The latest survey from The National Retail Federation shows 2 out of 3 stores nationwide are seeing an increase in organized retail thefts, where a group of thieves or shoplifters invade a store for coordinated stealing.

The report found that 97% of retailers have been victimized by organized retail crime in the past year and 68% had seen an increase in such activity.

"They'll come into the retail store in bulk with a list of items, usually non-durable goods, something they can steal and then sell quickly to convert it to cash, hit a location, grab everything they can," NRF Vice President for Loss Prevention Bob Moraca said.

The survey finds the overall National average from gangs of shoplifters is just over $700,000 per $1 billion in sales.

"The trend is that this type of theft is moving up and for a number of reasons. It's very profitable. They can sell these items quickly and convert them to cash," Moraca said.

In New Jersey, theft of up to $200 is a misdemeanor (disorderly persons) crime. The defendant faces a maximum six-month jail term and up to a $1,000 fine. A stolen item worth $200 to $500 is a fourth-degree felony with up to a 1 1/2-year prison term plus a $10,000 fine.

The National Retail Federation survey also finds that 73% of retailers said they have also been victims of "cargo theft." This occurs when merchandise or goods is en route to a retailer from distribution centers. Street slang for this type of theft is something that "fell off the truck."

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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