AG-led Organized Retail Crime unit files its first criminal prosecution

Nov 30, 2023
Written by WR Communications


In a landmark move, Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently announced the first criminal prosecution by the newly established Organized Retail Crime Unit. Shawn Nanez, a 33-year-old Bremerton resident, was charged in King County Superior Court with first-degree organized retail theft, a felony. This case marks a significant step in combating organized retail crime in the state.

This prosecution follows extensive lobbying and advocacy by Washington Retail for the creation of an Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Task Force. Renee Sunde, President and CEO of Washington Retail, played a pivotal role in this effort, traveling across the state to speak about ORC to hundreds of business owners. This grassroots campaign highlighted the rising impact of retail theft on businesses, ultimately contributing to the formation of the Task Force.

Nanez is accused of committing 11 thefts from Target stores in King and Kitsap counties over two months in 2022, amounting to over $50,000 in stolen merchandise. Security footage showed him breaking into cases to steal electronics and walking out without payment. Post-arrest, Nanez admitted to selling the stolen goods for cash.

The Organized Retail Crime Unit is also prosecuting Nanez in Kitsap County for similar charges. The thefts in King County are valued at over $30,000, while those in Kitsap County exceed $24,000. If convicted, Nanez faces a prison sentence of up to five years and eight months, along with a potential $20,000 fine per count. The Attorney General’s Office is seeking full restitution for the thefts.

Further bolstering the unit’s capability, Ferguson appointed Assistant Attorney General Kent Liu as its leader. Liu, a seasoned criminal prosecutor with over 15 years at the Attorney General’s Office, will steer the unit’s direction and operations. Ferguson emphasized the urgency of addressing organized retail crime, stating, “Our new unit is hitting the ground running and pursuing cases as we hire our team.” This proactive approach aims to bring accountability and curb a problem significantly impacting retailers and the community.


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