Video captured the arrest of a woman in Not For Long last year. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey sting ends with dropped charges

Shop owner frustrated with outcome after videotaping regular customer

A South Surrey shop owner learned last weekend that charges laid after a woman was videotaped last year stuffing children’s shoes into a bag have been dropped.

Laura Woroniecki, owner of Not For Long in Ocean Park, said she was told by White Rock RCMP that charges were dropped but was not given an explanation.

White Rock RCMP confirmed to Peace Arch News Friday that both charges had been dropped but did not say why.

Two charges of theft under $5,000 were made after the Feb. 20, 2017 arrest.

At the time of arrest, White Rock RCMP Const. Chantal Sears told PAN that a woman “was in possession of many items, new with tags from various businesses. Police are contacting those businesses to see if, in fact, the items were stolen or purchased legitimately.”

A statement on Not For Long’s Facebook page, posted Thursday evening, said: “I wonder if it helped that her husband was VPD.”

Woroniecki told PAN Friday that the woman, a regular at the maternity and children’s consignment store, mentioned to employees on more than one occasion that her husband was a police officer with Vancouver Police Department, and repeated this to the arresting officer.

Woroniecki said she confirmed with a friend on the VPD that the claim was true.

The 2017 arrest was made after employees set up a sting operation, having had 75 pairs of shoes – worth approximately $3,500 – stolen in the previous year, Woroniecki said.

Employees had invited the woman – who they suggested was a serial shoplifter – to the store and hid cameras around the stop, including one inside a shoe-box. Woroniecki was next door, watching the cameras on a live-stream; the only employee working the counter purposely kept her back to the merchandise.

“You saw her take the shoe, hold it down beside her, walk around, and then she would just pop it in her bag and keep looking at something else,” Woroniecki told PAN, noting this was done three times in less than two minutes.

“She left the building with the shoes. At that point, I contacted the RCMP and I went outside and said that I’ve been watching the whole time you’ve been in my store, I saw what happened, I know what’s in your bag.”

Woroniecki said the woman was in the process of emptying her bag into her vehicle, and that RCMP were there within 20 seconds.

Woroniecki said she overhead the arresting officer speaking to the suspect.

“He said, ‘you’re not very good at this as that you’ve been arrested already three times,’” she said.

“We submitted the tape to them afterwards, they were amazing. The RCMP, 100 per cent, were on our side,” she said. “I’m so happy with what the RCMP did.”

Woroniecki said, however, that the situation has caused her to lose faith in the courts, but she understands it’s considered a petty theft.

“I understand how it works – the courts don’t have the time.”

She noted that after the arrest, the store hasn’t had a single item go missing.

“I can put two and two together,” Woroniecki said.

Contacted Friday, a spokesperson for BC Prosecution Service said he will look into the case and get back to PAN.

 

Laura Woroniecki, owner of Not For Long in Ocean Park, stands behind a wall of shoes in her store Friday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack

Family Day weekend powwow a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Lucas Mannes and Calgary Dinos through to Canada West basketball semi-finals

The GW Graham grad helped his Dinos drop the Winnipeg Wesmen in a playoff series last weekend.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Chilliwack Chiefs end BCHL regular season with meaningless road trip

The regular season champs travel to Prince George this weekend with nothing on the line.

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read