Police are defending a decision to ask the family of a Christchurch handbag theft victim to organise security camera footage in a bid to identify the offender.
Violet Fraser, 84, had her handbag containing $1140 stolen from Westfield Riccarton on Sunday. She had mistakenly left it under a seat near Wendy's Supa Sundaes.
The money was to pay her rates and insurance accounts.
When she returned with her daughter, Mandy Fraser, 50, moments later it was gone.
An hour later mall security found the handbag in the women's toilets. The money was gone.
The police were contacted and on Wednesday the Frasers received a letter from them asking Mandy Frasher to arrange with Westfield to get the CCTV footage and send it to a police website.
The letter also asked for Mandy Fraser to identify where they were in the mall and what they were wearing.
The letter told Mandy Fraser to arrange for the mall to "upload still photos from video footage" and send it to police. It said she should tell mall management not to "dispose" of the original video footage "unless instructed to do so".
The letter also said if police didn't receive CCTV footage the theft complaint would be filed - effectively no further investigation.
Mandy Fraser told The Star she was upset police had asked her to seek out CCTV footage which might have been able to identify the thief. She believes it is the police's job to do that.
After The Star made inquiries with the police on Wednesday about the situation they contacted Westfield themselves for the CCTV footage.
The footage did not identify an offender.
A Christchurch police spokeswoman said asking Mandy Fraser to source the CCTV footage was the logical thing to do in this case.
As there were multiple CCTV cameras in the mall the only way of accurately pinpointing which one had possibly captured the theft was to get the Frasers to liaise directly with the mall.
Otherwise the police would have had to have taken the Frasers back to the mall.
"If we contacted them what are we going to ask for? We would have to bring her back in to do it. It is easier if they do it because they know where they were at what time.
"This means the footage received is likely to be more of value than if requested by police," the spokeswoman said.
She also said the theft highlighted how careful people needed to be when they left handbags unattended.
People should also think twice about carrying large amounts of money, she said.
Mandy Fraser said her mother didn't like using Eftpos and had withdrawn the money from a bank at the mall shortly before the theft.