Hero foils gem heist attempt

A man was arrested after attempting to steal jewelry from a store at Castletown shopping world.
A man was arrested after attempting to steal jewelry from a store at Castletown shopping world. Zak Simmonds

AN alleged jewellery thief was stopped in his tracks during a citizen's arrest at CastleTown Shopping Centre today.

Townsville man George Mackenzie said he was at the shops on Sunday about 12.30pm when he saw the 27-year-old Kelso man run from Wallace Bishop Jewellers with an expensive ring and two gold chains.

"He was in the jeweller shop and giving the sales attendant a hard time, then he walked out of the shop and tried to put the jewellery on," he said.

"She tried to hold him, but he just walked away. I followed him. As soon as he left the shop he started running."

Mr Mackenzie said the alleged thief made it about 30m before he reached him.

"I grabbed him and held him down until the coppers got there," he said.

"He called me some colourful names."

Mr Mackenzie said he did not fear for his own safety during the shopping centre chase. "I fear nothing. I'm an Australian - not an Australian, I'm a Queenslander," he said.

"He was a weak little turd who needs an attitude improvement. I'm a fairly big guy and he's a little guy."

Mr Mackenzie said security guards and police arrived to arrest the man.

"(They were) very thankful, and the shop owner, too. It was a very expensive ring," he said.

Mr Mackenzie said he was sick of Townsville's high rate of property crime.

"(I stopped him) because I'm Australian, and ... it doesn't matter who it is, you don't treat (people) how he treated the young attendant," he said.

"If we don't get rid of the drugs ... it's going to keep happening."

Although property crime in the region dropped 15 per cent from 2016 to last year, it remains higher per capita than in Brisbane.

"It's just one more (alleged criminal) - there's heaps of them out there," he said.

"They come in, with the young girl at the counter, and think they can just do whatever they like. I just did what normal people would have done."

A man was charged with stealing, enter premise with intent to commit indictable offence and robbery.

Topics:  citizens arrest editors picks gems heist jewellery qps theft

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