Store man­ager sick of plague of shoplifters

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - NICHOLAS BOYACK

Lisa Toko is wor­ried pro­lific sho­plift­ing will leave her unem­ployed.

Since be­com­ing the man­ager at Price­busters Nae­nae, she has dealt with shoplifters on a daily ba­sis.

Mon­i­tor­ing the CCTV cam­eras she is amazed by what peo­ple steal. ‘‘We had a guy yes­ter­day who stole some $2.75 pegs.’’

Some ap­pear to have a sweet tooth.

‘‘We had a lady who came in and stole all our Cad­bury choco­late. She took some in the morn­ing and came back in the af­ter­noon and took the rest.’’

As well as choco­late, shoplifters have re­cently tar­geted scis­sors and hard­ware tools.

The owner has told her that the losses are hav­ing a ma­jor im­pact. ‘‘He said we will have to make the shop smaller or per­haps even close it.’’

Shoplifters are not her only worry. An ATM in front of the shop at­tracts beg­gars, who she claims in­tim­i­date the el­derly into giv­ing them money.

One el­derly man came into the shop af­ter be­ing asked for money. He was too scared to go back to his car so she rang the po­lice, who said they would come but never did. ‘‘We had to walk him back to his car.’’

Although she un­der­stood that po­lice were stretched, Toko would like them to be more proac­tive and vis­i­ble.

Sergeant Stephen Cross said po­lice re­lied on the pub­lic for in­for­ma­tion and urged any­one with con­cerns to ring the po­lice.

He re­cently ar­rested three shoplifters who had tar­geted Price­busters and said the po­lice would re­spond to com­plaints.

Deal­ing with beg­gars was, how­ever, not straight for­ward. His of­fi­cers knew who the beg­gars were and they of­ten had ac­com­mo­da­tion and re­ceived a ben­e­fit.

It was not il­legal to beg, un­less it was threat­en­ing or un­der false pre­tences. Beg­gars used false sto­ries for sym­pa­thy and he said po­lice warned beg­gars not to mis­lead peo­ple.

‘‘It is an of­fence to ask peo­ple for money un­der false pre­tences.’’

Ul­ti­mately, he said, beg­ging was a so­cial prob­lem and the com­mu­nity needed to find the an­swer.

One dairy owner in the area said shoplifters were his big­gest headache.

‘‘They just come in and grab stuff and run away.’’

The po­lice fol­lowed up on the video but the cul­prits were of­ten young and knew it was hard to do any­thing to stop them.

‘‘The girls are the worst. They use bad lan­guage and get very ag­gres­sive. They are ter­ri­ble.’’

NICHOLAS BOYACK

Lisa Toko is fed up with shoplifters tar­get­ing her Nae­nae store.

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