Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Accused of shoplifting and told she 'looked dodgy'

Christina Victor hoped to have a nice afternoon at an Auckland mall to celebrate her sisters' 15th birthday.

But the 19-year-old says the day was ruined when she was pointed at, laughed at and told she "looked dodgy" while being wrongly accused of shoplifting a pair of shoes from Glassons clothing store.

Glassons chief operating officer Stuart Duncan said he was "satisfied staff followed the correct procedure" and that the matter was being investigated.


Miss Victor went to Westfield Mall in Henderson with her family after church on Sunday .

She said she spent about a minute in the Glassons store before leaving.

A security guard outside then asked Miss Victor if she could come back into the store.

"People were pointing at me while I was being walked back in.

"[The attendant] asked me where I got my heels from. I said they were my sisters and she said 'are you sure?'

"She thought I'd taken them because a pair had gone missing," Miss Victor said.

Other store attendants and the security guard then joined in the interrogation, Miss Victor told the Herald.

"They said the shoes looked new and pointed to the barcode still on them.

"My hands were shaking and I felt like crying. They were staring at me like a piece of meat.

"The shoes are new, my sister bought them and the only other time I'd worn them was to church the week before.

"I'm a Catholic. Stealing is in the Ten Commandments; it's a big no-no," she said.

She said the attendants and security guard realised they couldn't prove she had taken the shoes so she left.

"They didn't apologise. I went and found my mum and told her what happened.

"When we all went back into the store, the attendant told mum: 'I don't know her but she looked dodgy'", Miss Victor said.

"I could see them laughing when I walked back past the store. I went to the car and cried, I felt so humiliated.

"I used to love going to the mall and going to Glassons but I don't think I'll be going to either again."

Miss Victor's father said a Glassons regional manager called to apologise yesterday but he said it was too late.

"They should have apologised [on Sunday]."

Glassons' Stuart Duncan said head office was aware of the incident.

"We are satisfied that our staff followed the correct procedure. The matter is being investigated. As this is an ongoing investigation we are unable to comment any further."

When pressed to confirm if it was an internal investigation or if it had been referred to police, Mr Duncan would not comment.

"It's being investigated," he said.

Mistaken for a shoplifter

2016 - A woman was offered a part-time part-time job and money by a clothing store after it wrongly shamed her online for shoplifting.

The shop posted security-camera photos of the girl and two youths on its Facebook "Wall of Shame" under the text, "These people forgot to pay for their items."

2016 - Tattoo artist, Trinity Ropiha, received an apology from Owhata Surgery after it denied a doctor's appointment for his son because they wrongly believed he had stolen goods from their surgery.

Mr Ropiha said he had tried to book a doctors appointment for his son when he was told the company had security footage of him stealing a doctor's wallet and phone on his last visit. His son's appointment was also denied. He was later ruled out as a suspect by police after they viewed the security footage.

2014 - Countdown Dinsdale wrongly accused a pregnant woman of shoplifting over an in-store intercom.

Hamilton woman, Rikki Cooper, was doing her weekly shopping in July 2014 when she and other shoppers heard a female staff member describe her as a "Maori girl" who needed to be watched. The store later denied the incident had taken place.

2014 - A mother of four was wrongly accused of shoplifting at the Warehouse on John Goulter Drive, Auckland after she went into the store to buy some underwear. Upon exiting the store with her purchases, Irie Te Wehi-Takerei said police were waiting for her.

They told she'd put the underwear in her bag, she said.

2014 - Tana Puru received an apology from a Hamilton Countdown after it mistook her for a shoplifter. Ms Puru was shopping with her 13-year-old son when staff pointed at her and told her to leave. They later offered the duo chocolates by way of apology.

- NZ Herald

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