Retailers turn to Facebook, YouTube to catch shoplifters
Retailers in Cape Breton are using online social networking tools to combat shoplifting this Christmas season.
Members of a newly formed retailers association in Sydney are logging into websites such as Facebook and YouTube to identify thieves.
"There's been a few instances where we had names but no faces to recognize from, so we quickly use the internet to fill in the gaps," Steve Plumridge, manager for SportChek at the Mayflower Mall in Sydney, told CBC News Thursday.
Some shoplifters have bragged about their illegal activities on videos posted on YouTube.
"And they're not shy to put their face right in the middle of the camera when they're on stuff like Facebook," he said.
In one video, a young man from Glace Bay is seen bragging about the headphones he just shoplifted.
Paul Carrigan, manager of the Mayflower Mall, said in the past, they've been unable to identify shoplifters using security cameras alone.
"We have them on camera in our mall, can't identify them," Carrigan said. "We look it up on Facebook. We see them with their friends, whether its partying or whatever they're doing, and we're able to identify them, because usually their friend would have their name on that site as well," he said.
Carrigan said shoplifting had become so bad that some people had hired professionals to steal items for them.
Retailers said using the sites has helped them keep a lot of shoplifters out of their stores.
Once retailers learn that someone has been identified for shoplifting, they share the information among other members of the association.
Members may then choose to ban that person from their stores.