Despair as 40 vapes stolen in just one week at convenience store
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
Staff at a convenience store are concerned stolen vape pens may end up in the hands of underage users following a spate of incidents.
Woodside News Food and Wine, known locally as Caplan Stores, in Sprowston has had around 40 vapes stolen in the past week.
These vape pens - also known as Elf Bars - cost either £6.99 or £12.99 for the more expensive types.
Dee Kaplan, who works at the store in Salhouse Road, said the yobbos nicking the pens were confident and often came in with sunglasses on.
The shop is run by her mum, Rose Kaplan, who has witnessed the thefts on CCTV and handed the tapes over to the police to aid their investigation.
Miss Kaplan said: "It is not even about losing the money for us. We are just worried about what kids are doing these days.
"It's a concern that they may be given to kids her are underage. These thefts have been going on for a week and people keep trying to come back and steal more.
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"The people who are stealing them literally go behind the counter and they are very sure of themselves.
"They do not even care."
Some of the thefts took place around 6pm on Wednesday with further unsuccessful attempts to steal again on Thursday afternoon.
Miss Kaplan said she has seen one yob grab the vape pens after his accomplice distracted staff by purchasing chewing gum.
Police visited the shop earlier this week to speak to staff.
The family are now even considering purchasing a locked cabinet in an attempt to prevent further thefts.
Miss Kaplan said: "On one occasion a staff member was mopping the floor and the person who later grabbed some vapes was watching her.
"As soon as she went back to put the mop away, he went behind the counter and took loads of Elf Bars. We saw it later on CCTV.
"Usually we are in a good neighbourhood where we know most of the customers. We do have occasional minor things but apart from that it is normally fine."
Staff members are concerned that the vape pens will end up in the hands of children who cannot legally buy them.
A spokeswoman for Norfolk Police said the stolen vapes were worth around £200.
Anybody with information is asked to contact Norfolk Police quoting investigation number 36/55629/22.