News source from CTV News
Winnipeg police and consumer advocates are warning people to ask questions before they buy to avoid purchasing stolen goods.
Stats from the Winnipeg Police Service show a steady increase in shoplifting over the past three years, and businesses have taken action. In 2016, there were 1855 reported incidents of shoplifting. That number jumped to 2790 shoplifting incidents in 2017. In 2018, from January to November, there were 4465 incidents.
Cst. Jay Murray said many shoplifted items are sold through apps, online marketplaces and internet classifieds.
“It’s not just being used for consumption. This isn’t just people taking diapers for themselves. These people are taking diapers then turning to the internet to try to sell it,” Murray said.
“We see that with different kinds of food like meat. We even see that with milk online.”
Murray urged people to ask sellers to see proof of purchase like a photo of a receipt, and warned that stolen items could be confiscated by police.
“Even if you don’t know it to be stolen, if we track it down and determine it to be stolen we’re going to take that item. So you could be out whatever you purchased,” Murray said.
Both Winnipeg police and the Consumers’ Association of Canada Manitoba Branch stressed that buyers need to be aware before purchasing anything from apps, internet marketplaces and online classifieds.
Gloria Desorcy, executive director of Consumers’ Association of Canada Manitoba Branch, said if buyers come across someone selling large quantities of one item, to ask the seller where they got it and why they weren’t returning it to the store.
“Most stores in Manitoba take back stuff if you have bought it and you have a receipt,” said Desorcy.
“Why would you be selling it online if it’s completely sealed and new and you have purchased it. There could be reasons. But it’s a question.”
Desorcy also said that people should consider the health and safety perspective before purchasing any food items or personal products like makeup and perfume.
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