Cottesloe traders say wealthy shoplifters are eating into their profit

Cottesloe traders who have banded together to fight a spate of shoplifting include (l-r) Robert Mance, Kim Snowball, Jennifer Lee and Lisa Hopgood.  Picture: Jon Bassett.
Cottesloe traders who have banded together to fight a spate of shoplifting include (l-r) Robert Mance, Kim Snowball, Jennifer Lee and Lisa Hopgood. Picture: Jon Bassett.

TRADERS in Cottesloe’s upmarket Napoleon Street claim residents of the adjacent suburbs are shoplifting, and they are fighting a noticed spate in recent months.

“It’s the people who steal who you don’t think would – the middle-aged woman, well dressed and well spoken,” Pharmacy on Napoleon operator Lisa Hopgood said.

Ms Hopgood is considering displaying her CCTV-captured images of shoplifters, whose thefts are upping insurance premiums for all shops.

“Three months ago a mother and a daughter put in a pharmacy script, and then the daughter stole hundreds of dollars of makeup. They had a Peppermint Grove address,” Ms Hopgood said.

The traders say identifiable thieves come from Cottesloe and other neighbouring suburbs of the western suburbs.

Bebe Boutique owner Jennifer Lee said she had three reported shoplifting incidents in the past month, including a “lovely, well-dressed and chatty lady” who filled a pram with up to 12 items including a blanket, baby clothes and a toy car, another woman who stole bathers, and another who took pyjamas and board shorts.

Flannel Men operator Robert Mance said after the theft of a $295 item by a “Cottesloe regular”, he now identified regular shoppers who could steal and followed them down the street.

The traders said were become less trusting of all shoppers, and the identification of resident shoplifters could be the result of communicating with each other.

Since January, there have been 11 reported incidents to police of shoplifting in Napoleon Street and adjacent Jarrad Street.

Six being investigated include four suspects who are not locals, and of the three charged one was from Swanbourne and the others outside the western suburbs.

Senior Sergeant Paul Gazzone said there was no information or intelligence to support the traders’ claims, but all retail thefts would be investigated and any offence had to be reported.