More than 110 people have been arrested during a shoplifting operation conducted by investigators from Redfern Region Enforcement Squad (RES) across Sydney this week.
Operation Lightfingers, comprising of officers from Redfern RES, with assistance from Eastern Suburbs, Redfern, Leichhardt and Sydney City Police Area Commands, was launched on Wednesday 4 December 2019, and concluded yesterday (Friday 6 December 2019).
The operation targeted shoplifting offences throughout a number of major retail outlets across the Sydney CBD, Surry Hills, Glebe, Ultimo and Bondi areas.
Police arrested a total of 111 people during the three-day operation, who were charged with 125 offences.
Of those arrested, five people were charged, 27 were issued Field Court Attendance Notices, 66 were issued Criminal Infringement Notices, two were issued warnings and 11 young people were issued youth cautions.
Over the course of the operation, police also recovered more than $5,300 worth of stolen goods.
Of note, a 29-year-old woman was arrested at a shopping centre in Sydney’s CBD on Thursday 5 December 2019. She was taken to Day Street Police Station where she was charged with three counts of shoplifting, goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen, and possess prohibited drug.
Police will allege the woman stole items to the value of more than $800 from three different stores. She was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 29 January 2020.
In a separate incident, a 49-year-old man was arrested at a shopping centre at Bondi yesterday (Friday 6 December 2019). He was taken to Waverley Police Station and charged with shoplifting.
Police will allege the man stole several pharmaceutical products to the value of $650 from a supermarket. The man was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today (Saturday 7 December 2019).
Redfern Region Enforcement Squad Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell said the festive season generally sees an increase in customers and can therefore create opportunities for shoplifters.
“Our retailers have already seen an influx of shoppers heading into stores with Christmas less than three weeks away. This busy period can often be seen as an opportunistic time for potential shoplifters while staff members are attending to customers,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.
“We coordinate Operation Lightfingers not only at Christmas, but throughout the year, which allows police and retail staff to work together to target possible thieves and send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can steal goods without paying for it.
“During the operation a number of stores across Sydney were targeted and items that people attempted to steal included electronic goods, clothing, perfume, bags, and groceries.
“We’d also like to remind parents to monitor their children at all times when Christmas shopping. On one occasion, a child was left in a department store for almost two hours before staff were able to reunite him with his parent.
“Our officers will continue to target shoplifters over the holiday season and we encourage anyone with information about such offences to come forward,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.
According to the National Retailers Association, shoplifting, robbery and vandalism costs Australian businesses up to $9 billion every year.
Investigations under Operation Lightfingers are continuing.
Anyone with information about retail theft or fraud offences to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.