‘Something is stolen every week’: Chinatown gift shop owner posts more than 20 photos of suspected shoplifters, Singapore News

To deter potential shoplifters, gift shop owner in Chinatown, resorted to naming and shaming those who stole items from his store.

The store on Trengganu Street, called Wow, recently went viral on Xiaohongshu for posting more than 20 photos of people allegedly stealing from the store.

An anonymous store employee told Shin Min Daily News that theft has been a persistent problem since the store opened last November.

Tourists and locals have been filmed taking items without paying, she said.

“Something is stolen every week. Sometimes it even happens two or three times a day. The people whose photos we publish are locals and repeat offenders,” she added.

Last month, a tourist who appeared to be in her 20s made off with a pair of glasses. She allegedly stole two pairs from the shelf and hid one in a hat near the counter.

She then told the store owner she didn’t want the second pair and left the store with the other.

Another incident occurred during Chinese New Year. An elderly woman pushing a shopping cart entered the store around closing time.

The store employee said: “She kept looking around and I saw her lingering where the portable fans were on display before leaving. I looked at the CCTV footage and realized she had stolen two pairs of glasses.

“If I wasn’t there, she might have stolen the portable fans too.”

To cover her tracks, the elderly woman also spoiled the display of glasses.

“We’re just doing business, I don’t know why we have to endure this. We’ve caught too many (thieves), it’s very tiring,” lamented the employee.

wall of shame

The store owner, surnamed Lei, said she posted photos of the shoplifters to alert the public for help. catch the culprits.

Losses from stolen goods amount to about $100 a month, she added.

“These photos were released before the Chinese New Year because there are more customers during this time. We hope the public will be more vigilant (against thieves).”

Lei revealed that she was questioned about the authenticity of the photos.

“A lot of people told me we were lying, saying people could steal all these little items and it wasn’t worth going to jail for.”

She claimed she had evidence that people had stolen glasses, necklaces and bracelets from her store.

Traders must indicate whether there are CCTV cameras in stores

Cory Wong, director of Invictus Law Corporation, told Shin Min Daily News that store owners must inform customers if CCTVs are installed in their stores. This can be done by posting notices on the premises.

Commenting on Lei’s tactics to deter shoplifters, Wong said: “I can understand that they want to warn members of the public, but they might be crossing a line by calling the people (in the photos) thieves. ”

There were 3,939 cases of store theft in 2023, an increase of 21% compared to 2022, when there were 3,244 cases. Shop thefts accounted for 19.7% of total physical crime cases that year, according to the police’s annual crime report for 2023.

About 68 percent of cases occurred in retail outlets such as department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores and convenience stores.

Commonly stolen goods included food and beverages, alcoholic beverages, personal care products, clothing/accessories, cosmetics, and medical or health supplements.

In a public statement in April regarding store robberies at other retail chains, police said: “The public is strongly discouraged from committing store robberies. With the prevalence of technology such as CCTV cameras, you will eventually be arrested even if you manage to do so. leave the store with the stolen items.

Police also encourage all retailers to participate in the Shop Theft Awareness for Retailers (STAR) program, which aims to analyze the vulnerability of stores to in-store theft and determine crime prevention measures to take.

Theft is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine, or both.

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