A Canadian grocery chain is suing an accused Winnipeg shoplifter in an effort to recoup the costs the company says it paid to catch and detain her.

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Canada Safeway is suing an accused Winnipeg shoplifter, even though theft charges are still pending.

In a statement of claim filed in court on Nov. 5, Canada Safeway says it is seeking undisclosed financial damages from Tashina Potter, 19, after she allegedly shoplifted from their Regent Avenue store in May.

In addition to recovering the cost of the items Safeway claims Potter took, the business is also seeking reimbursement of the money it says it spent on securing the store, as well as pay for the employees involved in catching and detaining her.

The court documents do not detail the items Potter is accused of shoplifting.

'Where substantial evidence exists we do pursue all legal options available to both act as a deterrent and partially recoup some of the costs associated with the crime.' —John Graham, Safeway Canada

Provincial court records show Potter is facing a criminal charge of theft under $5,000 in connection to the incident. Her next court date is Dec. 8.

In a statement, a spokesman for Safeway said it couldn't comment on the specifics of Potter's case, but said that it will now aggressively go after people considered to be chronic shoplifters, or those who steal to try and resell them.

"In situations where substantial evidence exists we do pursue all legal options available to both act as a deterrent and partially recoup some of the costs associated with the crime," John Graham said in an email to CBC News.

However, a Winnipeg lawyer said the lawsuit is troubling because criminal charges are pending. If Safeway wins its suit, it could amount to double punishment if Potter is convicted, Josh Weinstein said.

As well, it may be difficult for the company to collect, he added.

"It's basically throwing good money after bad," Weinstein said.

With files from the CBC's Wab Kinew and James Turner