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Letters: Shoplifting comes at a cost

Steveston business owners say they're being targeted by young shoplifters
Lenny Entwistle (right) and Elly Fenton have been targeted by young shoplifters

Dear Editor,

“My child wouldn’t shoplift” — parents, are you certain?

We are the owners of two small businesses in Steveston, The Sweet Shoppe and Steveston’s Best of British. We are also parents, and we would like to appeal to local parents about an alarming trend we’re seeing.

Local school-aged children are shoplifting from us on a regular basis, and we are catching them red-handed.

They are very well-organized; some will attempt to distract the shopkeeper while others stuff their backpacks. Some are more subtle and will try to hide product in pockets, etc.

Given the sophistication, we can only conclude they are researching and learning these techniques…perhaps through social media?

What’s even more alarming is the reaction when they are caught — no remorse, no guilt.

It seems to be a joke or game to them.

As parents, we know most will think “my child wouldn’t do this!” and for the vast majority of you, you’re right.

That said, we are appealing to all parents to have discussions with their children about the consequences of shoplifting.

Shoplifting isn’t a joke, it isn’t harmless; it impacts our businesses and our livelihoods. It costs us dearly, and we hope we won’t have to close up shop as a result of this.

Shoplifting is theft. We have not yet called the RCMP on those we’ve caught as we were hoping to resolve this in a different way.

However, we may be left with no choice, and I know no parent wants to be on the receiving end of that call from the RCMP.

Please speak to your kids about shoplifting. On behalf of small businesses everywhere, we thank you.

Elly Fenton & Lenny Entwistle