Petty theft from grocery stores is a regular occurrence, says the manager of Western Foods in Langford, where employees last week chased and caught a candy thief with the help of Mayor Stew Young. Bill Oxford/iStock photo

Candy caper aftermath: Langford grocer wants police to get tougher on shoplifters

Shoplifting a common occurence according to Western Foods manager

While the helping hand from Langford Mayor Stew Young might have made last week’s incident unique, shoplifting is hardly a rare occurrence, according to Western Foods manager Jeff Stewart.

“It’s a major problem,” he said. “I’d say we probably catch somebody almost every day and every day we don’t catch one it makes me think about who we missed.”

Stewart would like to see police take a stronger stance against a crime he says is common throughout the retail industry, noting that theft doesn’t just hurt the retailer.

“It’s hard to keep prices down when theft is a major issue.”

Stewart noted that shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes, from teenagers right up to seniors. “It’s whoever thinks it’s a good idea to grab a thing of cheese and stuff it in their purse,” he said.

While the store’s policy is to prosecute all shoplifters, that doesn’t always mean charges are laid.

West Shore RCMP media relations officer Const. Alex Berube understands the frustration from store owners, but noted there are numerous elements to be considered when police are deciding whether to recommend charges to Crown prosecutors.

“It’s always based on the evaluation of the information that’s provided to us. We always need to determine the substance of the allegations,” Berube said. “We need to determine whether it’s in the public’s interest to forward a report to Crown council (and if) there is a likelihood of conviction.”

Other factors could also be taken into consideration, including the individual circumstances of the suspect. For example, police will “do everything they can” when it comes to pursuing charges against a repeat offender, while a parent trying to feed their kids might be dealt with differently.

“Yes, there have to be consequences to shoplifting, it’s illegal. But we have different venues of prosecuting,” Berube said, noting that restorative justice is often used. “It’s not always about bringing someone to court.”

In addition to electronic security measures at the store entrance, Western Foods also employs undercover security staff to patrol the aisles on occasion, Stewart said.

On April 13, a shoplifter was pursued by employees of the store while Mayor Young was making his way through the roundabout on Goldstream Avenue. The mayor helped the employees apprehend the suspect before police arrived on scene.

The investigation is ongoing, but Berube declined to comment on whether charges were likely.

Twitter: @joelgazette

Just Posted

Smell of pot plants sparks social media debate

A noticeable smell on Sooke Road has caught the attention of residents

Horgan indicates Highway 14 improvements coming soon

Premier says looming announcement part of much more coming for south coast connector

Caring trumps racism for retired Langford fire chief

Support for Haitian orphans continues

West Shore RCMP seeking bikes stolen from Langford condo

Public asked to keep an eye out for three bicycles

Community rallies behind Sooke boy with rare condition

Dozens called on government to cover cost of drug for six-year-old Landen Alexa

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

Editorial: It’s what we do with anger that matters

Langford resident reacts to Trump’s comments

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Most Read