Grocery 'thief' choked by Woolies employee in footage
DRAMATIC footage of an alleged shoplifter being choked on the ground by staff of a Maroochydore supermarket store is being reviewed by management.
A witness provided the Daily with footage which shows two Woolworths employees in branded shirts, a woman and a security guard holding down an alleged shoplifter at Big Top Shopping Centre last week.
One of the employees is seen with his hand around the 20-year-old man's throat at the beginning of the clip, while three other people hold his arms and legs.
The witness, a former Woolworths employee, was outraged by the behaviour of staff, saying he tried to stop them.
"I continuously yelled to get his hand off, then I got my phone out and the manager tells the employee to stop choking him," the witness said.
Sunshine Coast police were called to the centre about 9pm last Thursday after the man allegedly stole food, milk and tobacco items before running out the doors.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said as the man ran, he dropped a carton of milk he allegedly stole and slipped over before security apprehended him.
A Woolworths representative said the man was "threatening the safety" of customers and the team, so they called police to deal with his "abusive behaviour".
The footage shows the man flail on the ground before he is restrained by the security guard.
He was taken to Sunshine Coast University Hospital with minor injuries.
The witness said he was shocked to watch employees intervene, which he said was not a part of the "protocol if someone steals".
While Woolworths did not comment on the correct procedure when dealing with theft, the representative said the footage was being reviewed.
"We're reviewing the incident with our team members and have assisted police with their investigation," they said.
The 20-year-old Chermside West man was charged with stealing and will appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on May 8.