A Warilla pensioner was stung for more than just the price of her groceries during a recent shopping trip, when she returned to her car and found two tyres slashed and a side mirror broken.
It was the second time in two weeks Janice Fitzgerald's side mirror had been smashed while parked at Stockland Shellharbour, but she was surprised to hear her tyres "flapping" as she drove away.
When she went to nearby Blair's Tyres for repairs, she learnt she wasn't the only one in the area complaining of slashed tyres and broken mirrors.
Blair's Tyres salesman Paul Tortelli said between 30 and 50 tyres had been brought in by owners with similar stories during the past two weeks.
"One poor bloke bought brand new tyres and the next day they were slashed," Mr Tortelli said.
"We've had two cars towed in and people have been bringing in the tyres loose."
Mr Tortelli said it appeared that some tyres had been slashed with a knife or punctured with a screwdriver.
He said customers had mostly reported that the incidents had happened while shopping at either Warilla Grove Shopping Centre or Stockland Shellharbour.
Lake Illawarra police inspector Ron Davis said police were investigating the problem.
"Police can confirm there have been a number of those incidents in the retail shopping centres Warilla Grove and [Stockland] Shellharbour," he said.
"We're asking for any public information in regards to those incidents."
Mrs Fitzgerald said she wanted to see more done about security in the shopping centre, and said she had been told Stockland did not operate CCTV cameras in the parking lot.
"What else can I do?" she said.
"It cost me $50 for the tyres - I'm only on a pension.
"It cost me $20 last week for a mirror and $20 this week."
A Stockland spokesperson said security had been stepped up since management was notified of the incidents.
Police had also increased patrols in the area, the spokesperson said.
"We take this matter very seriously and will take all available measures to protect the personal property of our customers and retail staff."
The Mercury's attempts to contact Warilla Grove management were unsuccessful.
Anyone seeing suspicious behaviour should contact Lake Illawarra police or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.