BIDDEFORD — The former owner of a Kittery redemption center is appealing his conviction for stealing more than $10,000 from beverage manufacturers and distributors.

Thomas Woodard was convicted last year on a count of theft by deception for stealing refunds and handling fees for beverage containers that were purchased in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Woodard, who owned Green Bee Redemption with his wife, Megan, was sentenced to 21 days in jail.
His sentence is on hold during the appeals process. Megan Woodard was acquitted in the case.

During a four-day trial last year, the prosecution argued that the Woodards set up satellite redemption centers in a sports complex in Derry, N.H., and at an employee’s home in Gloucester, Mass. The result was that more than 100,000 containers from those states were redeemed at Green Bee between 2008 and 2010, according to the prosecution.

Woodard’s lawyer argued before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday that a jury could not have found Woodard guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, given the evidence that was presented.
Arguments by Richard Grundy, Woodard’s lawyer, included there was no direct evidence that the containers were not redeemable in Maine, that certain evidence should have been excluded and that the prosecutor committed misconduct when she told the jury to “send a message” with their verdict.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said Grundy was cherry-picking information to argue his position. She noted that a jury could infer that Woodard knew the bottles weren’t from Maine because of the truckloads brought in from outside the state as well as the documented cellphone contacts with the supplier and the payments made to him.

She said her “send a message” statement was not inflammatory, as Grundy argued, and noted that the trial lawyers did not object at the time.

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