Meat stealing from stores skyrockets

MEAT thefts are soaring across Australia as supermarkets battle a surge in shoplifting, with the number of retail theft incidents in Cumberland rising from 340 the previous year to 434 in the year to September 2023.

Meat theft increased in Australia by 85 per cent between 2022 and 2023, according to data from retail crime intelligence platform Auror, which works with companies such as Coles, Bunnings and Woolworths.
Pork experienced the largest rise, with thefts increasing by 35 per cent, followed by lamb at 31 per cent and beef at 15 per cent.
Australian Retail Association (ARA) director Paul Zahra said nearly half of retailers reported a rise in organised crime in the association’s latest membership survey.
ARA defines organised crime as involving two or more people who conspire to steal retail merchandise, intending to resell the items for profit and not just feed their families.
He said supermarkets knew what these people were doing and it was only a matter of time before they got caught.
IGA Merrylands owner John agrees, saying he had certainly noticed an increase in shoplifting but they were right across it.
He said that in some cases, thieves were going so far as to remove the outside packaging on the meat before putting it into one of their own bags.
“We’ve also had a few more runners, mostly youth, who’ll grab items and then bolt from the store,” said.
“We even check under baby prams because we’ve found that’s becoming a trend as the shoplifter thinks they’re more likely to get away with a theft if it’s not in their bag.
“We have measures in place, though, and are very alert to all the shoplifter moves.”