CAUGHT IN THE ACT: One of three alleged shoplifters is taken to the ground after an off-duty police officer and bystanders chased them down for pinching a tent from Big W.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT: One of three alleged shoplifters is taken to the ground after an off-duty police officer and bystanders chased them down for pinching a tent from Big W. Contributed

Shoppers run down tent thief, with help of undercover cop

TWO thieves chased through Gympie Central shopping centre after shoplifting from Big W have sparked a sad warning that shop keepers need to watch their stock this Christmas.

The pair was part of a threesome who allegedly stole a six-person tent from Big W around 3pm Saturday.

They made a run for it when asked by a staff member whether they were going to pay for the item as they left the store.

While one juvenile allegedly involved in the theft stopped, an adult and another juvenile bolted, only to be stopped by some bystanders including an off-duty police officer.

They attracted plenty of attention as they were brought to the ground and held until police arrived.

One customer said after hearing the crash of a display rack as one of the alleged thieves were brought down, bystanders were then subject to an array of swearing as the thief demanded to be let go.

The trio were taken to Gympie police station and charged with unauthorised dealing with shop goods and contravening a police direction. The two who ran were also charged with assaulting or obstructing a police officer.

Unfortunately, the shopping centre theft has not been the only theft from shops around the region as Christmas approaches.

Reports have come to The Gympie Times that Mary St businesses have also been feeling the strain from shoplifters and Gympie Crime Prevention officer Debbie Wruck said a recent walk down the main street revealed a similar problem to her.

She said with the gift-giving season upon us, some would rather steal presents than find the money to pay for them.

As a result she has urged shop owners to bolster their security, which includes ensuring CCTV footage is clear.

Stop the steal 

Acting Senior Constable Debbie Wruck said while it was not advisable to approach or intervene with a assumed shoplifter, if you do see one, this is what you can do to help stop them in their tracks.

  • Tell a staff member what you've seen
  • Wait for police to arrive
  • If you can't hang around, leave your contact details at the shop in case police require a witness statement
Gympie Times


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