RAM helps pass Maine's first organized retail crime law
Organized retail crime is a $147 million problem in Maine and it is estimated to be a $40 billion problem nationally.
Unfortunately, Maine’s laws measured retail theft simply by the dollar value of what was stolen with no regard for the methods or changing technology used by these groups. At the time, Maine’s laws made retail theft a simple misdemeanor if the dollar value was $1,000 or less. It only reached a felony when an individual stole $1,000 or more.
“These groups use a variety of methods to steal. Let me be clear; this is not shoplifting. These are organized groups stealing methodically with intent to resell the items for quick cash. Maine needs to address this problem,” stated Curtis Picard, Executive Director of the Retail Association of Maine.
Representatives from JC Penney, Rite Aid, Reny’s, Mardens, Kittery Trading Post, Lowe’s, Cabela’s, Hannaford, Auto Zone, the Retail Association of Maine, the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association, the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and the South Portland Police Department all testified in support of LD 310.
Maine lawmakers unanimously passed LD 310, Maine’s first ORC bill co-sponsored by Senator Amy Volk of Cumberland. It took effect on October 15, 2015.
LD 310 will provide an additional tool in the belt of loss prevention, law enforcement and prosecutors to combat the ORC problem. It will enable Maine to more easily prosecute ORC groups that work in concert and hit multiple stores at once.
LD 310 will now do two things: If two or more people are acting in concert with the intent to resell, they could be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If they use fake receipts or commit return fraud, they can be charged with a felony.