Fed up with shoplifters raiding his store and getting away with it, one business owner is turning to the court of public opinion to get justice.
Prentice Panton has begun posting CCTV images of shoplifters on his store’s Facebook page in an effort to shame the criminals.
The owner of Reflections clothing store in George Town posted CCTV footage on YouTube and images on Facebook of three girls stealing clothes from his store.
The tactic appears to be working.
The footage was viewed more than 2,500 times and several people called him with the girls’ names.
One of the shoplifters even contacted the store and offered to pay for the clothes if the images were taken down, according to Mr. Panton. He says he declined the offer. “They are more worried about being embarrassed on Facebook than being caught by the police.
“We are going to post these videos on Facebook, on Instagram on YouTube. It is starting to work, so I don’t care what anyone says about it.”
Mr. Panton says thieves target his store on a weekly basis.
“We have called the police about shoplifters countless times in the last few years and they never seem to do very much,” he said. “I’ve only been to court once.”
Even when shoplifters are caught, he said, it is rare for them to be prosecuted. He believes many business owners have stopped calling the authorities, saying one store offered thieves caught in the act the opportunity to pay double price and not be prosecuted.
“We get incidents like this every week and we are fed up with it,” Mr. Panton said. “It is big business for some people – they know the chances of going to court are almost none.
“Where’s the deterrent? You can see the girl in the picture doesn’t care – she is sticking her finger up at the camera. Now I put it up on Facebook. Maybe they understand that.”
He believes the pictures will serve as a deterrent to would-be shoplifters and an alert to other business owners to look out for certain individuals.
He said any other store owner who wanted to do the same thing could send him CCTV images or footage to post.
The CCTV images posted on Reflections’ Facebook page this week are from a shoplifting incident at the store on Dorcy Drive on March 3.