Crabapple Clothing turns to social media to find alleged shoplifter

Crabapple Clothing Company has posted photos of the suspected shoplifter on its Facebook page.

Company has posted photos of the suspected thief on Facebook

Store owners allege a woman swiped two necklaces and is a known thief in Calgary's independent retailer community. (Crabapple Clothing Store/Facebook)

A Calgary retailer is using social media to try to catch a suspected thief.

Crabapple Clothing Company posted photos this week of the alleged shoplifter to its Facebook page.

"I just wanted to kind of hit as many as possible let them know she is around, show her face," said Whitney Titheridge, the co-owner of the southwest Calgary store. "Our primary intention was to make other retailers aware of this woman."

She describes the shoplifter as "slick" and charming, striking up conversations with all of her staff.

After reviewing video surveillance, Titheridge alleges the woman swiped two necklaces from her Marda Loop shop on Tuesday.

"She did move some of the handbags to cover the view of our camera. Then she kind of places the item in her hand and covers it with her hand and wallet."

Titheridge says since after she posted the photo online, she heard from two other retailers who recognized the woman.

"She has stolen thousands upon thousands of dollars of jewellery from some of our other local independents in Calgary," she said. "We feel this is definitely the same person."

Titheridge has filed a police report, and the incident is under investigation.

An officer with the Organized Retail Crime Section of the Calgary police says retailers should not be posting photos of suspected shoplifters.

"Although the act in itself of displaying an image of a person is not criminal, we do not advocate stores do that," said Const. Andrew Critchley.

Instead, Critchley says retailers should partner up with RetailCOP

"Calgary Police service actually operates a platform for retailers to lawfully share information related to retail-related crime," he said. "This program is managed by police officers and adheres to Freedom of Information and privacy legislation." 

​But Titheridge has no regrets about outing the alleged thief, online.

"What led us to this is just the fact that this woman has consistently been hitting small businesses and we feel like there really hasn't been any recourse."