Shellharbour man charged during Operation Lightfingers

Police have charged 98 people during a crackdown on shoplifting, including a person from Shellharbour, in the lead up to Christmas.

Operation Lightfingers was run last week from Tuesday to Saturday at major retail centres in Sydney CBD, Broadway and Bondi Junction.

During the five-day operation, 98 people were arrested and charged with a total of 101 offences.

Police also recovered more than $9000 in stolen goods during the blitz.

A Shellharbour man, 20, was arrested last Tuesday at a department store after allegedly stealing clothing.

Following a search of his property officers located clothing allegedly stolen from another department store and a handbag believed stolen during a bag snatch earlier in the day. 

Police will allege he was also in possession of stolen credit cards.

He was charged with shoplifting and larceny and refused bail to appear at Central Local Court on January 18.

Acting Redfern region enforcement squad commander detective acting inspector Matt Crematy said police will continue to work closely with retailers to target shoplifters during the Christmas period.

“This is the busiest time of year for retailers and more customers can create more opportunity for shoplifters,” detective acting inspector Crematy said.

“Light-fingered people see increased pedestrian traffic and busy customer service staff as an opportunity to take things from stores without paying for it.

“Operation Lightfingers – and others like it – allow police and retailers to actively target these opportunistic thieves and hopefully deter anyone thinking they might get away with it.

“Retail theft costs businesses billions of dollars every year, which ultimately costs the honest consumer and we are determined to work with retailers to make it clear that shoplifting and unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated.

“If you’re thinking of not paying, think again. Police, security, staff and surveillance cameras might just be watching you,” he said.

Police are also reminding shoppers to take simple precautions to reduce the risk of losing personal belongings to opportunistic thieves:

* Carry your bag close to your body (don’t dangle it by your side or let it swing from your shoulder)

* Don’t wrap your bag straps around your wrist

* Always keep your bag zipped up

* Keep cash and valuables in your bag to a minimum

* If you need to carry large amounts of money, separate notes and conceal them in different areas in your bag or on your body

* Do not mark keys with an address

* Stay away from the curb, many bag snatchers lean out of their vehicle to grab a bag

* Be alert – especially at ATMs and put your money away as quickly as possible

* Don’t put your bag on top of your car while unloading shopping

* Don’t put your bag on counters or in shopping trolleys.

Police are urging anyone with information about shoplifting or other property crime to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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