Jaunty thief really isn’t camera shy

Growing trend of crime footageposted on social networking sites

Two CCTV videos showing thieves in action have emerged on social media sites in recent days, the latest examples of crime victims in Malta turning to the internet for help in catching criminals.

Security camera footage was uploaded on You Tube on Monday showing a thief saunter into the premises of Summit Importers and Distributors in Tal-Balal, limits of San Ġwann, just before 1pm that same day.

Wearing a white flat cap and dark blazer with a magazine or newspaper in one hand, the jaunty thief appears not to have a care in the world in the footage taken on several cameras.

He is first seen outside, then wandering through an empty warehouse past building materials, and finally entering an empty office, where he opens a drawer and removes a wad of notes totalling around €4,000.

Tucking the booty into his blazer, he then struts out as easily as he arrived.

The seeming ease with which he was able to commit the crime prompted viewers on and You Tube to suggest it was staged or an inside job.

But Summit Importers and Distributors managing director Matthew Sammut said this was definitely not the case.

“We have two stores next to each other. We were extremely unfortunate that as I entered one, it seems he (the thief) entered the other,” said Mr Sammut.

He added that none of his employees recognised the thief, who was also recorded on CCTV entering the premises of several other companies in Tal-Balal the same day, though nothing else was stolen.

The police confirmed it was investigating the theft and had informed the duty magistrate who ordered an inquiry. In a separate incident, Facebook user Nisrine Axisa uploaded security camera footage on her Facebook account last Monday showing a man stealing a mobile phone from a shop from High Street, Sliema.

The man and a woman are seen entering and exploring what appears to be a shop storage area several times without being disturbed.

After nearly five minutes they appear to be ready to leave empty-handed, but the man then returns one final time, removes a mobile phone from its charger in an office and walks away with his prize.

The Facebook user who posted the video did not respond to this newspaper’s request for more details.

Questions sent to the police about the video also remained unanswered at the time of going to print.

The videos form part of a growing trend of crime victims and witnesses posting CCTV or camera phone footage to the internet to publicise offences.

Last week, a 28-year-old man from Cottonera was jailed after being reported to the police by someone who recognised him on security camera footage mugging a woman in Sliema. The video was uploaded on You Tube.

Back in February 2011, a man posted footage of a woman being beaten in Balluta on You Tube. The aggressor was later arrested by police but the victim refused to press charges.

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