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NYC Mayor Agrees: Shoplifting by organized retail crime a growing problem; Reilly bill would provide teeth needed to hold criminals accountable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2023

ALBANY, NY – Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R,C-Staten Island), at today’s Joint Budget Hearing on Local Government, had an exchange with Mayor Eric Adams about the issue of growing crime in New York City, in particular petit larceny.  Reilly has advocated for a slate of bills that would address the underlying problems related to these crimes.  

“I appreciate Mayor Adams’ candor on the topic of repeated and unchecked shoplifting and the negative impact that it is having on businesses and jobs.  These criminals are going after small-ticket items many times over and, because of bail reform, there is little to do to deter them,” said Reilly, who is also a former Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department.  “These small crimes add up financially for the victims, so why shouldn’t they accumulate for the people committing the crime?  We need to give prosecutors the ability to hold them accountable, and this bill does just that.”    

At the hearing, Adams agreed that petit theft being committed by organized retail crime is a growing problem and had stern words on the subject: “What we can’t do is allow repeated offenders to make a mockery of our criminal justice system and repeatedly.  We are losing chain stores that are closing down; people who have been employed in those stores are losing their jobs and adding to our unemployment.  People who state we are criminalizing the poor [by going] after the poor repeated offenders, they’re wrong.  We’re going after and criminalizing the poor when low-income New Yorkers are unemployed because we are losing the businesses in our city.  We cannot allow repeated offenders to make a mockery of the criminal justice system.”

Reilly has proposed legislation that would allow prosecutors to aggregate the value of theft over an 18-month span, giving the criminal justice system the power needed to hold these bad actors responsible.

A draft of the legislation can be viewed at and video of the exchange can be viewed at

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