84 arrested and stolen goods worth more than $11,000 recovered in shoplifting operation

Saturday, 11 December 2021 05:44:02 AM

Investigators have arrested 84 people and recovered stolen goods worth more than $11,000 during a targeted three-day shoplifting operation conducted across the Sydney CBD and Eastern Suburbs.

Operation Lightfingers, comprising officers from the Central Metropolitan Region Enforcement Squad (South), with assistance from Eastern Suburbs, Leichhardt and Sydney City Police Area Commands, was launched on Wednesday (8 December 2021), and concluded yesterday (Friday 10 December 2021).

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

During the operation, police arrested a total of 84 people, who were charged with 99 offences.

Of those arrested, 33 people were charged, 43 were issued Criminal Infringement Notices (CINs), four were issued warnings, and four young people were issued youth cautions.

Over the course of the operation, police recovered stolen goods worth a total of $11,269.

Incidents of note include:

  • About 2.30pm on Thursday (9 December 2021), officers stopped two women – aged 31 and 26 – at a store at Bondi Junction. In a search of the women’s shopping trolley, officers located clothing and cosmetic items valued at more than $3480 allegedly concealed in bags, as well as a magnetic de-tagging device. The women were each issued a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) for shoplifting and being armed with intent, and were issued with a 12-month banning notice. They are due to appear at Waverley Local Court on Thursday 20 January 2022.

  • About 3.30pm on Wednesday (8 December 2021), a 19-year-old woman was stopped by Loss Prevention staff at a supermarket at Ultimo. Police were notified and in a subsequent search of the woman’s belongings, officers located a number of stolen grocery items, as well as prohibited drugs including MDMA and ketamine. The woman was issued a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) for shoplifting and two counts of possess prohibited drug. She is due to appear to appear the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday 20 January 2022.

  • About 3.20pm on Thursday (9 December 2021), plain-clothed police arrested a 52-year-old man outside a department store at George Street, Sydney. In a subsequent search of the man, police located five pairs of shorts and a t-shirt valued at nearly $590. He was taken to Day Street Police Station and charged with two counts of shoplifting and goods in personal custody suspected being stolen. Police will allege in court that the man also stole seven items of clothing valued at $745 from a department store at George Street the previous day (Wednesday 8 December 2021). The Redfern man appeared at Central Local Court yesterday (Friday 10 December 2021), where he was formally refused bail to reappear at the same court on Thursday 24 February 2022.

Central Metropolitan Region Enforcement Squad (South) Commander, Detective Acting Inspector Matthew Stratton, said police will continue to target thieves to deter anyone who thinks they might get away with stealing from retailers.

“With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the state, we have seen an influx of shoppers heading back to major retail outlets ahead of Christmas this year,” Det A/Insp Stratton said.

“This in turn has created opportunities for thieves, who take advantage of increased foot traffic and busy sales staff to steal items.

“This year, Operation Lightfingers officers intercepted 84 people attempting to steal items including electronic goods, clothing, perfume, bags and groceries, with a combined value of more than $11,000.

“With only two weeks left 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 A/Insp Stratton said.

Investigations under Operation Lightfingers are continuing.

Anyone with information about retail theft or fraud offences is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.