Support group backs up T.O. shopkeeper over charges
A Toronto grocery store owner facing charges for arresting an alleged shoplifter is getting some backup from a newly-formed victim's rights group.
David Chen recently got into trouble after an alleged shoplifter stole a tray of plants from the outside of his Dundas Street West store, the Lucky Moose Food Mart, in Chinatown.
The 35-year-old shop owner and two of his employees chased down the alleged shoplifter, grabbed him, tied him up and placed him in a van until police arrived.
But when the police arrived, they charged Chen with assault and kidnapping, claiming he used excessive force during the arrest. (They also charged the shoplifter.)
On Friday, Chen told reporters gathered at a news conference that it is unfair that this is happening to him and his family.
The newly-formed Victim's Rights Action Committee is outraged about the incident and has taken up the case on Chen's behalf.
Committee representative Ricky Chan said the charges against Chen are "sending the wrong message."
"It's, to some degree, a miscarriage of the justice system," Chan told reporters on Friday. "I hope someone will right the wrong and correct the situation."
The committee is now starting an online petition that they will use to try to get the charges dropped against Chen and they hope to collect 50,000 signatures of support.
They also plan to lobby for changes to the criminal code, so that shop owners will not be punished for stopping shoplifters.
At present, Chen said he is hesitant to chase after any subsequent shoplifters for fear that he violates his bail conditions.
He will be in court June 29.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Jim Junkin