A chain of regional IGA stores are facing an increasing trend of teenage theft and threats towards staff, leaving owners no choice but to kick them out.
A chain of IGA stores in Geraldton, a coastal city four hours north of Perth, is facing an increasing trend of petty theft and threats towards staff.
In an effort to combat the issue, the owners of the Rigters, Queens, and Wonthella IGA stores have decided to restrict entry to unsupervised children after 6pm.
The stores have now posted signage that reads, “Any unsupervised children may be asked to leave or refused entry/service during school hours and after 6pm.”
The retailer claims it is hit with an average of 35 cases of shoplifting per week, often at the hands of repeat offenders.
General manager Kyme Rigter spoke to 6PR Perth about the decision, stating, “Theft and shoplifting have always been a part of retail. But we have noticed over the last four or five months that it has definitely increased.”
He went on to explain that the group has no choice but to implement this drastic measure in an attempt to reduce the trend of petty theft and threats towards staff.
“Unfortunately, we have seen a steady increase on the juvenile activity – anti-social and theft,” Mr Rigter said.
He added that unsupervised children will not only be restricted from the stores during school hours, but staff members will also monitor the entrance and report suspicious activity to management.
In case of any violation, the under-16 children would be escorted out of the store.
He also highlighted that there have been incidents where children were sent into the stores by parents to steal goods, calling it “pretty poor behaviour”.
Mr Rigter estimated the yearly losses could be as high as $150,000 as a result.
This move by the IGA stores follows a recent controversy sparked by a Perth Hungry Jack’s outlet after it decided to stop serving people under 17 without parental supervision due to a recent spate of violence from teenagers.
The sign posted on the glass doors of the chain’s Whitford store quickly went viral on social media, attracting a lot of attention and comments.
Casual store manager John Castillo explained the restaurant’s staff were allegedly being harassed by teenagers and the ban was imposed to protect employees.
However, police could not confirm any of the reports. A Hungry Jack’s spokesman stated that the sign had since been removed.
Geraldton locals took to social media to praise the grocer’s move to protect staff.
“We all pay more because of a few. Good call IGA,” one wrote.
“Should be the norm, not the exception, and all stores should do the same,” another added.
“You should never have to put up with that so I can’t blame you for doing this,” said another.
Extracted from News.com.au