through clothing stores, pharmacies, and even a 7-Eleven recently where they smash and grab anything that isn’t bolted down,” Senator Bramnick (R-21) said in a written statement. “If people want to do these crimes, they need to get the message that their next flash mob will be in jail.”
Senators Bramnick and Bucco said they were inspired to pen this legislation after watching gang shoplifting taking place in California "as a result of the state’s decision not to prosecute most shoplifting crimes in recent years", and other places across the country where groups of people/looters are heading into stores collectively and filling duffel bags with whatever they feel like stealing which they said is also sparking "copycat crimes in a growing number of places across the country, including New York City," thanks to videos being shared.
“We’re seeing a combination of organized criminal gangs and flash mobs planned on social media that have the ability to destroy a business in a matter of minutes,” Senator Bucco (R-25) said in a written statement. “These crimes have the greatest impact on struggling urban communities that already have a hard time attracting and keeping grocery stores and pharmacies to serve their residents. With videos of these incidents widespread on TikTok and social media, New Jersey won’t be safe unless people know they’ll face real jail time for participating.”
Previous mob incidents at Jersey Shore and New Jersey and restrictions on police by the Murphy administration has been cited in the past as a reason for action.
Senator Bucco has been among those who have been vocal in the past on restrictions on police leading to inept behavior by groups across the state with regard to marijuana or taking away immunity from police.
"When Governor Murphy’s new laws threaten police with serious criminal charges and jail time if they make a single misstep when dealing with a minor, it’s no wonder officers are saying they feel handcuffed and can do little more but watch the mayhem," Senator Bucco said in July of 2021.
Senator Bucco went so far as to say -- in July of 2021 -- that the restrictions and rule changes that came down between 2020 and 2021 "causing mayhem up and down the Jersey Shore this summer".
“From Monmouth to Cape May, we’ve seen what happens when you strip police of the power to hold teenagers and young adults accountable for breaking the law,” Senator Bucco said in a statement this month. “Kids have no fear of smoking pot, drinking, or breaking other laws in public when they know police can do little more than issue toothless warnings. It’s only going to get worse as more kids realize that Governor Murphy has given them a free pass until they turn 21. When Governor Murphy’s new laws threaten police with serious criminal charges and jail time if they make a single misstep when dealing with a minor, it’s no wonder officers are saying they feel handcuffed and can do little more but watch the mayhem. Well, there’s something the Legislature can and must do to remedy this."