Minutes after posting CCTV footage of a man stealing close to to $20,000 in military equipment on Facebook, Christchurch gun shop owner David Tipple was inundated with messages "naming and shaming" the alleged thief.

The man was captured on camera, grinning as he stole a 280840 ATN NVG7 Night Vision Head Unit valued at $17,999.

The CCTV footage was posted on Gun City's Facebook page of a couple they say were in their store on Sunday afternoon at 3.07pm.

The video shows a man leaning over the counter, taking an item and stuffing it in his jacket.

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Gun City Thief

Posted by Gun City Ltd on Monday, January 11, 2016

"Within 12 minutes of having it on social media we had the name of the guy," Mr Tipple said.

"When I went to bed last night we had 130 messages with people identifying him."

Mr Tipple said he passed the name on to police before shutting up shop yesterday and believed they were investigating now.

Video shows the couple entering the store Sunday afternoon. Photo / Gun City Facebook
Video shows the couple entering the store Sunday afternoon. Photo / Gun City Facebook

According to the messages Mr Tipple had received, the man was known to the police, was recently out of jail and one of the top 20 shoplifters in Christchurch.

He said the result of his Facebook post was excellent.

"It's amazing how quickly people want to name and shame."

Anyone who knows the couple is asked to come forward. Photo / Gun City Facebook
Anyone who knows the couple is asked to come forward. Photo / Gun City Facebook

Superintendent Lane Todd of Canterbury police confirmed police were following "good lines of inquiry" but could not comment on when he expected an arrest to be made.

"[Use of social media] has certainly helped and not just in this case. It's certainly a good investigative tool."