Named and shamed suspected shoplifters now on the radar thanks to tips from the community
Posted on 07/02/2023
Twenty previously unidentified shoplifters are now on the police radar because of tips to Crime Stoppers – with one wanted suspect going so far as to hand themselves into police after being targeted during the campaign.
The initial 8-week retail theft campaign, a collaboration between Crime Stoppers and SA Police, saw images of 62 unknown thieves previously caught on CCTV shared with the community to help put names to faces.
Crime Stoppers SA CEO, Nigel Smart, said plenty of South Australians took advantage of the opportunity to speak up, while still staying anonymous.
“At a time when cost of living pressures are increasing, consumers are angry at having to pay more for goods because these professional thieves think they can just help themselves to whatever they want and walk out of a store with no consequences or penalty,” Mr Smart said.
“Our campaign was able to give people a voice to speak up and hold these thieves accountable by giving information to Crime Stoppers that we then provided to police on their behalf,” he said.
“We received a total of 40 nominations about our wanted suspects, that quickly led to 20 being identified so far. Even though the initial phase of our campaign has finished we are still receiving tips from people who want to help – and with shoplifting still a serious crime of concern across SA we are now exploring what more we can do to help police.”
“We have also appreciated the opportunity to work with retailers of all sizes across city, metropolitan and regional locations to tackle the shoplifting epidemic in South Australia head on – because stock loss has a serious impact on their sustainability and profitability, which ultimately affects the economic prosperity of the State.”
The campaign, which was launched at a retailer’s breakfast briefing on 15 November 2022, is regarded as one of the most successful Crime Stoppers’ community engagement campaigns in recent years.
More than 170 visits per day were logged on the dedicated webpage from people wanting to browse through the line-up of unknown suspects over the 8-week campaign. Social media activity reached more than 408,000 South Australians, who helped to spread the campaign message through more than 3000 likes, reactions and comments, as well as more than 1,000 shares or retweets.
Inspector Julian Coram, SAPOL’s Operation Support Coordinator (Metro Ops Service) said: “These outcomes demonstrate what can be achieved when the public works with SA Police and Crime Stoppers to tackle a crime issue that impacts everyone in the community.”
“The information received has helped to identify 20 suspected thieves who had been flying under the radar, and with about a dozen ongoing investigations we expect others to be identified in the course of time. A number of identified suspects are thought to be involved in other crimes which are also now being investigated, which would not have been possible without Crime Stoppers and the support of the public.”
“Now we can put a name to many of the faces of the suspects profiled in the campaign we can develop a far clearer picture about how they operate, where they target, what they steal, who their associates are and who is buying their illegal haul of goods.”
Minister for Police and Correctional Services Joe Szakacs said the results of the retail theft campaign were pleasing.
“To see 20 people identified demonstrates the capability of SA Police and Crime Stoppers and also the value of people in the public arena speaking up when they see someone doing the wrong thing,” Mr Szakacs said.
“This campaign nationally has been recognised as one of the most successful Crime Stoppers initiatives in recent time. I commend Nigel Smart, SA Police and everyone involved in tracking down thieves for this team effort.”
The campaign also leveraged the long-term support from 9 News Adelaide to feature six weekly crime segments, which were broadcast as part of an evening news bulletin and replayed on a whole-of-station run in key programs for that week, reaching an estimated total of 110,190 viewers.
Check out our latest unidentified shoplifting suspects here.
If you have any information about unsolved crime or suspicious activity, then call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go to https://crimestopperssa.com.au