A thief has apologised and turned himself in to police after the owner of the shop he robbed friended him on Facebook.
Stefan Tergesen told BuzzFeed Canada he found the thief within a day after he asked his customers for help.
Mr Tergesen owns H.P. Tergesen & Sons gift shop in Gimli, a small tourist town about one hour north of Winnipeg.
He received a call from friends about a broken window in his shop and went down to find that a display case full of Nixon watches had been smashed and emptied.
Mr Tergesen first called the police, then checked his surveillance tapes and was surprised to see a teenage boy running in and grabbing the watches – his face clearly visible to the camera.
In a bid to find the thief he uploaded footage of the break-in to the store’s Facebook and Instagram accounts with a message asking his customers for help finding the thief.
Within hours, a dozen people had all named the same person as the culprit.
Mr Tergesen told Buzzfeed:
I thought I should go look at his Facebook page to see if he’s posted anything that might incriminate him.
It dawned on me that if I sent him a friend request, he was going to know for sure that I knew who he was and that he was done for.
Fifteen minutes later the thief accepted the friend request and immediately apologised to the store owner.
Mr Tergesen praised his decision to take responsibility and said they would resolve things through the authorities.
He said even after repairs and getting the stolen goods back, he won’t be able to get back all the time and effort the break-in cost. But it showed him his town had his back.
“My customers are great and they take ownership of the store,” he said. “They felt just as violated as I was when this happened.”