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Citizen's arrest caught on camera: Thief tackled, pinned to ground in downtown Auckland

Author
Raphael Franks,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Nov 2023, 4:31PM

Citizen's arrest caught on camera: Thief tackled, pinned to ground in downtown Auckland

Author
Raphael Franks,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Nov 2023, 4:31PM

A man who stopped an attempted shoplifter at a downtown Auckland supermarket by tackling the thief and pinning him to the ground has shared security footage of the incident.

But news publisher Todd Scott told the Herald he should not have had to intervene - instead, he believed security guards should be allowed to restrain disruptive people and shoplifters.

Scott, owner of National Business Review, said: “Imagine how different it would be if we actually had licensed security guards doing the job instead of kids in vests doing nothing but taking up space.

“I mean, he [the shoplifter] was compliant on the ground for at least 10 minutes - that is no exaggeration - so there was no reason they could not have come along and taken him away.”

The video shows Scott bagging his groceries at the Countdown Metro [now Woolworths Metro] on Lower Albert St before turning his attention to a man walking out with a box of alcohol without paying.

Within a second, Scott lunges at the attempted shoplifter and tackles him to the ground.

The offender tumbles backwards on to his back, dropping the alcohol, and Scott rolls him on to his front before straddling him and holding him there.

“I don’t know what I was thinking, but I fair tackled him,” he said immediately after it happened on September 13. “There were some questions about whether or not I played rugby. I’ve dreamed about it a lot.”

“I was just getting some refreshments and some warm treats for the boys down the road for the new office ... and this massive boof of a man was abusing the staff and stealing alcohol,” he said.

Scott’s heroism turned to surprise when police on the phone said they couldn’t turn up to arrest the offender and he should let him go.

Scott was also told he could be arrested for the citizen’s arrest.

“I invited the cop to arrest me if I had broken the law. He said I could be done for assault - but the victim [or] thief would have to lay charges.

“The moral of the story is don’t get involved.

“Then, about seven minutes later while I’m having a glass of water and in a state of shock, another guy did exactly the same thing [shoplifted] right in front of us.”

It highlighted, Scott said, the need for a public conversation about what security guards could do.

“I would have felt terrible had I done what the police told me to do [let the offender go], which I did, and then he had gone and stabbed somebody or smashed a bottle, you know, throated somebody.

“He was just left to walk the streets.”

Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.

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