'Do the Crime, Do the Time': DeSantis' Shoplifting Crackdown

'Do the Crime, Do the Time': DeSantis' Shoplifting Crackdown

DeSantis signed a retail theft bill into law, instituting felony punishments for larcenists

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 9, 2024

STUART, FL—Tuesday Morning Governor Ron DeSantis signed a retail theft bill into law, instituting a severe crackdown on the Sunshine State's high levels of shoplifting and porch piracy.

"We're a law and order state. If you do the crime, you do the time," DeSantis said. He hosted his press conference at a Walgreens in Stuart, telling Floridians they will no longer have to deal with a "Fort Knox" style situation to simply buy toothpaste.

"It’s all under lock and key for basic items. You gotta get a clerk to come and open it and all this stuff just to do basic shopping. That is not something that is good for quality of life,” he said.

HB 549 makes it a third-degree felony to work with five or more people to commit retail theft. Using social media to plan these thefts would be a second-degree felony, and committing a second offense lands offenders a first-degree felony.

The bill follows Florida's 2022 loss of $5.421 billion in revenue to theft, meaning retailers lost $302.05 in sales per capita. In 2023, destination city Miami ranked in the top 10 areas for the highest rates of retail theft.

The new law also targets porch pirates, or people who steal packages off of other people's doormats. Stealing someone's item worth less than $40 is now a first-degree misdemeanor, and doing it again or stealing property worth over $40 becomes a third-degree felony—up to five years in prison.

"Florida has set the blueprint for other states," Attorney General Ashley Moody said Tuesday, lauding the effort to be "proactive" in fighting crime.

DeSantis has maintained that Florida is the "law and order state", stressing that this is not the first time he's signed off on severe penalties for lawbreaking. He passed a comprehensive "Law and Order" legislation package last year, targeting drug-related crimes, human smuggling, child rapists, and sex criminals, and easing the process to sentence offenders to death.

Related Posts

Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Florida is reading.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


More Related Posts