Shoplifting sting in NSW sees 110 arrested

More than 110 people have been arrested during a shoplifting operation conducted by investigators from Redfern Region Enforcement Squad (RES) across Sydney this week.

Operation Lightfingers, comprising of officers from Redfern RES, with assistance from Eastern Suburbs, Redfern, Leichhardt and Sydney City Police Area Commands, was launched on Wednesday 4 December 2019, and concluded on Friday, 6 December 2019.

The operation targeted shoplifting offences throughout a number of major retail outlets across the Sydney CBD, Surry Hills, Glebe, Ultimo and Bondi areas.

Police arrested a total of 111 people during the three-day operation, who were charged with 125 offences.

Of those arrested, five people were charged, 27 were issued Field Court Attendance Notices, 66 were issued Criminal Infringement Notices, two were issued warnings and 11 young people were issued youth cautions.

Over the course of the operation, police also recovered more than $5,300 worth of stolen goods.

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell said the festive season generally sees an increase in customers and can therefore create opportunities for shoplifters.

“Our retailers have already seen an influx of shoppers heading into stores with Christmas less than three weeks away. This busy period can often be seen as an opportunistic time for potential shoplifters while staff members are attending to customers,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

“We coordinate Operation Lightfingers not only at Christmas, but throughout the year, which allows police and retail staff to work together to target possible thieves and send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can steal goods without paying for it.

“During the operation a number of stores across Sydney were targeted and items that people attempted to steal included electronic goods, clothing, perfume, bags, and groceries.

“We’d also like to remind parents to monitor their children at all times when Christmas shopping. On one occasion, a child was left in a department store for almost two hours before staff were able to reunite him with his parent.

“Our officers will continue to target shoplifters over the holiday season and we encourage anyone with information about such offences to come forward,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

According to National Retail Association data, shoplifting, robbery and vandalism costs Australian businesses up to $9 billion every year.

NRA Manager of Industry Policy David Stout said that Operation Lightfingers was a much needed support for retailers in the busy Christmas season.

“This is the time of year where there is an increase in people in stores, and retailers are hard pressed to combat opportunistic shoplifters with extra crowds,” he said.

“99% of customers do the right thing, however retailers need to be cautious / dubious of those who seek to erode the hard earned profits over the Christmas period. We are continuing to work with retailers Australia-wide to refine their processes to prevent retail crime and make these retail precincts the vibrant, safe and welcoming places we want them to be.”

Investigations under Operation Lightfingers are continuing.

About the SafeCity Network

The National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network brings together retailers, government and law enforcement to better inform and equip retailers to reduce retail crime.

On 1 March 2018, the NRA launched the SafeCity Network as a trial in Brisbane aimed at increasing collaboration and insight between retailers to reduce retail crime. By reducing crime over the long term, the program aims to attract more shoppers and visitors, and ultimately create a more vibrant, safer retail precincts.

Participants in the SafeCity Network gain access to regular crime alerts and bulletins based on real-world intelligence shared by other retailers.


Anyone with information about retail theft or fraud offences to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or