Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) announced that the New York State Senate recently passed legislation he sponsored to make it harder for professional shoplifters and organized retail theft gangs to resell stolen goods through itinerant vendors at flea markets.
“Professional shoplifters covet products such as batteries, cosmetics, baby food, and over the counter drugs because they are small, easily concealed, and relatively expensive items. One of the best ways to stop professional shoplifters is by making it harder for them to resell stolen items through itinerant vendors. That’s exactly what this legislation will do,” said Senator Fuschillo.
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation (S525) expands the current law, which prohibits itinerant vendors from selling baby food and over the counter drugs, to include batteries and cosmetics. These items are prime targets of organized retail theft gangs which steal large quantities of them and resell them through itinerant vendors, like those at flea markets.
Additionally, the legislation aims to protect consumers from the health hazards caused by spoiled products. Many flea markets are held outdoors, where products are exposed to sunlight and heat. Baby food, over the counter medications, and cosmetics are perishable items which could spoil under these conditions and create serious health problems for consumers who ingest them or put them on their skin.
Vendors who violate the law would face a fine of up to $100 per item offered for sale or sold.
The Food Industry Alliance of New York State noted in a memo supporting the bill that organized retail theft cost retailers over $30 billion in annual losses. These costs ultimately get passed down to consumers in the form of higher prices.
The legislation has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.