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Store spares shoplifters using 'sign of shame'

Joel Linde · 18 Nov 2011, 15:56

Published: 18 Nov 2011 15:56 GMT+01:00

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Within 20 days of the store's opening, personnel had caught four people with sticky fingers.

They were all given the choice of either being reported to police and fined 1500 kronor ($220), or working a weekend shift at the store collecting shopping carts, while wearing a sign that says “I’m a THIEF, I shoplifted from DOLLARSTORE”.

“None of the shoplifters chose the sign,” DollarStore’s owner Peter Ahlberg told the local daily Dagbladet, adding that his goal is to draw attention to the growing problem of shoplifting in Sweden, and not simply to shame shoplifters.

His company alone, with about 20 stores in Sweden, loses millions of kronor to shoplifters each year.

“In our store in Boden they displayed 60 bras and 20 of them were stolen,” Ahlberg told the paper.

The store also reported similar losses for denim and batteries, but Ahlberg made sure to point out that the vast majority of customers are honest, saying that it’s only about one percent that are the troublemakers.

According to SEB, a major Swedish bank, shoplifting constitutes more than 1.4 percent of the revenue in Swedish stores, adding up to 6.4 billion kronor per year, Dagbladet reported.

Ahlberg also admitted that the number of unreported cases of shoplifting is huge, since it’s a very time consuming process that many choose to forego.

Story continues below…

Annica Odelind with the local Sundsvall police told the paper that crimes should always be reported.

However, if a person chooses to make a deal with the store in order to avoid legal actions, that is up to the parties involved, she added.

Joel Linde (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:24 November 18, 2011 by Kahmoudi
I love that store owner! Brilliant idea! Sweden needs more proactive people like him that refuse to wallow in apathy.
19:21 November 18, 2011 by lennea
I once worked at a bookstore in the US. There were signs posted that said, "We prosecute shoplifters," but we never did. Prosecuting them takes too much money, and apparently the deterrent isn't worth it for the bottom line. Thieves were merely trespassed and forbidden from returning... which--you guessed it--made us a prime target for all of their buddies.
21:26 November 18, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
The article mentioned that 'thieves' were offered an alternative by the store.

But I think society should still be very wary about 'public shaming' as a punishment whoever decides to start the practice.

As a US judge once said "[a] fair measure of a civilized society is how its institutions behave in the space between what it may have the power to do and what it should do."
00:52 November 19, 2011 by Coalbanks
How about putting the security video on display? No expectation of privacy in a public space, right? Let your actions speak for you!
13:18 November 19, 2011 by Svensksmith
Cool sign. Could someone swipe one for me?
21:46 November 19, 2011 by Grokh
simple if people dont want to pay fines or wear a sign of shame then dont steal... its not that hard.
00:44 November 20, 2011 by jacksonjerry
what about Håkan Juholt shoplifting from the Country?

(i am referring to the rental controversy)
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