Australia’s most wanted: Batteries, petrol and razor blades are the most sought-after items among store thieves.
When the going gets tough, the thieves get going. So says ARA Exec Director Russell Zimmermann who says stealing from stores is the direct result of when things get tough for people economically.

“There will be a rise in stealing in some areas..especially things that make them feel good,” Zimmermann said when speaking to Channel News.

Indeed, stealing from stores has risen in the past number of years as it is a clear reflection of the uncertain economic environment.

Just last week, JB Hi-Fi said $12 million of stock from its stores in the past year had been stolen, an increase of $4m on the previous year, which it blamed on less staff on the floor. Headphones and DVDs were said to be among the items popular with thieves at JB.

“Its hard to walk out the door with a 40″ TV,” says Zimmermann, but smaller items that are easy to conceal are fair game, as are goods that are easy to remove packaging and electronic barcodes from.

So, who are the thieves scanning the store aisles?

“They could be anyone from your next door neighbour ..its a myth that its unemployed 18-years old..its across the board.”

“There’s no specific demographic profile of thieves,” – for instance women are known to be fond of thieving clothes and other sought after items.


3% of the total Aussie retail turnover of $240 billion is attributed to theft, according to Australian Retailers Association.

In 2010, $5.8bn worth of goods was stolen which has risen to $6bn this year.

The retail boss also said it was “interesting” that Apple recently announced a ‘self-help area’ in its stores, where consumers can virtually check out goods in-store, by downloading an app.

Maybe Apple customers are honest. And really rich. 

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