Retailer Raaj Chandarana successfully turned to social media to help him offer shoplifters a chance of redemption.
Raaj’s High Wycombe Premier store, Tara’s News, suffered its first ever break-in in the early hours of Saturday September 17, when thieves took a few bottles of Ciroc Vodka with a retail value of £26.99.
He posted an ultimatum to the thieves, spreading the word that they had until 5pm on Monday September 26 to return all of the bottles stolen and apologise to him personally to avoid further action as a result of CCTV footage being passed onto police.
The message reached over 100 people and was liked 65 times and shared 76 times on Facebook before two of the stolen bottles reappeared at the back of the store, concealed inside a black bag.
Raaj told C-Store: “While it is empowering to know that the fantastic community support with our social media campaign has led to the message reaching the thieves directly, I still stand by my word and I will be waiting until 5pm today for all items stolen to be returned. If this doesn’t happen then our CCTV footage of the incident will be passed onto the police.”
When Raaj approached the police, he said he was informed that “members of the force were on holiday and someone would be in contact with him soon”. Raaj waited patiently for one full week without a call back, before turning to Facebook.
“We are a community store and these thieves are local young men so it is our duty to give them a second chance to put things right. We know that everyone makes bad decisions in life from time to time and all we ask is that they now do the right thing,” Raaj added.
“It is a wide-spread opinion in the convenience sector between retailers, that the police are stretched and no longer able to prioritise retail crime so it leaves it up to us to think up innovative ways of preventing crime becoming more wide-spread. I hope these young men do the right thing and send a powerful message at the same time.”