Customers at Campbell River Walmart step in to prevent alleged shoplifting

Customers at Campbell River Walmart step in to prevent alleged shoplifting
Photo credit: Darrell Johansen
A woman in a video who confronted an alleged shoplifter said she is fed up before trying to take the man's ski mask off.

A video posted to Facebook shows two customers stepping in and confronting a man who is allegedly shoplifting a shopping cart full of items.

In the video, the man filming asks a man wearing a ski mask and pushing a shopping cart full of items out the front door if he plans on paying for his items.

The man with the shopping cart then replies yes and the man filming replies by asking when he plans on paying for the items.

This catches the attention of another woman who is leaving the store at the time.

READ MORE: Suspect in Campbell River Walmart stabbing arrested again after breaching court-order, attempting to assault officer

She then blocks his cart from leaving the store, grabs the ski mask off the man’s head and the pair grab the cart and the man leaves the store, without any of the allegedly stolen items.

Cst. Maury Tyre with the Campbell River RCMP says there is quite a bit of frustration in the community about theft, but people should not step in to prevent shoplifting.

“It’s not something that we can really recommend doing, because there have been some incidents that have definitely escalated to severe violence in the community,” Maury said.

“Some of the individuals that are stealing and taking things, taking carts full, commonly carried carry knives or bear spray, and when people do take matters into their own hands, they have to understand that there is an inherent risk and even sometimes liability when they do so.”

Sean Smith, a Campbell River security expert says this Walmart is a frequent target for theft.

“They’ll just take an armload into a bag, and just walk out the door with it,” Smith said.

He says he’s not surprised that people stood up to the alleged shoplifter.

“She heard what was going on, she saw what was going on, and she had enough,” Smith said. “She did what everyone else wanted to do, and she’s very, very popular right now.”

Smith echoed the advice of the RCMP to not step in to stop a shoplifter, as it may cause the situation to escalate.

In December, a security guard at the Campbell River Walmart was stabbed while trying to prevent a shoplifter from leaving the store.

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