Shoplifters, beware. Flagstaff’s downtown merchants are posting photos of alleged shoplifters to their social media accounts. They’re also sharing them with other shop owners. Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters and Mountain Sports both posted security camera photos of alleged shoplifters to their Facebook and Instagram accounts this week.
Lisa Lamberson said this is not the first time Mountain Sports has used Instagram to post a photo of an alleged shoplifter.
“I don’t like doing it. I try to avoid it but there are times when I just get fed up,” she said.
Although the technique doesn’t always work, Mountain Sports was actually able to catch one shoplifter who was wearing her sorority shirt. The sorority contacted the store and then expelled the student from their group, Lamberson said.
An employee from Babbitt's said the store has posted security camera footage to Facebook before. However, they haven’t had anyone identified or caught yet.
The downtown shops also share security footage of shoplifters via email with other downtown shop owners, Lamberson said. This technique has resulted in arrests after employees or customers at other shops identified the culprits. Lamberson said she and most of the other stores downtown will prosecute if a shoplifter is caught.
Sgt. Cory Runge said he’s heard that some local stores are using their social media accounts in this way. He said the Flagstaff Police Department gets a number of shoplifting reports each month and it’s hard to track down the thieves. However, the department is more than happy to follow up on tips a store might get from social media.