Operation Lightfingers, conducted between December 8 and December 11 at retail precincts in Sydney’s CBD, Bondi Junction and Broadway, was launched in response to increased reports of retail theft and fraud in the lead-up to Christmas.
“Not surprisingly at this time of year, many of the items detected as stolen are the sort of things people might give as Christmas gifts – perfume, jewellery, electronics, manchester and clothing,” said Operation Lightfingers commander, detective chief inspector, Stuart Bell.
“Food was also high on the list of stolen items, including a Christmas ham taken from a supermarket,” he said.
During the four days of the operation, police dealt with 94 people in relation to over 100 offences and property valued at $3500.
During the operation, police caught a 38-year-old Leichhardt woman allegedly shoplifting twice on the same day, at two different locations. The woman was allegedly caught stealing a candle and a scarf at a department store in the city at 2pm on December 10. Three hours later, the same woman was allegedly found with $40 worth of stolen cosmetics at a pharmacy in Haymarket.
“Police and retailers will continue to run these types of operations in the lead-up to Christmas and in the subsequent sales period,” DCI Bell said. “So if you’re thinking of indulging in some unpaid or fraudulent Christmas shopping, think again.”
The crackdown coincides with research findings released last month, which highlighted shoplifters and dishonest employees in Australia primarily target small and easy to conceal items such as mobile accessories, batteries, fashion accessories, and razor blades, as well as high-value items with high resale value, such as denim, handbags, iPhones/smartphones, perfumes and fragrances, and surprisingly, infant formula.
The Australian Retail Association also recently predicted retail thefts, known as shrinkage, will cost Australian retailers $1.4 billion in the six weeks leading to Christmas Day 2015 – three percent of the ARA and Roy Morgan Research’s total predicted Christmas spend of $46.8 billion.
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