Lower Hutt based Countdown retail worker Richard Loa announced today that he was deeply embarrassed by revelations that he had been taking items from the store without paying for them.
Loa, a 41 year old checkout operator and frozen foods section assistant team leader came forward today to admit that over a period of four years working at the Wellington supermarket he had taken home bottles of wine, frozen chickens, vitamin pills and razor blades on a weekly basis.
‘I now accept that this was wrong and I apologise for it,’ Loa said. ‘In my defense the rules around whether or not I could smuggle out bottles of shampoo in my gym bag were vague and unclear.’
It is understood that Loa came forward after Countdown management announced that they had installed security cameras in the staff changing rooms. These showed footage of Loa eating two large boxes of Lindt chocolates valued at $44 while on breaks during a busy weekend shift.
‘That’s when I decided that coming clean and explaining everything was the right thing to do,’ Loa said, adding. ‘The chocolates were consumed while I was doing my job although I concede that the security footage is not a good look.’
‘I would have paid for the chocolates myself but I didn’t have any cash and it seemed more convenient at the time to stuff them under my shirt and eat them in the toilets,’ Loa explained.
Loa announced that he would repay the value of the chocolates and other items consumed but would not be stepping down from his position as frozen foods assistant team leader.
‘I’ve made a mistake and I’ve done the right thing and fronted up to it,’ Loa said. ‘I acknowledge that it’s not a good look but frozen food placement faces a lot of challenges and I have some exciting ideas on how to tackle them so I’d like to put this whole thing behind me and move on.’
This attitude is not shared by Loa’s employer Progressive Foodstuffs who have dismissed him without notice or by the New Zealand Police who have arrested Loa on five charges of theft.