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Published on June 08, 2024
Bremerton Man Sentenced to Prison for Organized Retail Theft in Washington State's First Conviction by New Crime UnitSource: Unsplash/Tingey Injury Law Firm

Washington State's vigorous approach to curtail the surge of organized retail crime has led to a notable conviction, as Shawn Nanez, a 33-year-old Bremerton man, faces years behind bars. The sentence, handed down by the Kitsap County Superior Court, marks the first successful prosecution by the Organized Retail Crime Unit, an initiative introduced by Attorney General Bob Ferguson. According to the Attorney General's Office, Nanez pled guilty to multiple felony counts including first-degree organized retail theft, directly tied to numerous thefts totaling over $145,000 in merchandise from Target stores across several counties.

Nanez's stiff penalty includes two and a half years in prison accompanied by an equivalent time in community custody under the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA). This program mandates that Nanez receive substance abuse treatment upon his release. The Department of Corrections reserves the right to revoke Nanez's DOSA should he choose to violate the law again or any of the terms of his sentencing, which would result in him fully serving the remainder of his sentence in prison.

The advent of the Organized Retail Crime Unit is a testament to the state's acknowledgment of the scaled and coordinated nature of retail crime. Nanez's modus operandi, as detailed by video footage, included the brazen act of breaking into secured cases to filch electronics and other high-priced items using specialized tools. Despite the repeat offenses at various store locations, it was the coordinated response of local prosecuting attorneys and the Attorney General’s Office that ultimately brought Nanez to justice.

Attorney General Ferguson, in a statement obtained by the Attorney General's Office, indicated that "This conviction is the first of many in our effort to combat a significant and growing problem in Washington." These words echo a commitment to uphold the rule of law and secure a business environment free from the threats posed by sophisticated crime rings. The Organized Retail Crime Unit, envisioned as a central body to offer assistance across jurisdictions, signifies a larger strategy to deploy necessary resources effectively and efficiently wherever they're most needed.

In conjunction with the prosecution of Nanez, another case is in the pipeline, featuring Shellonda K. Daniel, who is accused of felony first-degree organized retail theft in connection to a spate of thefts at Ulta stores across multiple counties. Ferguson’s Organized Retail Crime Unit has shown that it is not just a symbolic gesture but a functioning arm of the law that has begun to seriously address the complex challenges of organized retail crime.