Viral Video Catches Shoplifter - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Viral Video Catches Shoplifter

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By: Claire Powell


A business in Knoxville has been struggling to stop shoplifters from stealing hundreds of dollars in clothing.

Knoxville Farm & Home realized they were missing over $500 of Under Armour apparel. They were tired of losing money and not getting any answers, so they set up cameras all over the building and started recording.

They rearranged their clothes in site of many of the cameras. Despite warning signs, they still caught a male in his teens looking around the store, while shoving four shirts under is jacket.

"He gets 4 t-shirts if you watch the video closely and it happens in the blink of an eye," said Jeff McLaren, Operations Manager at Knoxville Farm & Home.

The male even tries to put another jacket over his coat, but when it doesn't fit, he puts it down.

He then walks out, unnoticed, with $130 in clothing. The store knows the exact total because the suspect ripped off the tags and left them behind. 

"Our workers can't be everywhere at once, it gets busy, and people know they can take advantage of that and they do," said McLaren.

So he posted the video to Facebook and asked the community to identify the male.

"We thought that would get the best views. We never thought more than a couple hundred people would see it and just to deter theft in our own establishment and it just went crazy," said McLaren.

The post had over 33,000 likes and 400 shares in just a few days and Knoxville Police Department had their suspect.

"If we have video of someone committing a crime, it's much easier to solve rather than starting from scratch. We can share the video, we've solved crimes before using Facebook and it's a great tool for us to use," said Lt. Aaron Fuller, Knoxville Police Department.

The store says they'll keep the cameras running in hopes to stop the shoplifters completely.

"If it comes to another case where we see something going on or theft, we can post it and we're going do it. It's important for people to see how these things happen," said McLaren.

Police said the suspect will be charged with fifth-degree theft, taken to juvenile court and those charges could come as soon as next week.


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