Shoplifter chased up Queen St


An alleged shoplifter was quite literally given a run for his money when Richmond Hospice Shop manager Karen MacKenzie-Howe gave chase after he stole items from her store.

A slim, 5.3 foot Asian male with greying greasy hair went into the changing rooms and stole a tee shirt from the Richmond Hospice Shop around 10.45am on Wednesday.

Shop manager Karen MacKenzie-Howe retrieved the shirt and discovered he also had a concealed belt stolen from the Red Cross.

“I asked him to wait for the police and not embarrass himself but he wouldn’t, he started running and so I thought, ‘I’m going to scream and shout after you like a bloody banshee because you’re not coming back in our shop’,” says Karen.

So scream she did, whilst chasing him as far as ANZ bank and videoing the chase on her cell phone.

Karen thinks it probably looked hysterical.

“I think people would have stepped into help but they were trying to process what was happening because I was like a bloody old fishwife running up the road shouting and chasing him with a shirt and coat hanger in my hand.”

“When I was chasing after him I thought ‘Karen, what are you doing’ but he won’t ever come back to the shop that’s for sure.”

Karen thinks the video is “bloody funny” and sent a copy to her partner, titled “run Forest, run” and “a quiet day in the office.”

Unfortunately, Karen says her screaming sprints up and down the street are a regular occurrence.

“Some people would think I’m foolish but I’m always doing it, whenever I see thieves I will always be vigilant.”

“We work so hard to make as much money as we can for the community hospice and no I am not going to work that hard and let some walk in and just take what is not theirs to take.”

Karen says the shop do their best considering majority of the staff have passed retirement age.

“We don’t catch them all, but we’ll do our best to be vigilant and it’s not a monetary issue, this is our community and any theft from us is a theft from our community.”

“I jumped on someone’s back in the car park one day after he’d stolen a pair of trainers that he’d shoved up his jumper. As I ran round into the carpark by the library he was taking them out and putting them in his backpack so I grabbed him.”

And as for punishment, Karen says she prefers traditional methods.

“Bring back the village stocks is what I say, make them wear a sandwich board and make them walk up and down the street.”

Police responded not long after the chase and will review Karen’s video footage and CCTV cameras today.