Published: Wednesday August 22, 2012 MYT 4:49:00 PM
Cops cripple shoplifting syndicate
By AUSTIN CAMOENS
KAJANG: Police have crippled a shoplifting syndicate responsible for the theft of about RM16,000 worth of powdered milk and tooth paste with the arrest of 13 people.
The syndicate, which has been active in the Klang Valley since 2010, has already been linked to 17 shoplifting cases in Kajang and police believe they were also involved in similar cases in Kedah and Perlis.
The women are believed to have special pouches sewn into their loose clothing that allows them to carry up to three tins of milk at one time.
Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Ab Rashid Ab Wahab said police were alerted after receiving a complaint from a mini-mart cashier who was fed-up over the theft of about 100 boxes of powdered milk at Batu 9, Cheras.
“The cashier informed us that a group of women were responsible for the theft's but was afraid to confront them as they were accompanied by a group of men in two cars,” he told a press conference at the Kajang police headquarters on Wednesday.
He said a task force led by Batu 9 police station chief Inspector N. Kumaresan conducted a sting operation after the cashier informed police that the group visited the mini-mart at around 4.30pm on Aug 16.
“When the raiding team arrived at the mini-mart one of the getaway cars sped off.
“We, however, managed to block the other getaway car and arrest three men and a woman,” he said adding that police also seized a baton, a canister of pepper spray, 16 tins of powdered milk and 30 boxes of Sensodyne toothpaste.
ACP Ab Rashid said interrogation of the four arrested led police to a medicine shop in Kuchai Lama that was purchasing the stolen powdered milk and tooth paste from the syndicate.
“We arrested five men and two Indonesian women at the shop and recovered 147 tins and boxes of powdered milk and 16 boxes of tooth paste,” he said adding that further investigations led to the arrest of two more men near Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang at around 1.30pm on Aug 17.
He added that police were tracing the whereabouts of the remaining suspects at large.
It was reported in The Star Wednesday that several shoplifting rackets comprising men, women, children and even elderly people are causing hypermarkets and convenience stores to lose millions monthly.
Based on CCTV footage taken from retail stores nationwide, the “family-like” groups of between three and seven people have been moving from place to place pilfering items which can be disposed of easily.
Powdered milk tops the list of stolen items, along with tea, coffee and Milo packets, chocolates and toiletries.
The theft of powdered milk is so rampant that some supermarkets have placed the items behind locked glass counters.
The milk and other loot are believed to be sold off cheaply to ready buyers and, in some cases, sundry shops.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Selangor police hotline at 03-2052 9999 or the nearest police station.