Jeweler Uses Facebook to Catch Shoplifter

Renn Farmer, owner of the Renn’s Nest in Monroe, N.C., used Facebook to help her catch an elderly suspect who had stolen from her store on Sept. 18.
 
Farmer noticed that some of her store’s merchandise was missing on Sept. 19, prompting her to review surveillance footage. When examining the security camera tape, Farmer detected the unlikely thief placing jewelry into her purse.
 
“I’ve been in business for 12 years and just installed cameras this year,” Farmer says. “It has proved to be a very wise investment.”
 
After posting a picture of the white-haired suspect on the company’s Facebook page, “within two minutes somebody was able to identify her and even give us her phone number,” Farmer says.
 
The 69-year-old woman had walked out with more than $500 dollars worth of accessories, including rings, necklaces, watches, and scarves.
 
“She is an elderly woman,” Farmer says. “I had a heart and allowed her to pay back the money for the items instead of pressing charges, however stealing is still not right.”
 
Extending gratitude to their customers, the Renn’s Nest will run a special “Busted Again” promotion Sept. 20, offering discounts and free beads to anyone who wears white and black. “We are a small community and want to thank all of our Facebook fans,” Farmer says.
 
“When jewelers share information with each other, or with the police, or with the public, good things can happen,” says John Kennedy, president of Jewelers’ Security Alliance. “Sharing information through social networking is rapid, reaches a friendly and interested audience, and, in this case, obviously worked. The value of sharing surveillance photos and videos of suspects has proven to have especially successful results.”

This incident marks the second time Farmer has relied on the detective skills of her customers and utilized social media to catch a thief. In March, Farmer posted a picture of another suspect on Facebook. Within an hour, a customer recognized the photo, leading Farmer to press charges the next day. “Facebook has been good for advertising and promotion, and for us it’s also been a way to catch shoplifters,” she says. “Social media is very powerful.”