Masterton shop owners who were targeted by an alleged serial shoplifter have confronted the woman, asking for their goods back.
A woman went on an alleged shoplifting spree in three Queen St stores last Thursday, just after 10am and allegedly took her primary-school-aged daughter with her to help.
Two owners of targeted stores recognised the woman and went separately to her house to try and get their items returned to them.
The owner of The Sanctuary posted the woman’s photo, taken on her shop security camera, on the shop’s Facebook page asking if anyone knew her.
The woman is accused of taking three books from Paper Plus, two pieces of jewellery and a scarf from The Sanctuary, and clothes worth at least $1000 off the rack from Milady Fashion.
A statement and video footage of the woman admitting she had taken clothes and books was shown to police.
Senior Constable Peter Cunningham at the Masterton Police Station took down the statements and is investigating.
Milady owner Deb Graham-Karaitiana realised the shoplifter had targeted her store after being alerted by the manager of The Sanctuary.
Graham-Karaitiana drove to find the woman.
The shoplifter had earlier walked into the clothing and accessory store and very loudly announced that she recognised Graham-Karaitiana because she had been given a lift from Carterton by her a while ago.
Graham-Karaitiana then remembered and continued to organise outfits but noticed the woman had gone into a changing room while her daughter sat on a stool.
“I went over to her to see if she needed help and she said no, and then a bit later came out, said she didn’t need anything and left the shop,” Graham-Karaitiana said.
“I thought then, surely she wouldn’t steal from me, but I noticed she had a full shoulder bag.”
Graham-Karaitiana remembered where she lived and went around and asked for the clothes back.
“She said sorry and then said the items had gone because she had sold them already.”
One pair of floral summer trousers was returned.
Graham-Karaitiana said to the woman, “You have a daughter, what about her? You should take a good look at yourself”.
“I’m gutted, and I feel hurt because this was someone I had helped, yet she stole from me.”
Paper Plus owner Warwick Delmonte also later visited the alleged thief.
“Occasionally we have to take the initiative,” Delmonte said.
“We don’t want to act like victims. We will spread the word, and we will deter these people.”