Westport shop owner gets some merchandise back after chasing down thief

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A bold crook was caught on camera attempting to steal merchandise from the boutique Clothz Minded in Westport.

But instead of letting the thief get away, owner Nicole Ortega chased after him.

“After the last four months we had, I was not tolerable of it,” Ortega said. “Yes, I know running after him was not the best decision, but after the financial hardship my small business faced, I wasn’t having it.”

Ortega said the incident happened in a matter of seconds. She said what she did was an act of desperation.

“He did say something that triggered. I thought maybe he might grab something and run, and he did. I was a little bit ready for it,” Ortega said. “Fight or flight, and my body chose fight.”

She said the thief ran off with purses and hats. She was able to get back some of the items.

Ortega said, to a business still struggling amid a pandemic, this bold theft was so much more than just a small amount of money. For her and many other people, every penny counts.

“I’ve had people say, ‘I can’t spend very much,’ and honestly, four people buying a $25 item, that’s somebody’s electric bill of their business. So every dollar counts right now for us,” Ortega said.

She filed a police report, and the Kansas City Police Department is investigating. If you have information on the suspect, call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.

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