Brave Rhonda is a ‘have a go hero’

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A have-a-go hero wrestled with a man she suspected of stealing from her shop in Portadown town centre on Tuesday – and he ended up in police custody later

in the day.

Rhonda Woods, joint owner of ‘The Bottom Drawer’ at Magowan Buildings, discovered that a number of pink jeans went missing from her stock. She checked her security camera recording, and it appeared that a man had taken the garments.

She remembered a man – a foreign national – being in the shop. “He was distinctly dressed, and I thought he might be headed for Woodhouse Street where foreign nationals congregate.”

When Rhonda arrived at Woodhouse Street she saw a man, among others, who fitted the description of the alleged shoplifter – he was holding a black bag similar to the one carried by the man on the security screen.

“I grabbed the bag and told him I suspected him of the theft, which he denied,” she said. “I had a bit of a tug’o’war with him, but I was determined to get the bag. I scorched my hand as we pulled at the straps, but I got it away from him.”

When she opened the bag, she discovered two pairs of pink jeans inside, as well as items which appeared to be drugs associated – white material wrapped in silver foil and a syringe. An Eastern European name was also written near the top of the bag and a mobile

telephone number.

She called in Alderman Robert Smith to help in the situation and they phoned the police. The PSNI arrived later in the day and took away the bag and its contents, as well as the security tape.

Rhonda said, “We have been trading in Magowan Buildings for eight years, and I have confronted seven or eight shoplifters

in the past.”

Mr Smith said, “Rhonda is one brave lady, and while I wouldn’t recommend having a go like this, she has to be commended. Shoplifting is endemic in Portadown. The public and the police will have to co-operate to put a stop to it.”

Meanwhile, the police have confirmed they have arrested a 26 year old man “following the theft of clothing from a shop on

West Street.”

Their statement added, “At 1.13pm on Tuesday, police received a report of a male making off with clothing from business premises. A member of staff followed and retrieved two pairs of jeans. Police later arrested a man on Park Road, and he is currently assisting

with enquiries.”