Penticton convenience store owner installing $2,000 turnstile to entrance after latest brazen theft | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton convenience store owner installing $2,000 turnstile to entrance after latest brazen theft

Leigh Follestad of Penticton SmartShopper Value Variety Convenience is adding a turnstile to the entrance of his store after an especially frustrating theft on Oct. 23.

Customers will soon have to enter a popular convenience store in downtown Penticton through a turnstile system worth more than $2,000 after experiencing the most brazen theft yet this morning.

SmartShopper owner Leigh Follestad, said “it sucks” that he loses around $100 a day to theft, but he realizes it goes with the territory in retail.

This morning, Oct. 23, he was especially upset by the lack of discretion shown by a thief. While there was a lineup at the til, he said a woman with a cart worth of about $40 worth of goods carelessly walked out of the store without paying. Staff are not asked to chase down thieves, but they ran onto Main Street and confronted the woman anyway, and then she became abusive and threatening.

“Like they were entitled or deserved it,” he said.

Despite all the theft Follestad has experienced in the past, he said he was shocked by how little this woman cared.

“To see something like this tells me it’s getting worse. I’ve never had a situation where someone filled up a grocery basket and just walked out without any care.”

READ MORE: Social media helps shop owner find robbery suspects

Follestad said he sympathizes with those who are poor and hungry, but he hates the idea of building the cost of theft into his prices.

“When you see someone this brazen, simply loading up their cart with $40 worth of stuff, and then walks out door without any concern whatsoever – what do we do?”

SmartShopper will be installing a turnstile at the front entrance to prevent a similar incident from happening again. There will soon only be one door to exit out of, and it requires people to pass in front of the cashiers. He said it will unfortunately make things a little more difficult for paying customers.

Sgt. Chris Manseau, with the B.C. RCMP, was unable to comment on the incident as it just happened this morning, he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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