AM hosts have shared their stories of witnessing brazen supermarket thefts as the country grapples with a wave of retail crime.
Recently Countdown revealed it was removing cigarettes from its stores when they are closed over concerns about the increase in crime.
On Monday morning, AM host Ryan Bridge was discussing a recent supermarket trip where he said people seemed to be buying less – which he assumed was because of high inflation and increasing interest rates.
This prompted newsreader Nicky Styris to reveal she had recently seen someone steal from a supermarket for the first time.
“I was walking into Countdown in Meadowbank to go and get a few things and a man walked out with his trolley looking very happy with himself,” Styris said. “He was being hotly pursued by a worker from the store and she was trying to stop him and he was basically walking out with a trolley full of goods that he had not paid for and he did not even stop and she could do nothing.”
Fill-in host Laura Tupou said she had also seen more people stealing from supermarkets recently, including a woman who walked out with a pack of cigarettes and an older man who took a piece of fruit from the free section for kids.
“I went to the supermarket one day and I hardly ever see people stealing until recently, but I saw two people stealing in one shop. The first guy was an elderly gentleman… and he had his newspaper under his arm and he went over and grabbed a banana and tucked it in there and that was sad, that was like he can’t afford food, and he’s stealing the free stuff so you kind of don’t feel as bad,” Tupou said.
“Then later I was at the checkout, and you know how they have the little ads for babysitters or whatever, the community noticeboard, there was a woman standing there looking at them and had a whole big thing of toilet paper. The checkout operator was looking over because it would be easy to just slip out and sure enough she did. But that’s sad.”
Bridge said it is sad but instead of stealing people should be going to Work and Income or a local charity and asking for help.
Bridge also revealed a Countdown worker called Michelle had emailed the show saying thefts are “out of control”.
“We as a team are not allowed to approach a shoplifter, it’s a blanket rule. The violence and abuse is growing towards our team. A few examples… someone has been punched, someone has been knocked over, someone has been stabbed and there are threats to ‘get you after work’,” she said in her email.
Watch the conversation above.