In City malls, it's rich who filch

In City malls, it's rich who filch

A CCTV grab of a couple caught shoplifting

With the malls proliferating in Bangalore attracting thousands of customers everyday either for serious buying or simply coming in for window shopping, managements are having a tough time trying to keep at bay the ‘small thieves’, even if they are not kleptomaniacs. A quick survey of such incidents in the City showed that shoplifting has become a fashion of sorts, where the rich and the upper middle-class top the list. Moreover, the security staff at the malls have to keep an eye on common areas and emergency exits where couples get cozy.

Recently, a retired IPS officer’s wife was caught red-handed shoplifting at a supermarket in a mall. The officer, who had accompanied his wife, when confronted with the theft reportedly tried throwing his weight around and pulling strings. But when the security staff took the couple aside and showed them the footages of the woman pushing a tin of Vitamin-E oil worth Rs 900 into her bag, they quietly paid up and left.

“In a day, at least half-a-dozen shoplifters are nabbed by our alert staff. On weekends, the number increases. Interestingly, we rarely catch anyone from the lower middle-class. Most of them are well-educated and the affluent. Chocolates, premium range lingerie, condoms, health and beauty products are the most pilfered goods,” explains Spar outlets stores head, Kumara Swamy.

A senior police officer, who gets called in at such times, say college students wager bet on shoplifting. “When caught, they get down on their knees and confess to the crime.”

There have been instances of doctors and other professionals, who drive Mercs and Audis and other high-end cars, shoplifting. Recently, a lady medical practitioner was caught lifting some products. When she shown the CCTV footage, she pulled out a certificate that said she was a patient suffering from kleptomania. She claimed she had a peculiar habit: If she is billed for Rs 8,000, she was tempted to lift articles worth the same amount.

In another incident, an Iranian family walked into a market, picked up half-a-kilo pista and badam. As they walked around the shop, they gorged on the dry fruits, but ran out of luck while disposing of the empty packet. The whole family claimed they knew neither English or any local language, but once the men in khaki arrived, the older one spilled the beans and begged for forgiveness in fluent Hindi.

Police officers have been advising the mall mangers to go in for PTZ, a software that comes in handy and gives beeps out alerts once a habitual shoplifter and or previous offender walks in.

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