The Kennebec Journal is reporting an incident of a woman who allegedly attempted to defraud a charity by claiming that her husband had died and she needed a Christmas presents for her four children. Lisa Carbonneau approached the Maine Children's Home earlier this month and pleaded for help providing Christmas gifts to her four children. She stated that her husband had died and her house was involved in a serious fire. One employee at The Home was suspicious of Carbonneau. They looked at her Facebook account and saw that, not only was her husband alive, she did not have 4 children. Further research found that her house was involved in a fire, but that was back in 2010. When Carbonneau returned to pick up the donations that she was promised, she was promptly arrested by police. The total amount estimated for the cost of the presents was about $90 to $100.
Carbonneau was found to have a long police record. She was charged with theft by deception but also faces charges for violating the conditions of her release from theft cases in Lewiston and Portland. She also has prior convictions for theft, burglary, negotiating a worthless instrument, drug theft, misuse of credit identification and disorderly conduct.
The article goes on to state that every year people work to scam charities like this. At the holidays people are generous and provide local charities and organizations with donations of money and gifts. Charities like the Maine Children's Home work to make sure that people they are providing services to are not also receiving items from other charities taking advantage of the system. Police are also dealing with an increase in shoplifting cases sighting one incident of a man walking out of a Kmart with at least $450 worth of toys in a shopping cart.
Police say security at a Kmart in Waterville stopped a man in the parking lot with a shopping cart full of $450 worth of toys. When they questioned him about a receipt, he ran off leaving the cart and the toys behind. Police are still looking for this suspect.
Most retail stores report noticing an increase in shoplifting around the holidays. The Kennebec Journal reports that:
Last year, during the holiday season, roughly $8.9 billion of consumer items were stolen across the country, a 4 percent increase from the previous year, according Global Retail Theft Barometer's yearly report, a study done by the Centre for Retail Research.
Shoplifting is a crime that affects everyone. The more items stolen, the more retailers will raise prices. In Maine, the State Police report that there was a 14% increase in shoplifting in 2012 from the previous year. This means to expect retailers to increase security and perhaps even raise prices. What is sad about these numbers is that they increase during the holidays suggesting that some families are reduced to stealing in order to provide a Merry Christmas for their children.
This can also mean that inexperienced and overzealous security guards are likely to make mistakes. The Portland Press Herald reports reports accusations of racial profiling and false accusations that have been occurring at the New York flagship Macy's. Shoppers' rights should never be violated no matter how high shoplifting rates are.