Committee tables shoplifting bill that would protect business owners

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Shoplifting is on the rise, and that’s why one local legislator was hoping to add a layer of protection for business owners. 

Republican state Rep. Bill Rehm’s bill was tabled in the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee Tuesday. Rehm says he sponsored House Bill 57 because shop owners he has talked to say they are hesitant to stop shoplifters for two reasons: they worry that they’ll be armed, and they are worried they will get sued for detaining someone.

People may remember a video that showed an employee wrestling a shoplifter to the ground after he tried to run out with a guitar.

“This is the example of what shop owners need protection from,” said Rehm. 

HB 57 would allow business owners and employees to use reasonable force to detain shoplifters, and give them immunity against any lawsuits that would come from these instances.

Rehm says retail crime has become such a common problem, that it’s time for the Legislature to address it.

“My constituents are very upset about the amount of shoplifting, I mean if you look on Next Door you have an example every other day of shoplifting and the outrage from the citizens that nothing is being done,” said Rehm. 

Members of the committee argued that New Mexico laws already protect business owners. 

“We already have protections on the books I think this bill is repetitive and unnecessary,” said state Rep. Andrea Romero.   

After some discussion, the bill was tabled and no further action will be taken on it. 

Track HB 57 during the legislative session.