Security cameras capture team of shoplifters at anime store in Aiea

Two of the thieves caught on camera
Two of the thieves caught on camera
Chung Tam
Chung Tam
Some of the goods for sale at the Mini Q store
Some of the goods for sale at the Mini Q store

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

AIEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The owner of a small business in Aiea says his surveillance system caught a team of shoplifters in the act Monday. Police have opened a fourth-degree theft investigation.

Japanese anime figurines, plush toys, cell phone straps and more. After a year of selling imported goods on the Internet, the owners of MiniQ opened a store at Aiea Town Center two years ago.

But having a physical location introduced a new problem -- shoplifters.

"Normally, nobody would steal this kind of stuff since it's something so small, too," Chung Tam, shop owner, said. "But I guess they were maybe desperate or something...or just want to have fun."

Between 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM Monday, Tam says five young people entered the store, stuffed merchandise in their pockets and bags, and left without paying for any of it.

"Total value, I think probably around like almost $200 or $200-plus," he said. "Majority are like key chains, lanyards, miscellaneous items."

He says it was a challenge to watch their every move because there were other customers in the shop and the suspects were working in concert.

"One would try to distract you, ask plenty questions," Tam said. "The other one would come in to join the conversation, while the others roam around the store."

But the four surveillance cameras in the store were watching. Tam says he filed a police report and turned his video over to investigators.

He hopes he can prevent this from happening to other retailers.

"Hopefully, the police can actually find them," he said.

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