A Gimli store owner helped catch an alleged thief by sending a friend request on Facebook.

Stefan Tergesen owns H.P. Tergesen & Sons, a 117-year-old store in Gimli.

When a thief smashed a window with a tire iron and stole several watches, Tergesen took matters into his own hands.

He posted surveillance video of the robbery on the store's Facebook and Instagram pages and asked community members to help identify the young man.

Several people identified the culprit, and one sent a screen shot of his Facebook to Tergesen.

Tergesen decided to send the man a friend request. The man accepted and immediately messaged Tergesen to apologize.

He wrote: "I turned myself in, I couldn't live with what I did and I'll be returning everything."

Tergesen wrote back that he would be going through the authorities, but told the young man he was doing the right thing turning himself in.

Tergesen said he was initially hesitant about using social media, but now uses it successfully to promote his store.

In a statement, an RCMP spokesperson said:

“We certainly understand the steps taken by residents and business owners in order to find the persons responsible for crimes and/or their property.

Police recommends (sic) that all information obtained or tips are passed on to them for follow-up investigation.

The behavior of criminals and desperate individuals is unpredictable and one should certainly avoid meeting them or engaging on a direct level.”