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Teen hands in stolen goods after outed on Facebook

CAUGHT: Paul Medway, owner of Leading Edge Electronics shows the Facebook page that helped him catch a thief just one hour after the person had stolen from his store. Greg Miller
CAUGHT: Paul Medway, owner of Leading Edge Electronics shows the Facebook page that helped him catch a thief just one hour after the person had stolen from his store. Greg Miller Greg Miller

FACEBOOK has brought down a Gympie thief after he was named and shamed on the social website.

The alleged thief, believed to be a teenager, was caught on CCTV stealing from a Mary St business on Tuesday.

But within 24 hours he had returned to the store with the stolen goods, apologising for his actions.

The surprising turnaround was all thanks to the power of social media and Leading Edge Electronics' store owner Paul Medway couldn't be more grateful.

It was about 3pm on Tuesday when the teen entered he and wife Cindy's shop, for the second time in minutes, and was caught by Mrs Medway on CCTV footage trying to steal stock.

She confronted the male, who immediately handed over the goods, and left the shop. But when Mr Medway checked the CCTV recording, he found the teen had already walked out the door with a $169 top-of-the-line remote control helicopter before coming back for more.

After hearing about another Leading Edge outlet in Tasmania which caught a thief after posting images on Facebook, Mr Medway decided to go online.

He posted a warning to other shop owners about the thief and appealed for people who may have had information.

He also posted CCTV stills of the alleged thief in action.

"Please help us catch a thief," the post read.

"Tuesday afternoon this thief came into our store, he stole one product and when he thought he had got way with one he returned a few minutes later to snatch another product.

".If anyone knows who this is, please message us.

"Please share this post, tag anyone you know who owns a local business to give them the heads-up."

In less than an hour Mr Medway was informed of the man's name, the school he had attended and was warned it was allegedly not his first shoplifting stunt.

An hour later the teen walked in the front door of the store, goods in hand and with an apology to go with them.

"All we were hoping for was to get a name," a still surprised Mr Medway said yesterday.

The post was shared 260 times and viewed by 21,000 people.

Mr Medway said he was greeted by several messages of support and information from fellow Facebook users.

"I'm really proud of the Gympie community.

"What amazed me was the power of Facebook.

"Life in small business is tough enough...the Gympie community soldiered on together... I'm really impressed."

Gympie Times

Topics:  crime, facebook, gympie



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