Thieves targeting Brisbane and Gold Coast in scams and stealing offences

Queensland detectives investigating reports of scams and stealing offences committed between Brisbane and the Gold Coast have released images of a number of men and women who may be able to assist with their investigations, Queensland Police say.

Police are investigating 12 offences which have occurred since January involving nine people, all believed to be tourists from Ireland.

Some of these people have been working in groups targeting retail stores stealing goods and money, and obtaining free food and beverages from restaurants claiming foreign objects, such as glass, are in their food.

One group involves a number of women, often up to three, who are accompanied by a number of small children, some in prams and some walking.

Their strategy involves disruptive and aggressive behaviour designed to distract and or intimidate staff. They often use large handbags and prams to hide stolen property.

Another incident involved four men claiming to have found hair in their food at a Brisbane restaurant and then leaving without paying.

Another group involves several men who solicit for work offering discounted repairs on bitumen driveways and roofing whilst providing sub-standard services or failing to complete the work or to even turn up.

Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming, Brisbane Region said the groups are targeting small businesses and the elderly.

“They are good at creating diversions and distractions / disruptions to either steal goods or demand goods and services for free. They are aggressive and usually work in groups of two or more.

“I encourage anyone who believes they may have fallen victims to these people, and who haven’t already reported it to police, to contact Policelink on 131 444.”

Detective Superintendent Fleming encouraged the people depicted to contact police to help resolve the allegations.   Anyone who recognises these people or where they may be are asked to contact police.

Hints for homeowners to help avoid a scam or shoddy handymen:

· say no – at first;
· seek more information – from independent sources such as family, friends, neighbours, newspaper advertisements or past clients;
· reputable businesses will be happy to provide you with full contacts details so that you can follow-up on their services;
· obtain a written quote;
· seek an agreement with the person offering the service that all monies will be paid at the satisfactory completion of the job and not up front;
· regulatory authorities who are responsible for license and regulation of various trades such as plumbing, building and electrical etc, should be contacted to ascertain if the handyman is currently licensed; and
· if the offer turns out to be safe and good for you, you can always say yes later.

“I again urge homeowners to say no to anyone offering door to door home repairs until you are able to make an informed decision and know that this is a legitimate offer,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.

Police are urging anyone with information about the people pictured to contact Policelink on 131 444.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

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