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Retailers Advocating for Legal Prevention of Online Re-Sale of Stolen Goods

WASHINGTON DC (CBS SF) -- All of the goods stolen during the organized retail smash-and-grab robberies happening in the Bay Area lately aren't just disappearing into thin air; they're getting re-sold for pure profit. Now retailers are fighting back in the halls of Congress.

But where in particular does that merchandise end up being sold after it's been stolen?

KPIX5 has tracked some to Bay Area flea markets and swap meets, but in recent years the vast majority goes to online marketplaces like Facebook and Amazon.

"They're able to actually establish a business by going online and hiding behind fake screen names and bogus accounts and that is why and how they are able to sell and offload this much of stolen goods," said Michael Hanson of the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

As it stands now, those marketplaces aren't required to verify and save information on sellers or share it with law enforcement if it's connected to organized retail crime.

Retailers are taking their fight not only to the streets, but Capitol Hill and are trying to get legislation called the INFORM consumers act pushed through Congress.

"What inform does is will guarantee that these high volume sellers - these criminals that are stealing all of these goods - they'll have to be verified by the marketplaces and the seller will have to give consumer they information," said Hanson.

Some marketplaces have signed on in support of the proposed bill, which has bi-partisan support.

"Bay and Etsy have joined the fight in congress with the retailers to support the informed consumers act," Hanson told KPIX5. Others, have not.

"Facebook has been very quiet and has refused to come out either way on this legislation, but they certainly aren't up on Capitol Hill pushing for this regulation."

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