Shocking footage showing the moment two Woolworths staff members apprehended an alleged thief - with one appearing to choke the man - has come to light.
The dramatic scenes published in the Sunshine Coast Daily show the Woolies employees, a security guard and another woman holding the alleged criminal to the ground at the Big Top Shopping Centre in Maroochydore, Queensland.
The Sunshine Coast Daily reports that video of the incident shows three people restraining the man’s arms and legs, while one of the employees - wearing a Woolworths uniform - can be seen placing his hand around the accused’s throat.
Sources tell New Idea Food that the accused had been incredibly abusive and threatening in the moments leading up to when the footage was taken, which wasn't captured on film. The source goes on to say that fearing for their own safety due to the accused's behaviour, staff were prompted into action.
Another eyewitness said he was disturbed by the incident and did what he could to stop it.
‘I continuously yelled to get his hand off, then I got my phone out and the manager tells the employee to stop choking him,’ the witness told the Sunshine Coast Daily News.
The incident took place after the man was allegedly seen stealing food, tobacco and milk from Woolworths at Big Top Maroochydore.
As he ran from the store, police say the man dropped a carton of milk he’s accused of stealing - leading him to slip over, and giving Woolies staff and security time to restrain him.
A Woolworths spokesperson tells New Idea Food that the man was threatening the safety of customers and staff.
The spokesperson said: 'We can confirm police were called to respond to abusive behaviour by an individual who was threatening the safety of our customers and team at Big Top Shopping Centre last week.
'We’re reviewing the incident with our team members and are assisting police in their investigation.'
The 20-year-old accused man was taken to hospital with minor injuries. He was later charged with stealing and will appear in court on May 8.