Shop lifters have been caught targeting Cambridge’s most valued retailers – charity op shops. At least two such stores have been targeted in recent weeks.
Donna Young, founder/director of New Lives Animal Rescue Op Shop, and Marianne Jarvie, President of Jumble Around, both believe the same woman has stolen items from their non-profit stores.
The woman was captured on CCTV video at New Lives at midday on Wednesday July 3. She spent about 45 minutes there, placing the store’s more valuable items in her bag before leaving without paying.
“It’s hard to tell exactly how much was taken, I get a bit upset just watching it,” said Donna, hoping the footage of the woman might at least lead to her arrest. “I don’t think there was even a clear method to what she was taking, she took a fish tank ornament, some really lovely vases.”
Donna said the store gets shoplifters nearly every week, but it’s hard to catch them.
“It just frustrates us, our volunteers get upset and blame themselves as well. … It’s low.”
“The things they stole may have been donated items, but it’s still a loss for us from what we could have made selling them. We’re hard working people, and when someone comes along and starts stealing things, which somebody has actually donated to us to help animals, you kind of start to think, why bother.
“It doesn’t just affect bottom line, it’s morale too.”
After seeing New Lives post their CCTV footage of the woman onto social media, Jumble Around volunteers were “one hundred per cent” certain it was the same woman that apparently tried to rip off their store last month.
“We recognised her straight away,” said Jumble Around president Marianne Jarvis.
Jarvis said the woman claimed she was from Auckland, and was returning a jacket she’d bought at the store. As a more valuable item, the jacket was kept on a special items list, and had not been ticked off as being “sold” on their record.
Nevertheless, they told her she could exchange it for something else, and she chose a watch. Then she returned the next day, again trying to get a cash refund. Staff said she became irate when they refused.
“She really needed calming down,” said Marianne, describing a nasty, threatening manner. “We escorted her out because she certainly put the fear in our volunteers that day.”
Staff phoned the police, but the woman was gone by the time they arrived.
Both Donna and Marianne hope those who recognise the woman will contact NZ Police. For non-emergencies, phone Police on 105 or visit 105.police.govt.nz.