A WOMAN walks into a supermarket, picks up a basket and wanders the aisles, picking up some groceries.
The woman (left) asks deli staff for a cooked chook and salads, piling up $100 worth of items as she makes her way to the front of the store.
It's routine - until she brazenly sprints to a waiting car, making no effort to pay for the groceries from the Centenary Heights shop.
Shoplifting has become too common at 5 Star Supermarket, and owner John Wilson is fed up.
Security footage clearly shows the woman calmly walk through the store about 6.10pm last Friday.
It also shows a worker's desperate bid to stop her and hold her to account, but the waiting vehicle made that impossible.
Now Mr Wilson has gone public in an effort to identify the woman, and put a stop to the increasingly brazen theft that is putting his, and his workers', livelihoods on the line.
"It has a huge financial impact," Mr Wilson said.
"People don't realise how little we make out of our stock and we're in one of the most competitive industries in Toowoomba.
"We're in a business where you try to keep prices as low as you can, not as high as you can, and our margins are quite narrow."
Mr Wilson estimated the woman's stolen grocery amount to be $100, one of the highest amounts to be taken at once.
"She took the shopping basket, took the stock, took the lot," he said.
"I could make 4% out of that $100 she stole, so that is $4 I can put towards power and wages and whatever that may be.
"As things get tighter and tighter, people are feeling the pinch but they don't understand that we're all feeling the pinch."
Mr Wilson said parents had made children caught stealing from the store clean-up on weekends, and while a step in the right direction in terms of punishment and justice, it didn't help him recover the financial cost.
Admittedly, he said, the value of items taken by children hovered around the $2 mark, far below the cost of the woman's theft.
"Anything that attacks your profits puts jobs at risk and we're in an industry where you work long hours," Mr Wilson said. "As things get tighter and tighter, your frustration levels get higher.
"If you are caught stealing a car and go to court, you don't get to keep the car but if you are caught stealing from a shop, you don't get made to give it back.
"I can't remember the last time I got any restitution."
Mr Wilson hopes going public will help identify the woman in the security footage which will then be passed on to police.
But he also hopes it will make people realise stealing jeopardises 12 people's jobs at the store.
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