A Victoria optometry store out nearly $10,000 after two brazen thefts last week is thanking the community for tips that led to an arrest Wednesday.
Victoria police confirmed an arrest was made after one alleged thief was identified from a surveillance video made public via local media. No names will be released until charges are approved.
“To say we are grateful to live and own a business in Victoria is a true understatement. We are very proud to be a part of this community,” said Mary Lou Newbold, who has owned Mayfair Optometric Clinic with her husband, Stephen Taylor, for 15 years.
On April 15, the Douglas Street store had more than $3,500 in high-end sunglasses stolen by what appeared in video footage to be a man who rode up on a bicycle and stuffed the merchandise into his clothes. The man had a distinctive neck tattoo.
Three days later, staff said, the same man returned to the store with a woman. While staff approached the man, the woman allegedly removed security locks from eight pairs of sunglasses worth more than $2,000 and slipped them into her bag.
The owners said with the cost of beefing up staff for security and replacing the products, they would be out about $10,000.
Both incidents were caught on video. The footage was forwarded to police, who said there were reports of similar thefts around town.
Newbold reached out to the public through local and social media. Police received a tip from mall security that the man in the video might be someone they had previously dealt with. Newbold said other tips came in from citizens and business owners.
“The response has been amazing. We received a phone call this morning from a woman who identified herself as a ‘concerned citizen,’ who had noticed someone selling Oakley sunglasses on UsedVictoria this morning,” Newbold said.
“The Esso service station across the street from us has the Times Colonist picture of the suspect and is sharing it with customers. I was so touched, and when I thanked her, she said, ‘We all have to stick together. This is our community.’ ”
Police told the store owners the man who was arrested was found with sunglasses in his possession. However, it has yet to be determined if they were stolen from Mayfair Optometric Clinic.