You might have seen it.
A viral video of a senior citizen demasking and thwarting a would-be thief at the Walmart in Campbell River late last month. You can watch the video here.
RCMP have seen it too, and Campbell River’s Constable Maury Tyre is saying police cannot recommend her actions to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation.
“The civic-minded individual should be commended for their bravery and initiative, and it definitely shows the level of frustration that people in the community have in relation to property crime,” says Tyre. “However, we as the police, cannot in good conscience recommend that people take matters into their own hands in events such as these, because of the inherent risks associated with physically stopping someone. As well as the obvious physical risks, there could be civil or criminal risks if the person who takes action is wrong.”
He says an immediate call to police is the best course of action, and notifying store management, so video evidence from the event can be saved.
As a business owner, RCMP say it is also important to follow a few steps if pursuing charges. One is insuring that if items were recovered, they must be set aside as evidence, and not restocked on shelves.
Next, ensure multiple workers are trained in any surveillance system you might have to allow for quick access to any footage.
Finally, they recommend keeping an eye on who and what enters your store.
“Yes masks are a must right now, but there’s a difference between masked up and doing everything you can to obscure your identity,” RCMP say. “If the only thing visible is someone’s eyeballs and they have a backpack and big bulky coats, they may have a plan to steal. Setting ‘no backpack’ rules for your store may be worthwhile.”
The case from the video is still an open investigation, and RCMP ask anyone with any information to contact their Campbell River detachment on their non-emergency line.