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South Walton Alleged Shoplifter Caught on Camera

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. - A few people in South Walton went on a weekend shopping spree but, they forgot the most important part of the shopping experience, paying. Business owners say, they're determined to catch the crooks.

After a string of shoplifting incidents took place this weekend at businesses along  Scenic 30a, merchants are banding together to catch these crooks by taking to social media.

"I think anytime businesses are forward thinking and look to reach out and try to prevent this thing, I think it's a good thing. It's a good use of social media," explained Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Walton County Sheriff.

One local owner, started an Instagram account called, @30aShoplifters, in hopes of catching the alleged thieves. She posted the security camera video on social media. She says, Instagram users identified the alleged shoplifter and the information is now in the hands of law enforcement. 

Business owners are hoping the public will help identify additional shoplifters.

"Everyone here works super hard. All of these people are business owners who have put in their time and resources with lots of years of building the business, so whenever you take from them, you are actually taking a portion of their life from them," shared Amber Austin, Employee.

Local business owner Renee Launiere says, she won't stand for someone stealing from her business. Launiere trains her staff to look for people in large crowds, someone wearing sunglasses indoors or wanting to try on several things at one time.

"Regardless of the price, shoplifting is a serious crime," warned Renee Launiere , Bijoux De Mer Fine Jewelry.

Walton County Sheriff's officials say, the best way to prevent shoplifting is to install security cameras, move merchandise away from doors, pay attention to shoppers and don't get distracted.

"We always say don't chase people out of the store. You know, it's not worth getting hurt over," said Sheriff Adkinson.

If you recognize one of these alleged shoplifters, you can remain anonymous and report it to the Walton County Sheriff's Office on their app or by calling (850) 267-2000. 

The Walton County Sheriff's Office advised business owners to re-address safety features and safety plans with employees and staff.


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