Shoplifting is an unfortunate reality for retail stores but the trend in thefts for the Oak Bay Pharmasave is one that has the store manager concerned.
On Friday, Nov. 13, Oak Bay Police apprehended two suspected shoplifters who were caught in the act in the Pharmasave in Oak Bay Village.
A 23-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman were arrested.
Store manager Jason Skrenka said the two actually apologized and showed remorse, offering to pay for the goods, which were returned to the store. They’ve subsequently been banned from the shop while the man was also taken into custody for breaching his conditions (he was carrying a concealed can of bear spray). The teenage girl was released with no charges.
It’s part of an uptick in brazen shoplifting incidents that Skrenka says are more conspicuous than previously.
“All types of people steal, [seniors] just as much as anyone, but lately it’s been a little ‘more scary’ for us,” Skrenka said. “It’s people with nothing to lose, who are often aggressive.”
Without trying to stigmatize, Skrenka said his staff can easily identify customers entering who are under the influence of drugs and, sadly, are easy to spot when shoplifting due to the effect of drugs.
“We have about 30 cameras in here and can spot a lot of things, it’s pretty clear why some people come here,” Skrenka said.
Overall, they’ve had an increase in negative encounters with shoplifters. But safety comes first, knowing what happened at the Home Hardware on Oak Bay Avenue in early August, when an employee was assaulted for attempting to interrupt shoplifters.
“I’m adamant that we don’t approach [shoplifters], it’s not worth risking the safety of our staff or others,” Skrenka said. “If we catch people, we ban them from the store.”
The Pharmasave incident was among the calls to Oak Bay Police between Nov. 9 to 15.
Oak Bay police were pleased to note there were no reports during that period of theft from automobiles, a rarity, however, not all calls are reported.
On Nov. 9 an Oak Bay police officer stopped a driver at Fort Street and Foul Bay Road.
The 20-year-old man driving, with an N license, was determined to be driving impaired and breaching previous driving conditions. He was issued a 90-day driving prohibition, had his vehicle impounded for 30 days and was issued two tickets for violating his driving licence conditions, said Deputy Chief Mark Fisher.
On Nov. 11 there was a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Cadboro Bay Road and Florence Street when a 56-year-old man drove through a red light.
“A [driver traveling] eastbound on Cadboro Bay Road drove through a red light and hit another vehicle causing significant damage,” Fisher said.
The driver was issued a ticket.
Oak Bay police were highly active on Friday, Nov. 13. They arrested a 33-year-old man in the 3400-block of Henderson Road for an outstanding warrant of “theft under $5,000,” Fisher said.
A police officer also unexpectedly entered a “plume” of pepper spray on Nov. 13 while responding to a report of bicycle theft.
The 51-year-old man who made the report was arrested, and subsequently released, for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Oak Bay police also responded to the reported theft of bicycle from a household in the 2000-block of Oak Bay Avenue.
“The complainant advised that his [full-suspension] bicycle was stolen from inside his suite,” Fisher said.