Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Curtis Picard

Retail, Legislative, Organized Retail Crime, FMI

Key image for: $150,237,345

Can anyone guess what the number above means?

The number in the title of this post is the amount of merchandise stolen from Maine retailers last year. That's according to the latest report from the Food Marketing Institute, one of our national partners.

How about this number: $7,551,867?

That's the amount of sales tax revenue Maine lost out on because of the theft. A good portion of the items stolen are resold on the internet generating approximately 60-70% of the face value - about $100,000,000, give or take.  As they say, a million here, a million there, pretty soon it add up to real money.

This is not new information. This number has been tracking pretty consistently for a number of years. What is frustrating, however, is seeing bills introduced like LD 366 which will increase the felony threshold for theft.

Right now, a theft of $1,000 or more is a felony. Ideally, that amount would be even lower, but LD 366 would increase that amount to $5,000. We already know groups come in to Maine and steal $990 worth of merchandise to specifically avoid the felony arrest. A haul of $4,990 would be a pretty good day for the organized gangs that come to Maine.

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