Get the message say Christchurch Police Beat staff. We donâ€™t want shoplifters in our town.
Police are working with shop security staff from all over the city, e txting each other details of shoplifters and their vehicles.
Snr Sgt Colin Campbell says he is absolutely stunned at how successful the Telecom supported new scheme is. Telecom have provided police and security staff with a number of up to date phones and the e txt facility free of charge for a number of months.
"It is far more successful than we ever envisaged," he says. "E txting allows us to catch shoplifters sooner and with plenty of evidence."
Community Constable Greg THOMAS, who co ordinates the operation, says there is a core group of police and security staff who communicate with each other then pass the information on to their own employees.
"In short time a lot of people can be informed," he says. "Where we find shoplifters are preferring a particular type of good or brand, for example, this information can enable security staff to focus on these areas."
Shoplifters steal for the same reasons and motivation as any burglar says Colin Campbell. A number of the worst offenders are supporting various habits.
"It appears that there are a number of well organised teams around the malls and city," he says. "However weâ€™re walking through the department stores and banks in the days up to Christmas. Weâ€™re now geared up so that if any professional shoplifting gang from out of town is game enough to show their head, weâ€™re ready for them."
â€¢ Three shoplifters have appeared in court this week after being caught as part of the new operation. The three were disturbed while shoplifting in a central city store. Through e txted messages they were tracked in other malls around the city and eventually through good observation of their vehicle registration number, they were located ten minutes later at another mall with a van laden with $1400 worth of stolen property, mostly clothes taken earlier from yet another mall. They have all been charged this week with theft.
â€¢ A man in his thirties was observed putting CDâ€™s down his trousers recently at a city store. This was reported via txt to other stores and stills of the man taken off video surveillance were txted around town within minutes. Using this photos for identification the man was apprehended by a store security guard again stealing CDâ€™s and promptly arrested. He is a well known, prolific shoplifter.