A thief who made off with several packets of sausages, bacon and other meat goods from the Marewa Four Square shop in Napier early yesterday morning returned about three hours later "to clear out what was left", shop manager CJ Fu said.

And the woman shoplifter was no stranger to Mr Fu as he recognised her as a person he had confronted outside the Kennedy Rd shop a few months ago after he suspected she had stolen something. On that occasion she handed a couple of items back and he left it at that - but yesterday she was in no mood to hand anything over.

She had also returned with a man who grabbed and held Mr Fu so she could make off - although he was able to break free and give chase. The woman first went into the shop around 7.30am. After she had left Mr Fu said staff noticed there were items missing from the meat cabinet. So he started going through the store's CCTV recording footage and when he spotted what had happened had a pretty good idea who she was.

"She is on the active shoplifters' list," he said.


And it was while he was examining the footage just after 9.30am that he spotted something on the live camera screen - it was the same woman who this time was in the company of a man - and they headed back toward the meat cabinet. He went out and confronted them.

"She denied that she had taken anything but I saw a packet of bacon poking out of her jacket and grabbed it - then there was a bit of a struggle."

She had been using her large puffer jacket to conceal the items. At one stage, as he tried to wrestle away from her companion, she struck him. She ran outside and down Kennedy Rd into Nuffield Ave and after Mr Fu was able to break free he took off after her after telling a staff member to get on the phone to the police.

Two teenage girls had just left the shop only minutes earlier and had sat down nearby when they saw a person dash out of the shop and down the footpath.

"She was sort of tubby and had a black hoodie on," one said.

"Then the manager came out and chased her down the street and around the corner - he came back later in a police car."

Mr Fu said at one stage he saw the woman dash into the middle of the road with her arms outstretched.

"People had to stop - she got into a van that stopped but the driver refused to take her - she was begging him to take her."

Just before the police arrived on the scene she managed to get a lift. The man had also made off.

He only managed to get a small amount of the meat back and estimated about $90 to $100 worth had gone. In the six years he has owned the Marewa Four Square it was one of the worst incidents he had been confronted with.

"To think they could come back and do it again - it is not good."

He had also been assaulted during a confrontation with a woman shoplifter five years ago and on that occasion was left with bruises and a cut to one hand. While he was not hurt this time he said the two staff on were "a bit shaken". A police spokesperson said they were aware of the woman's identity and were now seeking her.