"Boosting For Billions"

[This post is originally from 7/10/04; see the next post for an explanation]

After its Kerry-Edwards-Stahl kissyfest, 60 Minutes ran a segment called "Boosting For Billions":

"Boosting" is organized shoplifting, and if you think it's a petty crime, think again.

As Correspondent Steve Kroft first reported in February, approximately $10 billion in merchandise is stolen from stores every year -- and retailers are just beginning to realize that a huge chunk of it is being taken by gangs of highly skilled, well-organized professionals from South America...

There may be as many as a 1,000 of these teams operating every day, and about the only the place they are ever captured is on the videotape in store security cameras...

[A cop] has books containing mug shots, and surveillance photos of 2,500 South American gang members known to be operating in the United States. All of them have been arrested at least once; almost all of them are in the country illegally...

...retailers are trying to push a bill through Congress that would treat shoplifting by these rings as a federal felony with penalties of up to 10 years in jail.

Would it be mean-spirited of The Gap and the rest to suggest that - the horror! - the boosters should just be deported? No new laws necessary, just enforce those we already have.

Would Racial Identity groups hold protests in the streets? After, these gangs sound like they're doing the organized shoplifting Americans won't do.

On the other hand, perhaps these retailers who are losing millions of dollars a year might be willing to help get rid of lax immigration policies.