by Stephen Dafoe
A purse full of thread or a bottle of alcohol off the shelf and out the door has caused frustration for a couple of local businesses that have been hit by shoplifters recently. While shoplifting is nothing new, store owners we spoke with say shoplifters are becoming more brazen.
Cindy Brown, the owner of Crazylady’s Market, said she has had a few incidences of shoplifting despite having eight surveillance cameras in her shop.
Recently Brown and her husband confronted a customer who they say had placed several spools of thread in her purse before coming to the counter to buy one small item. When faced with the other things, the shopkeepers say the customer claimed not to know what it was. The couple say they were able to retrieve the stolen merchandise without incident; however, they have not always been so lucky.
Brown advises fellow business owners always to be aware of who is in their store and pay attention to them.
“If you were going to steal a bottle of pickles, I can get that,” Brown said, noting she does not condone any shoplifting. “But – thread that you proclaim you didn’t even know what it was? Give me a break.”
Crazylady’s Market doesn’t just carry their own product. They sell a wide selection of locally made craft products. As such, Brown wants would-be thieves to know the impact theft has on local businesses.
Concerning craft vendors, Brown explained that there is only a small margin in the time-heavy products she sells for her vendors.
“When you steal from us, you are stealing being able to put food on our tables,” Brown said. “We might make two bucks on a product.
Brown remains baffled at the brazen nature of shoplifters, given her store has multiple security cameras throughout.
Corporal Jeff Sutherland with the Morinville RCMP Detachment suggests business owners should be aware of their high-risk items and have them in an area that they can be monitored.
Sutherland also recommends strategically placing security cameras, ensuring they cover off items that most often get targeted, and so they catch both the entrance and exits of the building.
“Train your employees to be vigilant and watch for suspicious persons,” Sutherland said. “We do not encourage members of the public to confront possible shoplifters, instead contact your RCMP detachment to assist.”
Sutherland said the collaboration between the RCMP and business owners is a great example of the role the public can play in helping the police ensure safe communities.
Publisher’s note: A second retailer who reached out to us about shoplifting dd not reply to a request for commentary by our deadline.