Even before Virginia lawmakers passed a tough new law against organized retail crime earlier this year, Bradley Haywood, a public defender in Arlington, Virginia, challenged the rationale. The idea that retailers in the state had lost billions to organized theft was a myth manufactured by retailers themselves, Haywood argued.

Now the outspoken lawyer has fresh ammunition for his effort to repeal the law: The National Retail Federation earlier this month retracted its April assertion that nearly half of the $94.5 billion in merchandise that went missing in 2021 was stolen by retail rings. The true percentage was only a small fraction of that amount, about 5%.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Virginia is one of at least 14 states that enacted retail theft laws over the past two years in response to reports of highly organized theft rings invading stores across the country and fleeing, collectively, with billions of dollars in merchandise. Social media po

 » Read More