Police on tail of shoplifters

POLICE have been kept on their toes with the usual rise in shoplifting and theft during to the school holiday period.

While a direct correlation could not be drawn between a rise in shoplifting and the Christmas period, Bundaberg police inspector Kevin Guteridge said one definitely existed whenever school was out.

“We’ve established a trend around holiday time where theft and shoplifting picks up,” Insp Guteridge said.

“You’ll find we pick up kids most days, whether it’s from Kmart, Target, Big W, whatever.

“It happens all through the year, but certainly around Christmas – and when school’s out, it gets busier.”

Major retail stores in Bundaberg acknowledged the increase in criminal activity, particularly during the past two weeks, with a thief’s main target being computer games and DVDs.

“They seem to be the most popular item these days. It’s on the top of everyone’s list and they are more compact and easy to conceal,” a Bundaberg retail staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

“We’ve had a lot of shoplifters come through the system lately, and they’re just the ones we’ve caught.”

The staff member said they were well aware of the problem increasing at this time of year, but could not do any more than monitor surveillance and keep a close eye on customers.

Insp Guteridge said the responsibility fell on parents to be vigilant.

“Parents need to be aware of their children’s whereabouts, know what they are up to and make sure they aren’t doing anything to ruin their futures,” he said.

“Shopkeepers are aware of the nature of these crimes, but they need to be conscious of the problem and be careful of leaving certain objects on counters or in the open.”

He warned that shopkeepers should not get over-suspicious of customers, but reiterated the need to be wary, particularly in “tougher economic times”.

Hinkler Shopping Centre management said as yet they had not heard of an increase in shoplifting during the holiday period at the centre, while Sugarland Shoppingtown said they did not have enough information to comment.

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