DeSantis wants to increase penalties for retail theft in Florida

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on Florida legislators to deter retail theft by increasing penalties. DeSantis made the announcement during a news conference at the Cape Coral Police Department on Tuesday morning.

The governor said right now, thieves will only get a felony if they commit five different retail thefts within 45 days.

DeSantis said he wants to have severe enough penalties to deter people from retail theft in the future. “You should not have to get five thefts to make a felony,” he said.

DeSantis also said legislators are also looking to create a criminal offense called aggregated retail theft. It would be a first-degree felony.

According to the governor, those who use a gun to commit retail theft or anyone who already has two or more convictions for retail theft could face an aggregated retail theft charge.

The governor is also hoping to deter porch pirates by increasing penalties for people who steal packages off doorsteps.

“If you commit a crime in Florida, you are going to be held accountable,” DeSantis said. “We will not tolerate retail crime, porch pirates and the lawlessness that they allow in California and New York.”

DeSantis said he hopes Florida legislators will be able to increase the penalties for retail theft during this legislative session.

“These penalties are going to be impactful and effective,” DeSantis said.

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