While shoplifting has been a problem for decades, it seems like it has gotten much worse in recent years.

I know you have heard it over and over again, but it all seemed to start in 2020.  Starting in March of that year, people had to deal with being laid off, the housing crisis really kicked in, and inflation went through the roof.

So while some people are stealing stuff just to be jerks, others are shoplifting things (like food) out of necessity.

How much does shoplifting cost Maine business owners?

According to Capital One Shopping Research, stores in the United States lost $112 billion to theft in 2022.  If the current trend continues, it is expected that losses will reach $140 billion by 2025.

Here in Maine, retailers lost $373 million in revenue due to theft in 2022.

In addition to theft, return fraud is a huge problem here in Maine.  Return fraud is returning stolen merchandise, or using fake receipts, in order to get cash back.  People committing retail fraud reportedly cost retailers in Maine over $400 million in revenue in 2022.

That means retailers in Maine lose nearly $800 million a year in potential revenue.

MengMenNie / Unsplash
MengMenNie / Unsplash
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What are the most shoplifted items in Maine?

We know that millions of dollars with of stuff is stolen in Maine each year, but what items are most commonly shoplifted?  Thanks to our friends at several Maine law enforcement agencies, we have the answer.

The most shoplifted items in Maine are:

5. Grocery Items -  A former police officer told us that theft of various grocery items was common when he was on the job.  While these thefts were sometimes done by people being jerks, sadly, grocery items often taken because people were legitimately hungry.

4. Tools - Because they are small (easily concealable) and expensive, it does make sense that tools would be one of the most commonly shoplifted items.

Louis Hansel / Unsplash
Louis Hansel / Unsplash
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3. Makeup - Again, just like with tools, cosmetics are small enough to be concealed, and the more prominent brands can get pricey.

2. Cologne & Perfume - Similar to the above, higher-end colognes and perfumes can get super expensive.

Fernando Andrade / Unsplash
Fernando Andrade / Unsplash
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1. Liquor - This one really was not a big surprise to us.  While we did not get confirmation of this from our law enforcement contacts, we have a feeling that booze is one of the most stolen items because it is target of several groups.  Alcohol is being taken by people who are either not old enough to legally purchase it, or who just don't want to pay for it.  Also, unless you are buying a handle, it is fairly easy to sneak out of a store.

Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash
Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash
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Were you surprised by this list?  If you work in retail or own a store, we want to hear from you.  Message us in our branded app.

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