Shoplifters raise holiday suspicions

By JOSEPH TERNOWETSKY

SHOPKEEPERS in Rockhampton's Central Business District notice an increase in shoplifting during the school holidays, but many say it is people of all ages who are stealing.

Denise Woods, part-owner of Stewarts Department Store on East Street, said shoplifting was always a problem.

"People of all ages steal from us,'' she said.

"The holiday has just started so it is hard to say how bad it will be.''

Shoplifting and vandalism became so bad at her store, they had to install video cameras.

"Since we put in the cameras it has helped a lot,'' she said. Retailers at the Tobacco Shop are also wary of shoplifters, especially during the holidays.

Nicole Gordon, a sales-cashier for the CBD shop, said younger people typically tried to steal lighters or novelty items from the store.

She has been working at the shop for about one year now and said staff kept a close eye on suspicious customers.

"We don't get a whole lot of theft,'' she said. "But we do get more during holidays.''

Nationally, shoplifting costs retailers over $1.5 billion a year.

And while retailers are more alert during the holidays, Detective Senior Sergeant Darrell How of the Juvenile Aid Bureau said stealing was a year-round problem.

There was generally not a noticeable increase in shoplifting during the holidays, he said.

"Kids who are stealing do it all the time.



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