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Bondi Community Bands Together To Catch Thief

By Marcus Braid on June 5, 2015 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

Photo: Grant Brooks

Gertrude & Alice Café Bookstore owner Jane Turner has paid tribute to the Bondi community for banding together to help catch a thief.

A man dressed in a red hoodie, who has since been charged by police, stole shop takings directly off the counter at Gertrude & Alice in late April.

“You never really test your customer base, but Bondi has come out with flying colours,” Ms Turner said.

“When it does come under question, to know your community is there for you, that’s really what it was about for us.”

Ms Turner shared a photo taken from CCTV footage of the thief on Gertrude & Alice’s Facebook page, which was shared more than 4,000 times.

“[The thief] looked straight up into the camera,” Ms Turner said. “I put two photos up alongside each other and straight away it just went crazy. There were hundreds and hundreds of comments and all of a sudden I noticed the ‘shares’ happening.

“The whole story became about the community and how it worked together. Russell Crowe even ended up retweeting the whole thing and that started a whole lot of coverage, because he’s got millions of followers. The Bondi Rescue lifeguards did as well, and they’ve got hundreds and thousands of followers on Facebook.”

Ms Turner said she was buoyed by the display of community support.

“After 15 years you realise you’ve got customer loyalty, but I don’t know if it had ever been tested before,” she said.

“For me to have these people and all of the authors that follow us sharing [the post] and saying, ‘Go and buy a book and a coffee from Gertrude & Alice and help them recoup their losses’, I’m very grateful.”

Ms Turner is hopeful a similar incident does not happen to another business.

“It was never about the money,” she said. “It was about it never happening to another business, especially in winter time when we struggle a bit.”