The manager of at least one business on the Avalon Peninsula says he's convinced that going public with evidence of a crime before the police, does work.

Peter Petipas, manager of Monty's gas bar in Whitbourne, posted surveillance videos of people breaking in and stealing thousands of dollars' worth of cigarettes on Facebook in 2011.

"Within the run of a few hours we had a few thousand views of each video and the amount of people calling in and telling us different things was just dumbfounding," said Petipas.

"We couldn't believe the response that we got."

Sealskin theft captured on video

Earlier this week the owners of Natural Boutique, a shop that sells sealskin products in downtown St. John's, posted videos on YouTube taken from the store's surveillance camera.


The owners of NaturaL Boutique posted surveillance videos of this daring daylight theft to YouTube earlier this week. (CBC)

The videos shows two thieves entering the store during business hours and trying to make off with two sealskin coats. The manager intervenes and stops one thief in his tracks after the other got away with one of the coats, valued at $3,200.

Kerry Shears, co-owner of the store, said staff contacted the RNC immediately after the theft occurred, but the police didn't show up until noon the next day.

The RNC says they treated the situation as a theft, not a robbery, and responded when the store re-opened the next day.

'Another tool'

Petipas said police have not raised any concerns with him about posting videos of thefts online.

"As long as you are not altering the video in any way it's fair game. We just looked at it as another tool," said Petipas.

CBC News asked the RNC for comment on the practice of posting surveillance video of alleged crimes online for the public to see, but no one was available for an interview.