Kokomo store owner chases down thief

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KOKOMO, Ind. – The owner of a flea market is fed up with thieves stealing from her store, and the latest shoplifter didn’t get away without a fight.

“If someone needs to protect my business, it needs to be me,” said Daryl Gust, owner of Vendor City Flea Market.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gust claims she spotted a woman walking out with a stolen item stuffed in her jacket. Surveillance cameras caught Gust approaching the suspected thief at the front door.

“She cussed me out and told me I didn’t need to look at it. (She said) she wasn’t coming back in my store and then she took off running,” said Gust.

Gust took off running too. Video shows Gust chasing the thief throughout the front parking lot. She didn’t give up.

“When she was starting her car up I opened the back door and I got in her backseat. She shut the door and she just said, ‘take it all’ and threw the purse at me,” said Gust.

Towards the end of the video, Gust returns to the store with the purse in hand. Inside the purse, Gust found clothes, tools and even a toy, totaling more than $50 in stolen items.

“Hopefully I got it all back from her, I think I did. The cops are still looking for her so it was a victory on my part,” said Gust.

Gust wants the shoplifter to know she wasn’t stealing from a store. She was stealing from her family.

“This business pays for my children. It pays my bills. I have two kids. If my vendors start thinking we just allow people to steal from us then the vendors leave and I don’t have that income,” said Gust.

Gust has a couple gashes bandaged up on her leg from the ordeal, but says she’d do it all over again.

“I hope I scared her so bad that she’s not going to steal from anyone else or at least learn when she starts the car to lock the doors,” said Gust.

Gust tells us more cameras have been ordered and will be installed later this week. So far, no arrests have been made.

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