TWENTY-ONE people, including eight juveniles, have allegedly been busted shoplifting in a pre-Christmas blitz across Sydney’s south.
Operation Christmas Rush was formed to investigate theft and fraud at major retailers in Hurstville and Rockdale in the lead up to the holiday season.
Local police and loss prevention officers nabbed a total of 21 people in the two-day blitz, eight of whom police say were juveniles and will be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
A 27-year-old man who allegedly stole $250 worth of groceries from a supermarket at Hurstville has been ordered to face court, along with two others, while 10 people were issued Criminal Infringement Notices.
Police say they intend to carry out similar operations both in the lead up to and after Christmas.
“This is the busiest time of year for retailers,” Sergeant Gary Chetcuti of NSW Police said.
“Retail theft costs businesses millions of dollars every year which ultimately costs the consumer.
“People see an opportunity to steal from retail stores thinking they will blend into the Christmas shopping crowd.
“This operation and others like it is a reminder that uniform and plain-clothed police will be patrolling local shopping centres over the holiday period.
“Increased CCTV at many shopping centres and stores increases the likelihood of thieves getting caught.”
Police are also reminding shoppers to take simple precautions to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of theft:
- Be mindful of your handbags, wallets and purses
Always keep your bag zipped up
Keep cash and valuables in your bag to a minimum
Do not leave prams and trolleys unattended
Be alert – especially at ATMs
Avoid carrying large sums of cash
Don’t put your bag on top of your car while unloading shopping.