The boss of an Australian supermarket chain has defended his unconventional approach to stopping shoplifters, arguing more often than not, he is getting justice as a result.
Since 2021, John-Paul Drake, who runs Drakes Supermarkets, has been using sarcastic videos on Instagram to try and find those who steal from his stores.
He calls the clips “customer magic” – because like a magician, the customer in question is making an item “disappear”.
The videos have proven highly popular, with many generating tens of thousands of views online.
In the clips, Mr Drake appears in front of the CCTV footage and narrates as customers appear to stuff items into bags, pockets and in some cases, their pants.
In one clip, as a group of young people move through one Drakes store, appearing to take items off the shelves and fill their pockets, Mr Drake commentates on one member of the group, who is taking items from the shelves and placing them inside a Coles bag under his hoodie.
“This guy’s got more stuff stuffed that bag than Santa in his sack,” he said, later claiming in the video that man had been seen in his stores five times in just one month.
Commentating on another member of the group, he says: “Check out this eshay stuffing Ferreros in his pants.”
While some have criticised the Adelaide businessman for his approach, Mr Drake told A Current Affair he did not believe he was mocking the needy.
“I have people that say, ‘you shouldn’t be saying this, you’re a person of privilege … they’re just trying to feed their families’,” he said.
“They are not trying to feed their families with wagyu and grass-fed Angus pure steaks, the products taken are taken and sold on other marketplaces.
“If people are in need, go see a charitable organisation to help you out.”
Mr Drake told the program theft across his 65 supermarkets was costing the business more than $10 million a year.