Store owner turns to Facebook to identify shoplifter

by: Jeff Smith Updated:


MONROE, N.C. - A store owner in Monroe discovered jewelry worth hundreds of dollars was missing from her shop Wednesday and told Eyewitness News she was shocked by what she found on the surveillance cameras.

The suspected thief, an older woman with white curly hair, was in The Renn's Nest for nearly 90 minutes Tuesday afternoon checking out jewelry and chatting with the employees.

She looked unassuming, and the store owner admits she didn't pay her much attention. But the video shows the woman taking jewelry and putting it in her purse.

"I would never have thought that she'd be the one to take the things," said Renn Farmer, owner of The Renn's Nest.

Farmer had no clue who the woman was, so she turned to her customers to help identify her. The Renn's Nest has more than 3,700 followers on Facebook.

"It makes you very angry, because here we are, I'm a small businesswoman, and what we bring in each day goes to pay bills and keeps the store going," Farmer said. "So I thought, well, let's put her on Facebook and just see if anyone knows her. So we posted her picture and within two or three minutes we got our first phone call."

Farmer said 69-year-old Josephine Murdock stole $500 worth of rings, bracelets and watches.

She told Eyewitness News she called Murdock on Wednesday and told her they had her on video. Farmer said Murdock returned to the store and gave her $500 cash. Farmer agreed not to press charges.

"I guess my heart was a little big," Farmer said. "I felt bad for her, bless her heart. I told her she needed to get help."

Eyewitness News called Murdock on Wednesday night. She kept repeating the two phrases, "This matter is over and done with," and "I've already settled this issue," before she hung up the phone.

Farmer filed a police report banning Murdock from the store, and she could be charged with trespassing if she returns.

The Renn's Nest is giving back to its Facebook followers by offering them a free necklace bead at the store.

This isn't the first time The Renn's Nest asked its Facebook followers to help them catch a suspected thief.

Back in March, the store asked its customers to help identify a woman who stole bracelets. From Facebook tips, Monroe police arrested the woman the next day and charged her with shoplifting.