Amid upsurge in daring thefts, community rallies around store clerk at the center of viral video

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A video is spreading on social media and shows a Kailua supermarket worker trying to stop a potential shoplifter.

The video was released after concerns were raised that the clerk could be fired for doing what she did.

However, the incident also highlights a growing number of daring thieves that stores are tired of dealing with.

Shoppers and employees at the Times supermarket in Kailua knew something was wrong when there was a big disturbance in the wine aisle – with swearing, yelling and broken glass bottles.

Video shows a man apparently trying to steal expensive bottles of wine when an employee confronted him on Wednesday afternoon.

“I was heading over to the checkout line and that’s when it broke. And so I turned on the camera, ”said Daniela Stolfi, a regular at the store.

Stolfi said she was a longtime employee, Gina Kekahuna.

She was holding the man’s backpack, even as he continued to yell curses like her and other workers. But Kekahuna refuses to let him shoplift.

“It was shocking. It was really intense, ”said Stolfi. “And I give him credit. I give them all the credit. These women have just taken action.

In the video, Kekahuna is finally able to remove the bag from the man, who is still screaming as they try to get him to leave. But he left behind a pile of broken glass and spilled wine.

“I was not surprised that the person stole something. We see this every day in stores, ”said Retail Merchants of Hawaii President Tina Yamaki.

She said this type of crime increases as thieves become more brazen and are usually fired with a warning.

In this case, Honolulu Police said the man had received a trespass warning. Sources said he had already done so.

“When we go to court, these guys, the criminals usually tell us, ‘We’ll see you in your store in a few hours.’ And of course, in a few hours, they’re back in stores robbing them, ”Yamaki said.

Many people online have praised Kekahuna. But many also remember what happened to Summer Tapasa after arresting a potential thief at Aiea Best Buy in December 2019.

Tapasa was fired.

Kekahuna feared the same fate, so she chose not to speak. However, Times Supermarket posted a post on social media, claiming that Kekahuna will continue to work for the company.

Stolfi launched a GoFundMe page for Kekahuna when it was believed she would be suspended or fired. Now that that doesn’t appear to be the case, Stolfi has stated that the money raised will always go to Kekahuna for whatever she might need.

“We thought she deserved a vacation and her own glass of wine and all that,” Stolfi said.

“Aunt Gina ended the party that day, and I hope she made him fear that he would never try again.”

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.