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Fighting crime in fashion for Lash




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The owner of a long-time establishment in Sault Ste. Marie’s business swears hell continues to crack down on crime in her store after a man tries to take several thousand dollar merchandise from his Steelton business.

The suspect was arrested by Herb Lash, Jr., and his father. Senior Lash was injured in the incident.

Herb Lash, Sr., confronted a suspicious customer shortly before Christmas at the HR Lash clothing store on John Street.

The man allegedly put seven men’s winter jackets in a sports bag hidden in the back of his jacket and was trying to leave the company. The only door customers can use was locked, preventing her from leaving due to her suspicious behavior. Lash, Sr., and the man clashed. Lash, Jr., was briefed on the man by Patti Hawdon. He looked at what was happening in front of the door. Lash, Jr., came in when things got physical and helped overpower the male. The police arrived shortly after.


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Lash, Jr., described the shoplifter as being six feet two inches tall and not just skin and bones.

This guy was a little worse than most, he said. This guy wasn’t just a lightweight. He was strong. He was tall.

Lash, Sr., was thrown into a rack by the male and suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Hell needs weekly physiotherapy sessions for four months to get better.

The man allegedly threatened to stab the father and son on several occasions. Lash, Jr., was holding the man’s wrists to prevent him from getting a knife.

It doesn’t make you nervous, said Lash, Jr., in the face of shoplifters. It makes you lose your mind, which changes the whole tone of the conversation. You will respond for what you have done.

Let us fight crime, says a Sault Ste. Marie spokesperson for the police department.

We don’t recommend that business owners try to apprehend anyone, Lincoln Louttit said. (Store staff) endanger their own well-being, the well-being of any potential suspect who might attempt to take items or cause damage to their property.

There is also a chance that the store owner, or staff, will be charged if a suspect is injured in a confrontation and wants to press charges.

I don’t think it happens often, but there is that potential, Louttit said.

Security systems are highly recommended, as are steps, such as bright lighting, good quality locks, cleaning tall shrubs and grass from windows, and keeping high value goods away from windows, in order to reduce the risk of crime, Louttit said.


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Make it harder for people to potentially commit a crime against you and your property, he said.

The Criminal Code allows the use of reasonable force when arresting citizens, but a business owner could be criminally charged or face civil prosecution if excessive force is used to arrest someone and an injury affects the daily activities of victims.

Louttit also advises companies not to post images of videos of suspects online.

Social media can be helpful, but there are times when it can make investigations more difficult or distort the public’s perception of what is or is not going on, Louttit said. The court of public perception can take its own life.

Lash, Sr., scoffs at the suggestion that he and his son should wait for the police to act.

Do this, he said. I was here. Well, call them after.

Small businesses suffer the financial consequences when merchandise is removed from their shelves, says Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. Insurance deductibles can reach $ 10,000.

Rory Ring saw HR Lash’s video on social media.

It is amazing how emboldened the criminal element has become, he said. What is really shocking is the right that some of these people feel. These small entrepreneurs work very hard to run their businesses and stay afloat. This only amplifies by the challenges of the pandemic.

Incidents such as the HR Lash confrontation show the need, Ring said, for treatment centers that can help people with drug addiction and how the justice system is punishing those convicted of theft.


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They feel like they are not penalized for these kinds of actions, he said.

Ring doesn’t want store workers injured by shoplifters, but recognizes that this approach can come at a cost.

It’s the right thing to do. You don’t want to put an employee’s life in danger, but that also encourages the criminal to take advantage of these situations, he said.

Installing a security system is a smart investment that can help police find suspects.

It’s a nice little community, Ring said. Many of these people are known because they are repeat offenders.

It encourages anyone with information about someone who has taken goods from a business to share information anonymously with Crime Stoppers.

It’s a very effective tool, Ring said. It helps protect our community.

Tips can be made by calling 705-942-7867 or 800-222-8477 or online at

Lash, Jr., owner of his family business since 2014, is keen to help a neighboring business benefit from his recent experience.

He wants to raise money from the sale of T-shirts to get a state-of-the-art security system for The Stockhouse Grill, nearby on Wellington Street West. The restaurant opened shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lash, Jr., had just completed installing an improved security system at his own business shortly before he and his father dealt with the shoplifter in December.

Security cameras will capture everything, he says.


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Lash, Jr. sells black and white T-shirts with his store logo and the message Fk and find out. He saw the comment on social media when images of the December incident leaked online.

The coarse slang used by a business that opened in 1914 is meant to shock, said Lash, Jr. He says the language is appropriate for goods taken from homes and businesses during the lockdown triggered by COVID-19.

Why am I swearing on a shirt? That’s because the way theft and crime is playing out and escalating with business, said Lash, Jr.

He wants to highlight Bill C-75, the federal law of Sault Ste. Marie’s Chief of Police, Hugh Stevenson, has criticized his officers for releasing suspects charged with offenses previously allegedly detained.

People come back and they steal from you, says Lash, Jr. You better believe people will swear on this.

The man accused of attempting to steal goods from HR Lash was arrested again in early February for allegedly using a firearm in robberies at two other businesses in town and failing to pay for petrol at a third.

Cotton and polyester shirts cost $ 30 each. Lash, Jr., has already taken over 100 orders. The stock arrived last Friday afternoon. Shirts can be picked up from HR Lash or Lash, Jr., will deliver to buyers.

I think there will be all kinds of support for that, said Lash, Sr.

A former Steelton resident cut a check for $ 500 to help.


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Angela Dunbar picked up three shirts on Saturday morning, one for herself and two for family members.
She wanted to support the Lashs.

They’re pretty cool too, Dunbar said of the crime-fighting modes. I think they made a great withdrawal.

Lash, Jr., acknowledges that his aggressive stance against shoplifters could hurt him, but he is not discouraged.

When there is someone coming in and trying to rob us, we don’t let them slip, he says. I have collected my things several times, even after they are out. I’m not kidding when it comes to people trying to steal from me.

He hopes his approach and updated security system will deter would-be thieves from approaching.

It won’t be just a helping hand, said Lash, Jr. Me, doing this has made a difference to what we do at the store.

Mark Rose, 41, has been charged with theft under $ 5,000 and two counts of threats in connection with the HR Lash incident.

[email protected]

On Twitter: @Saultreporter


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