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Shop owner hit by sock thief says theft is a daily issue

A HERVEY Bay business owner suffered numerous blows to the head after she called out a teenage girl for allegedly stealing socks.

An incident of a theft at Sportfirst in Hervey Bay isn't out of the ordinary and the owner said the shop was targeted by thieves on a daily basis.

"Shoplifting has been a big problem over the five years that I have been here, and ha gotten worse in the past 12 months," the owner said.

In Monday's incident, a 16-year-old female was exiting the store at about 11am with a baby in a pram when a shop alarm went off.

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The shop's employees went over to question her.

The teenager then allegedly punched the 36-year-old shop owner in the face, and kneed her in the forehead.

The teenager was held down by the owner, another shop employee and a customer before police arrived.

The teenager is charged with stealing, assault occasioning bodily harm and public nuisance.

The branded socks that were subject of police charges are valued at $30.

The Sportfirst owner said the socks were in line with the usual objects that are stolen from the shop's shelves.

"Branded and easily re-sellagle items are most popular," the owner said. 

"A lot of the thieves are juveniles, so there isn't too much the police can do."

The store's staff have been put on alert from the influx in crimes.

Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook said an influx of theft cases had a domino effect on the local economy.

"The profit that stealing is taking away, can lead to prices increasing," she said.

"Tighter security measures cost money and reduce good customers walking in, as they may feel nervous from being watched.

"And it lowers employee morale and keep them from offering the best customer service because they are busy keeping watch."

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