No charges pressed against women caught red-handed shoplifting
August 30, 2013

No charges pressed against women caught red-handed shoplifting

Proprietor of Tony’s Store, Tony Neeme, says he did not press charges against five women who were caught on surveillance cameras stealing from his store, because he felt sorry for their children.{{more}}

He has however, sent a warning that such matters will be dealt with differently, going forward.

“Two of them have small children and another one has a four-month-old baby. I just feel sorry for the kids, so I went and told the police not to press any charges,” Neeme told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.

Shortly after the shoplifting incident took place on Monday, August 26, Neeme posted video footage (see on Facebook, which showed the women’s tactical movements in stealing three pairs of sandals.

Up to press time, the video had been shared by over 1,100 people on Facebook.

According to Neeme, at about 3:10 p.m. on Monday, he had just returned to his store at Middle Street, when he saw the women, whom he says he knows well, exiting the store.

“When I saw them coming out, I suspected something, so I went on the system and looked. I reviewed the video and I saw them thiefing the shoes…,” he said.

Neeme said he immediately contacted the police, who came to the store and looked at the surveillance video.

Following police investigations, the women were arrested.

The video shows one of the women placing a pair of shoes on the floor, near to her feet, as she sat on a bench in the store. The woman, who had a black plastic bag in her hands, then took up the shoes and placed them in the bag, while another woman, who stood in front of her, threw another pair of shoes on the floor, close to where the woman sat.

The surveillance video shows another woman standing in front of the seated woman, placing a pair of shoes in a black bag she was carrying.

Further in the video, two of the women were seen leaving, while the woman who threw the pair of shoes on the floor, sat and looked around the store, before quickly putting the shoes she had earlier thrown on the floor, into her bag.

Since the video was posted, Neeme revealed that he has had close to 2,000 friend requests sent to his Facebook account.

Neeme told SEARCHLIGHT that the father of one of the women’s children pleaded with him for leniency for the mother of his child. Neeme said the man also paid for all the items that were stolen.

“To me, they have been embarrassed. The woman with the four-month-old baby already has a case pending in court and if I had gone to court with this, she would have been in more trouble,” Neeme said.

Neeme, who has four stores around Kingstown and has been in business over the past 15 years, described the women’s behaviour as “disgusting”.

“It’s disgusting, man. They are women who have little children and have embarrassed themselves like this.”

Neeme said it is his hope that the women learn their lesson.

He said the situation makes him “feel a way,” since he’s only trying to give Vincentians the opportunity to shop at affordable prices.

“I have 14 workers here, I have about 20 at the other stores; I am just trying to help,” Neeme said.

He is of the belief that no one will be so brave as to come to his stores and steal again, after seeing the video.

“If they come again, I will deal with them in a different way. Definitely. Next time, it will be no chances and I hope they learn from their lesson,” Neeme remarked.(KW)