'Tis the season for Christmas thievery

Shoplifting hurts the Warwick retail industry.
Shoplifting hurts the Warwick retail industry. Renee Pilcher

IT'S the season to be giving but for the light fingered, Christmas is also a time to take.

Shoplifting is rife during the festive period with perfume, make-up, expensive clothes and electronic goods such hard drives and wi-fi speakers the hot-ticketed products with thieves.

Meat, batteries, shavers, vitamin pills and "anything high priced and easy to sell" are also likely to be shoplifted, police report.

Operation Lightfingers, which targeted some of Australia's busiest shopping outlets last week, pounced on shoplifters and arrested 123 people in four days.

The sting found 80% of the shoplifters stole for profit rather than personal use and most had criminal records.

Warwick Senior Constanble Ian Buckmaster said local stores were also being targeted by shoplifters in the Christmas retail frenzy.

"There are definitely more people shoplifting at this time of year due to the extended holidays and the number of people in shops," Const Buckmaster said.

"Most of those caught shoplifting in Warwick don't have a previous criminal conviction so it seems they are doing it out of boredom."

Thieves are more likely to swipe items from large stores, using big crowds and expansive layouts to try and get away with the crime, he said.

"It's teens on holidays and there are also men and women who go into shops with a trolley or pram and hide the items underneath bags and other items."

Warwick Daily News asked several local retailers what products were most favoured by shoplifters.

Women's perfume, men's cologne, make-up and tech accessories topped the list.

"It's these busy times of year when we a find a whole shelf of perfume or make-up seems to disappear and then we realise it happened when staff were all caught up with customers," one chemist salesperson said.

Shoplifting is more likely to happen in peak lunch times, she said.

A Reject Shop salesperson said headphones and phone accessories were also popular items with shoplifters in its store.

But she has a stark warning for swipers: "They do get caught, we are watching them".

Australian Institute of Criminology data shows women are more likely than men to be apprehended for shoplifting. Shoplifters face hefty fines and up to five years imprisonment if convicted.

Shoplifting can mean more than just taking something from a shop without paying. Offences include eating or drinking something in an outlet without paying, altering price tags, and leaving a restaurant without paying.

Topics:  community police retailers shoplifting

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