Wagga retailers turn to social media to combat shoplifting scourge

DISGRUNTLED Wagga retailers are continuing to rely on social media in a last ditch effort to combat the city’s “rampant” shoplifting scourge. 

It comes after The Daily Advertiser last month reported managers were rallying online to take the fight to thieves. 

Ghanda Clothing manager Joel Hall vented his frustrations online after a group of thieves fled his store carrying several bags of stolen clothes and hats on Monday.   

Mr Hall had a number of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed –  but they were not enough to deter the brazen hoodlums. 

He shared the footage to Facebook on Tuesday, in a desperate bid to identity the alleged criminals and discourage other would-be shoplifters.

“When asked to check their bags they refused and fled the store,” he said online.

“It's disgusting that people think this is okay.”

Mr Hall also suspects one of the three alleged shoplifters was the mother of her accomplices.

“If this is true then she is killing it at being a parent and role model.”

It comes after The Daily Advertiser reported that shop owners were resorting to “espionage” to fight against the thievery. 

A person was charged with shoplifting every day in Wagga from September 2015 to 2016 with 365 recorded offences, according to Bureau of Crime stats. 

Statewide there were 8061 shoplifting offences recorded throughout the year, up 19 per cent.

Police have spearheaded a number of successful shoplifting crackdowns throughout the year in an attempt to quell the growing statistics. 

Their latest operation, in October, nabbed 13 offenders – six males and seven females – across a single weekend. 

“Police will continue to run such operations so as to continue to target the theft of property from retail outlets,” Detective Sergeant  Phil Malligan said. 

But rather than posting CCTV footage to social media, Turvey Tops Foodworks manager Tyler Richardson has a different strategy he employs. 

Mr Richardson plasters images of alleged thieves in his front window.

“We get a fair few names from shoppers who recognise people in the photos, which we pass on to police,” Mr Richardson said.  “We have been posting the pictures for two years and in that time shoplifting has come down.”

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