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The following trends in retail crime have been witnessed by Brisbane retailers over the past few weeks, as relayed across the NRA SafeCity Network.

Thank you to all of the retailers reporting these crimes and trends.
The more we all report, the more we all know.

Products being targeted

  • Fragrances (Perfume)
  • Men’s small low value shavers
  • Drones
  • Remote Control Robots
  • Pop Vinyl Figurines
  • Puzzles
  • Board Games
  • Candles
  • Kids DIY Paint Kits
  • Tech products (Power banks, earphones)
  • Essential Oils for Oil Burners
  • Candles
  • Reed diffuser
  • Female Underwear
  • Guess Handbags
  • Jewellery
  • Torches
  • Knife Blocks
  • Cooking Pot Sets

Criminal Behaviour


  • An entertainment store manager completed their biannual stocktake and discovered a loss of just under $2,000 with a clear trend of targeted items emerging.
  • An individual stole pillows from the front of a store. Staff were unaware of the incident until centre security returned the stolen items. The individual had targeted the entire shopping centre and was found with thousands of dollars’ worth of products in their possession.
  • A fashion retail store has an average stock loss of $22 a day.
  • An individual waited for a staff member to serve another customer before stealing a limited edition pop vinyl set.
  • A male was caught stealing a torch from an adventure store, hiding the item in his sling. Another female was caught shoplifting $1,000 worth of torches by placing them under the blanket in her pram. These incidents were confirmed by CCTV footage.
  • Reports of another female concealing over $200 worth of products under a blanket in her pram once staff were busy with other customers. The company is in the process of prosecuting the individual.
  • Reports of a male recently entering a store and filling his empty trolley with $800 worth of items and moving towards the exit. The male pretended to be on the phone and commented “these staff members think I’m stealing.” The male soon after attempted to run but staff were able to intercept.

Group Offending:

  • A retail manager witnessed a group of youths shoplifting fragrances. The retail assistant confirmed the incident was captured on CCTV. The manager contacted centre security to accompany her to confront the youths. The individuals denied all allegations despite being told they were caught on CCTV. The group walked off and proceeded to attempt to break into cars in the carpark. The police were contacted but never showed.
  • Reports of an incident in a homewares store where a female approached the staff member enquiring about items at the back of the store whilst her male companion was stealing items from the front of the store.
  • A group of teenage offenders targeted a variety of stores and attempted to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of goods. The individuals used a trolley and bags to conceal the stolen goods but were caught and made to return the items. Some of these staff members were unaware items had been stolen.
  • Reports of an incident where a female went into the change room with three items, the individual’s friend then passed a bralette under the door. A staff member witnessed the incident and asked the individual for the fourth item upon exiting the change room. The individual denied the allegation but gave the item back when the staff was able to state the exact product.
  • Two females entered a fashion store. One distracted the staff member whilst the other was in the change room. This woman stole multiple t-shirts.

Snatch and Run: 

  • Reports of an individual loitering outside a store. Once the staff member was occupied serving a customer, the gentleman dashed in and stole two high-end shavers on display.
  • An individual recently entered a store and enquired about an expensive drone in the back storeroom. As soon as the staff member reached the counter the individual grabbed the item and ran.
  • A jewellery store reported an engagement ring being stolen. The gentleman showed an interest but once retrieved from the display, the man apologised, grabbed the ring and ran from the store.
  • Reports of a male lingering outside a handbag store, as soon as the retail assistant was serving another customer the individual ran in and stole two handbags.

Repeat Offender:

  • An individual has been caught on multiple occasions attempting to steal a $600 object from behind the counter. The gentleman will enquire about a product he knows staff must retrieve from out back, whilst they are out back he slips behind the counter and puts the item in his pocket. They have caught him on four separate occasions trying this manoeuvre. The staff believes this is an act of gratification as he often asks if he is going to get punished.

Attempted Theft:

  • A jewellery store reported an individual trying to steal a high-value diamond ring. The woman took off her ring to try on the new ring and then tried to leave her own ring in the display box. Vigilant staff were able to confront her to return the ring.
  • A retail assistant witnessed an individual browsing the essential oil section with her wallet in her hand. The individual then picked up an essential oil tester and used her wallet to conceal the item before attempting to leave the store. The manager confronted the individual and was able to recover the item.
  • Reports of a high school student looking through a table display of underwear. The individual discretely placed three pairs in her school uniform pocket. Staff witnessed the incident and contacted centre management. Security later found the individual in another store and the staff member was able to confront the individual to retrieve the items.

Aggressive and Anti-Social Behaviour

  • A pharmacy has had an alarming incident which involved a male entering the premises via a back entrance. The individual then locked himself in their office which is recorded by CCTV, the individual was recorded taking narcotics. Whilst under the influence the individual caused nearly $6,000 worth of loss and damage.
  • Staff members report often receiving abuse from customers regarding company policies on refunds and exchanges. Staff ask individuals to take their issues up with head office. One female staff reported having items thrown at her by a customer that refused to accept their refund policy.
  • A store manager has been verbally abused by a customer because they did not have the item the individual wanted in stock.
  • A craft store has had multiple encounters with an individual that repeatedly complains about the products in store. The staff member believes it is an attempt to receive a discount or for gratification.
  • Reports of a female and male requesting a refund for an item that was purchased 9 months ago. The staff member asked general questions about the item and the gentleman stated that he knows his rights and became very aggressive.

General Feedback

  • Retailers have a general consensus that Thursday nights are their worst nights for offending.
  • Retailers are becoming more aware of the need to avoid profiling offenders of retail crime based on stereotypes.
  • A store has observed the importance of theft prevention training. The store had an influx of theft with new staff members on duty. Since training those individuals theft has significantly reduced.


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.