Retailers warned: be aware

Dunedin police are warning retailers to be vigilant in the lead-up to Christmas after a woman was apprehended yesterday with a car-load of goods allegedly shoplifted.

The 31-year-old woman was arrested at 3.30pm after a car was discovered parked in George St with more than $1000 of clothing and goods allegedly stolen.

''She has been charged with shoplifting from six different premises,'' Sergeant Ed Baker said. ''The car was chock-full and we're still trying to track down all the owners of the property. There were a lot of items and more charges are likely.''

The woman will appear in court today. Shoplifting invariably increased over the Christmas shopping period, Sgt Baker said.

After a George St retailer revealed it lost $5000 of clothing to shoplifters recently, the Otago Chamber of Commerce organised a theft-prevention workshop to help retailers limit shoplifting losses in the countdown to Christmas.

''There is always a peak in shoplifting at Christmas time,'' Loss Prevention Otago principal John Burnip said yesterday.

''Retailers and their staff need to be observant and use their eyes and not rely on cameras and electronic surveillance, which can easily be got around.

''Staff need to be proactive all the time and leave their cellphones in their lockers, rather than be texting their friends from behind the counter.

''Basically, it's just really good customer service.''

Loss Prevention Otago would be holding seminars next year on how to mitigate the threats of shoplifting and armed hold-ups, he said.

The New Zealand Retailers Association estimates up to $2 million in goods are stolen every day from New Zealand shops.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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