Nyeri supermarket finds unique way to catch shoplifters

Monday March 14 2016

The proprietor of Kasturi supermarket in Nyeri has resorted to using staff perched on high stools to spot shoplifters. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The proprietor of Kasturi supermarket in Nyeri has resorted to using staff perched on high stools to spot shoplifters. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By FAITH NYAMAI
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The proprietor of a Nyeri supermarket has resorted to a unique way to stop shoplifting.

Mr Patel Didakkumar Chimannlal of Kasturi Supermarket has ordered a set of employees to sit on six-foot high stools to spot shoplifters and pickpockets.

This is besides having CCTV cameras inside the premises.

The employees are strategically assigned to sit on the high stools at the back of each row to watch and monitor shoppers.

According to the supermarket owner, Mr Didakkumar this is his way of ensuring security for his goods and protecting customers from pickpockets, adding that CCTV cameras are not sufficient to catch pickpockets and shoplifters especially during peak hours.

“When customers flock in the supermarket, it is so difficult to know those who have good intentions and those who have bad intentions. So my surveillance employees will easily catch any one who is trying to steal either from the shop or from other customers,” Mr Didakkumar explained.

Each of the rows at the supermarket is manned by two employees.

One enjoys an aerial view from the high stools, while the other keeps watch on the floor while assisting customers.

“We keep rotating among ourselves such that at no one point will the surveillance seats be left without anyone keeping watch of each row” said an employee.

Mr Didakkumar’s surveillance system is also meant to ensure his employees are “awake and alert” as they could easily fall in case they fall asleep.

Asked why he resorted to the extreme measure, Mr Chimannlal explained how a customer, who was shopping at another supermarket in Nyeri where he used to work before opening the Kasturi, lost a phone to a pickpocket.

“After intensive investigations and tracking, the phone was found with a person in Nairobi. That’s when my idea was born.” he said.

“When I moved to this supermarket in 2002, I decided that I will employ all techniques possible to keep away shoplifters and pickpockets. I contracted a mechanic who made these stools and I have been able to keep away these kind of thieves.”

Mr Didakkumar said since he introduced this method, his customers are always safe and can shop without any fear.

Recently two women were arrested at Mathari supermarket in Murang’a after they were catch shoplifting on a CCTV camera.

Supermarket chains have in the past complained of losing goods worth billions of shillings annually to shoplifters.

Crimes range from the theft of a few items by individual shoppers to organised gangs that lift huge quantities of goods.

The Retail Trade Association of Kenya estimated last year that major retailers across the country could be losing Sh3.5 billion worth of stock annually.