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Gulf Breeze business owner reacts to shoplifting

Photo source: WEAR-TV

Some small businesses offer big sales, but the deals weren't good enough for two women who police say hid merchandise and left without paying.

"One of them had a sunhat on and a lot of heavy make-up and they decided to steal about $500 worth of merchandise," said Gibson Clothing store owner James Schulte.

The shoplifting happened Wednesday around 2:45 p.m.

The video shows two women stuffing items into large hand bags.

"We would love to have our merchandise back, we would love to but even more importantly is when you steal from a small business it takes away our ability to reinvest in the community and that is what is most unfortunate," Schulte said.

Schulte said with the images from several cameras they were able to retrace the women's steps and determine what was missing.

"As small businesses we don't have as much capital, generally speaking, to invest in sensor tag systems," Schulte said. "And unfortunately that leads to a lot of thieves targeting locally owned businesses."

Though eyes can't be everywhere at once, Schulte hopes more security cameras and a bigger space will help put an end to the thefts.

"We've been open for seven years and we have been waiting on this expansion to happen, but until it happens, we had to fit as much merchandise as we could, which was the only system we could come up with," Schulte said.

In the offense report, the Gulf Breeze Police Department (GBPD) said two officers responded west bound to try and intercept the "gray Honda-type, four-door vehicle," the two women allegedly left the scene driving.

One of the officers was reportedly able to get a look at the vehicle and capture its image attempting to evade police on a car-dash camera.

But according to the offense report, a stop of the vehicle was not conducted due to "the lag in formation and description of the individuals."

Gulf Breeze Police Chief Rick Hawthorne said the GBPD is continuing to investigate the thefts and asks that anyone with information on the two women contact police.

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