GOOD CALL: Owner of South Grafton News and Gifts Brad Layton. Photo: Adam Hourigan
GOOD CALL: Owner of South Grafton News and Gifts Brad Layton. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Social media helps bring criminals to justice

SOUTH Grafton newsagent has turned to social media to help identify a woman who allegedly stole $80 worth of merchandise at the weekend.

On Sunday morning owner Brad Layton discovered approximately $80 worth of stock had been allegedly stolen by a young woman. 

Later that day, Mr Layton posted screenshots of their CCTV footage on their Facebook page with a request for the woman to return the items or face a visit from police.

"I hate having to put things on there, but if I don't this will keep happening," he said.

"This problem affects every small business out there. If someone knocks off $80 of gear per day, that's a day's profit gone."

Mr Layton said that he was overwhelmed by private messages which identified the young woman. 

"It was disappointing to find out that she was a 14 year-old girl. I thought from the footage that she was at least 20 because she was so calculating in what she did," he said.

Mr Layton said her family have been in contact with him, however he expects an apology from the young woman and the goods returned.

"If she doesn't come in today, I'll be taking it to the police," he said.

The trend of 'naming and shaming' individuals on social media is not new but it has brought justice to the South Grafton newsagent in the past.

Late last year, Mr Layton was able to identify a group who vandalised his Christmas ornaments on display outside the shop by posting surveillance footage on the newsagent Facebook page. 

"The last time we did it, half a dozen boys came in and apologised," he said. 

Mr Layton said he hopes more businesses post these incidents on social media once more surveillance cameras are installed around town.

"Hopefully the message might come through that this is not acceptable," he said. 

"I don't want to offend family and friends when I post these images, but it's really sad if, in this case, she's 14 and has already got this reputation because nobody has pulled her up."

The images of the young woman have since been removed from the Facebook page.