One Regina bicycle shop used social media to help pump the brakes on crime.
“We’re not helping the situation by letting it happen,” said Fred Vandelinden, the vice-president at Dutch Cycle, who took to Facebook after a man reportedly stole a pair of shoes from the store.
Vandelinden said the man left with a pair of shoes during a busy time in the store. He said an employee, who is one of the owners’ sons, chased after the man. When the employee confronted the man, the man reportedly pulled out a screwdriver which had been sharpened into a weapon.
“We would never encourage our staff to chase somebody, this individual’s six foot four, 350 pounds and felt pretty safe going after him but once a weapon’s produced, it’s a whole other game.”
After the robbery, Vandelinden posted a photo of the man on Facebook to help police identify him.
Within two hours, the post had over 20,000 hits and later that day, it was up to 50,000 views, which was a surprise to Vandelinden.
“That’s one in four people in the city, that’s escalating action,” he said.
Vandelinden said it’s unavoidable to avoid thefts or robberies, with all businesses dealing with some sort of losses. He said thefts seem to be more of a topic of discussion this year, with bike thefts also being on the rise.
“I think it’s just a sign of the times, there’s a lot more drugs in the city, there’s a lot less work and the boom seems to be collapsing.”
While the shoes weren’t found, police were able to find and arrest the man.
Vandelinden said he would post something like this on Facebook again in the future.
“As I had it explained to me, when someone comes into my business and they choose to steal, they’ve ticked off their right to privacy,” he said.
Vandelinden said once a spot becomes known to thieves, more and more people might start to try stealing from that business.
He said the police encourage people doing this as long as they are 100% sure they are putting a photo out of the right person.