More than 90 arrested and almost $10,000 worth of stolen goods recovered during shoplifting operation, NSW

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad (RES) investigators have arrested 97 people and recovered nearly $10,000 worth of stolen goods during a targeted four-day shoplifting operation conducted across the Sydney CBD and Eastern Suburbs.

Operation Lightfingers, comprising of officers from Redfern RES, with assistance from Eastern Suburbs, Leichhardt and Sydney City Police Area Commands, was launched on Tuesday (15 December 2020), and concluded yesterday (Friday 18 December 2020).

The operation – also assisted by assisted by Loss Prevention officers and security staff – targeted shoplifting offences throughout a number of major retail outlets across the Sydney CBD, Surry Hills, Glebe, Ultimo and Bondi areas.

During the operation, police arrested a total of 97 people, who were charged with 114 offences.

Of those arrested, 32 people were charged, 29 were issued Court Attendance Notices (CAN), 41 were issued Criminal Infringement Notices (CIN), 12 were issued warnings and 12 young people were issued youth cautions.

Over the course of the operation, police recovered stolen goods worth a total of $9,860.

Incidents of note include:

About midday on Thursday (17 December 2020), plain-clothed police arrested a 47-year-old man outside a store at the intersection of Market and George Streets, Sydney. In a subsequent search of the man, police located five items of children’s clothing valued at nearly $350 concealed under his jacket. The Eastwood man was issued with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) for shoplifting and is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 10 February 2021.

About 3pm on Thursday (17 December 2020), a 31-year-old woman, accompanied by a child, was stopped by police outside a store at George Street, Sydney. During a search of the woman, police located stolen items valued at $235. The woman was issued a CAN for shoplifting and is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 20 January 2021.

About 5pm yesterday (Friday 18 December 2020), police stopped a 25-year-old man outside a store on George Street, Sydney. The man was allegedly found in possession of stolen property valued at nearly $630, as well as a magnetic security tag remover. The items were seized, and the man was issued a CAN for shoplifting. He is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

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.

“Christmas shopping means more customers in stores so more work for staff members, and a general influx of foot traffic through major shopping precincts,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

“During this operation a number of stores across Sydney were targeted and items that people attempted to steal included electronic goods, clothing, perfume, bags, and groceries with a combined value of nearly $10,000.

“We know this has been a challenging year for the community of NSW, but it has also been a difficult year for retailers and their employees.

“With less than one week to go until Christmas, please do the right thing and if you see any suspicious behaviour in and around supermarkets and retail stores, please report it.

“Retail theft continues to cost the industry billions of dollars each year, which is why we remain committed to cracking down on those who attempt to take goods without paying for them,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

Investigations under Operation Lightfingers are continuing.

Anyone with information about retail theft or fraud offences to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence.

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