Our cry baby of the week is an allegedly former recidivist shop-lifter who can’t go anywhere because shopkeepers won’t have her in¬†the¬†store…and somehow the retailers are being nasty.
Ursula Allen was being watched – and she knew it.
She’d walked into a large Christchurch department store with crime on her mind. Moments later the convicted shoplifter was tapped on the shoulder.
The game was up. Her face was known. Store security asked her to leave. And it finally dawned on her that her past had caught up with her.
A photo of her face was one of 15 on a police list of Christchurch’s most notorious shoplifters. The list shows active offenders throughout Canterbury from November 2014 and other known and suspected shoplifters.
The list, distributed to several Christchurch retailers, includes a former Christchurch gang leader. Shop owners say it is an important crime fighting tool.
Allen first became aware she was on the list after a trip to The Warehouse to buy Christmas presents. A staff member confronted Allen and asked her to leave, “due to my past.”
“She just came up to me and knew me.”
She said the experience was, “humiliating”, and does not think she deserves to be on the list alongside her 20-year-old daughter Ngaroma Baker who was released from prison last week, after spending two months inside for shoplifting.
“What I saw her doing was what I did when I was at that age after my grandmother died,” said Allen.
“I had no-one, so this is what she did, it was all for food and clothing to survive.”