Barebones Art Space owners Ruth Ryan, 73, successfully chased an alleged thief down Byron St Bangalow on Sunday with some help from a neighbouring shop owner, bystanders and a customer.
Barebones Art Space owners Ruth Ryan, 73, successfully chased an alleged thief down Byron St Bangalow on Sunday with some help from a neighbouring shop owner, bystanders and a customer.

Retailers race to catch thieves

IT may look quaint with its shady, tree-lined streets, heritage buildings and cute shop fronts, but thieves be warned - Bangalow and its business community are a force to be reckoned with.

Fed up with shoplifters and the retail downturn, shop owners in the tourist village are quite literally giving thieves a run for the money.

On Sunday afternoon, Ruth Ryan from Barebones Art Space in Byron St was getting ready to close her business when she saw a man snatch her petty cash tin from the front counter.

Contrary to village rumours, the tin did not contain the takings from the Bangalow Show.

Undeterred by the thief's actions, Mrs Ryan gave chase.

"I went for it and kept him in my sight while still yelling 'stop, stop, someone has stolen my cash tin'," the charismatic 73-year-old explained.

As the alleged thief took off along Deacon St, a neighbouring shop owner joined in the chase, as did one of Mrs Ryan's customers and multiple bystanders.

The relay then crossed Byron St before ending in the showgrounds, where the alleged thief was arrested by police.

Mrs Ryan found her discarded petty cash tin and is confident she will get back the $40 that was in it.

Tweed Byron Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Darren Steel said the man, a 40-year-old from Coffs Harbour, was charged with stealing and trespassing.

A few shops up from Mrs Ryan and a few weeks prior to Sunday's incident, a shop assistant, who was five months pregnant, also chased a shoplifter up the street.

The Mi Casa Tu Casa employee, who asked not to be identified, said a man and a woman came into the store before the man left with a $200 telescope.

"I ran up the street and I saw him and demanded the item back and that he come with me while I call the police," she said.

Much to her surprise, the man complied and returned the stolen item.

Mi Casa Tu Casa owner Lyneve Morgan was horrified to hear her pregnant employee chased a thief, but conceded it was a sign of the times.

"Retail is so slow at the moment everyone is going after the thieves," she said.

"Times are tough and for someone to steal, your natural instinct is to go after them and get it back."

 

What would you do in similar circumstances? Leave a comment below.



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