Soul Shoes shoplifter a ‘prolific offender’

A woman facing charges for shoplifting in Soul Shoes is one of Hamilton’s “most prolific offenders”, say police, who attribute her arrest to the store’s high-quality security camera system.

The woman faces a raft of shoplifting charges and has been remanded in custody until her court appearance in mid-April, says Raglan constable Gary Ryburn.

He says she was already wanted for breaching court release conditions when she was caught on security camera stealing about $1500 worth of belts and bags from the Soul Shoes at Raglan wharf in mid-January.

“She offended again three days after Soul Shoes,” says Mr Ryburn.

He says the woman has 13 previous shoplifting convictions –“and still chasing” – from 2016 alone.

She was “located as a passenger in a vehicle in Hamilton” on May 24.

Mr Ryburn says the high-quality image provided to police by Soul Shoes enabled clear identification of the offender.

“It was A1 quality. I was very impressed.”

The photo was sent out to Waikato police staff and Mr Ryburn says he got back about 20 emails “all identifying the same woman”.

He says having a good-quality security system is important to help catch shoplifters because “police aren’t miracle workers”.

Soul Shoes owner Marie de Jong, who had posted the photo of the offender on the store’s Facebook page, says although she will never see the stolen goods again the theft drummed up a lot of business support.

“We did well with it,” she laughs.

“It reached more than half a million people. In two days we had nearly 1000 likes! It usually takes me at least a year to drum up that kind of support.”

Inger Vos