Warehouse takes tough line on shoplifting

23:30, May 31 2012

The Warehouse has security cameras monitoring every nook and cranny, but that does not stop it from being one of the most targeted shops in Blenheim.

Branch manager Ian Daubney said about five or six people were caught trying to steal something every week, and about 10 people were deterred daily from stealing while they were still in the shop.

''Sometimes they don't steal straight away; they stash. They'll come back later on when they think no-one is looking,'' said Mr Daubney.

The store has a zero tolerance policy, regardless of whether the price of the stolen item is $2 or $200.

''We'll push it to the limit to get the maximum fine,'' he said.

A district court judge said last month The Warehouse in Blenheim was being unfairly targeted by shoplifters.


Judge Richard Russell sentenced three shoplifters on May 16 who had taken items from The Warehouse, and said the thefts had to stop.

On Monday this week, 32-year-old Shontai Lawson appeared before Judge Tony Zohrab in the same court for leaving the Warehouse with a trolley full of goods worth more than $205. She was was sentenced to three months' prison.

Blenheim store security head Anaru Norton said the size of the store made people think they could get away with stealing.

Every person caught shoplifting is served with a civil recovery notice, where they have to pay an automatic fine of $275, which is separate from the criminal charges against them.

''A classic example of that is when we caught a guy with a gas cylinder worth $2.50, and it cost him $275,'' -Mr Daubney said.

Mr Norton said he often dealt with children aged 7 to 15 whose parents were waiting for them outside.

''They steal it and their parents are ready to go in the car,'' he said.

Mr Daubney said trolley pushers - people who filled - a trolley and left without paying  were not that common, but they were a reality.

In court on Monday, police prosecutor Sergeant Graham Single explained how Shontai Lawson had stolen the trolley full of goods.

She and a co-accused had gone to store where Lawson filled a trolley with furniture. She paid for it and took the receipt.

The pair then went back to the store, filled a trolley with identical items and left without paying.

They later returned with the second trolley and asked for a refund.

Mr Daubney said a trolley pusher was once caught with $1063 of goods.

Even if someone thought they had got away with a theft, they could still be caught anywhere in New Zealand, he said.

In one instance, a man filled a box with seven cellphones valued at $800 each, and managed to leave the shop without being caught.

''He reappeared in a Warehouse in Nelson, and we nabbed him,'' he said.



The Marlborough Express