WATERLOO, IL. – After customers stole from a small business in Waterloo, Illinois, the owner of that business gave them an ultimatum – return the merchandise by a certain date or she will press charges.
In surveillance video, you can hear Kimberly Luke, the owner of Small Town Style Boutique, greet two customers who walked into her clothing store.
“As soon as they walked in, I approached them and asked if they were looking for anything if they needed any help shopping,” Luke explained.
Luke believed the video showed a mother and daughter shopping together, because, at one point, the younger woman referenced “her mom.”
“There were items off this rack that she was putting into the dressing room to try on,” Luke explained as she showed 5 On Your Side where the clothing racks were located in relation to the dressing room area.
Later, the same mother from the surveillance video grabbed her stomach and said she was not feeling well. Luke directed her to the bathroom, while her daughter tried on clothing in the dressing room. When the mother returned from the bathroom, she left the store. Five minutes later, the daughter’s phone rang.
“She is on the phone with the mother and I can hear the mother screaming, ‘let’s go now,’” said Luke.
While Luke rang up another customer, she described the daughter leaving the store in a huff.
“Was bolting to the door basically,” Luke described. “And she said 'I'm sorry my mom’s not feeling, I'm sorry, I'll be back.’"
Luke said she had a bad feeling. Sure enough, she found $176 in clothing missing from the dressing room. Police suggested she file charges immediately. But, Luke decided on another option instead.
She posted an ultimatum to Facebook, giving the women a chance to redeem themselves by noon on Wednesday. The duo never returned the clothes, so Luke shared the footage with both the public and police.
“I want to see the good in everyone and I know mistakes happen and it didn’t happen the next day,” she said.
Luke said the women have called her, but have not returned the merchandise. Now, the case is in the hands of the Waterloo Police Department.
Luke told 5 On Your Side that, as soon as she posted the surveillance footage to Facebook, she heard from five local businesses who had recognized the women and had had similar experiences.