You choose, we steal it

POLICE are investigating the emergence of organised groups of shoplifters who “steal toorder” at various retail spots around the Northern Rivers.

While the term shoplifting is usually associated with teenagers with a need for brightly coloured lip glosses and candy from the corner store, the groups under police scrutiny are targeting the finer things in life.

And they are allegedly doing the dirty work for other people.

Last week police attached to the Richmond Local Area Command Target Action Group seized $20,000 worth of suspected stolen goods from a residence in Mullumbimby.

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Moore said the raid came after an investigation into professional thieves in the region.

“There were reports of an increase in organisations of groups that target retail stores in the area,” Insp Moore said.

“There were reports of suspects knocking stuff off and there was a pattern.

“Investigations are ongoing into this and other suspects. We are investigating the possibility of organised crime groups who steal to order.”

During the raid at the Mullumbimby residence on Thursday morning, police uncovered a large amount of suspected stolen goods, including new computer equipment, manchester, kitchenware, mobile phones and hardware items.

A 29-year-old woman was subsequently arrested and charged with 10 offences, including lar- ceny and obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

She was granted bail to appear in Byron Bay Local Court on September 22.

Mike Ramsay, director of retail security company Charter Security, said stealing to order was widespread and expanding to regional areas.

“There are two types of shop stealers, including the professionals who go in and know what they are after and quite often steal to order from a list,” Mr Ramsey said.

“It is widespread and by and large it’s done by gangs and groups who go into stores, hunt quickly and get out.”

Mr Ramsey said while it was impossible to determine the cost of steal-to-order to retailers, shoplifting generally costs about $6 billion each year.

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