Assembly approves bill allowing warrantless arrests for shoplifting

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO — Members of the state Assembly have advanced a bill that allows warrantless arrests for shoplifting throughout the state.

Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, and co-authors Assemblymen Carlos Villapudua, Mike Gipson, and Juan Alanis are sponsors of Assembly Bill 1990, The Secured Transactions and Organized TheftPrevention Act.

The legislation is a direct response to the increase of organized retail theft and loss of jobs and directly answers Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for the Legislature to develop a framework that intensifies the crackdown on property crimes.

“I firmly believe in the principles of justice, public safety and economic stability that are foundational to the prosperity of California,” said Gipson, a Democrat from Gardena. “That is why I am a proud principle co-author of AB 1990. … The escalating trend of retail theft across our great state, particularly in urban areas such as my district, not only undermines the safety of our communities but also poses a significant threat to our economy. The STOP Act is a crucial step forward in our fight against organized retail crime. Together, we can protect our communities, support our local businesses, and ensure California remains a place where safety and prosperity go hand in hand.”

A recent report showed statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department demonstrate there was an 81% increase from 2022 in shoplifting reports from 6,585 to 11,945. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office recently reported having filed more than 200 cases of organized retail theft in 2023, indicating a significant surge in retail crime rates. 

Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor, D-Inglewood said the bill was dangerous with the potential overreach and possible infringement on civil liberties, particularly due process.

“Disappointing News: AB 1990 has just passed the Assembly floor, granting police the authority to stop and detain individuals without a warrant,” McKinnor wrote on social media. “This bill is now headed to the Senate floor. We must keep a close watch on this development.”

McKinnor voted against the measure.

She said she supports addressing organized retail theft while ensuring civil liberties are upheld in a counter piece of legislation to address the growing issue.

“Now is the time to continue our work to make smart changes to the criminal justice system,” she said. “Smart changes like my AB 2833, which will ensure that any information shared in the preparation for, in the course of, or pursuant to the restorative justice process is confidential and inadmissible in any future court proceeding. Restorative justice is an essential pillar of making our criminal justice system more fair, just and equitable.”

AB 1990 now heads to the State Senate for approval.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at