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Police have confirmed two women have been charged with common assault with a 19-year-old who has also been charged with two counts of shoplifting following a brawl at a Sydney Kathmandu store.

The brawl was said to have broken out after a manager saw one of the women allegedly steal a wig from a neighbouring shop inside Westfield Parramatta Shopping centre and told the woman to put the item back.

“When two shopkeepers tried to intervene, a scuffle ensued, and they were allegedly assaulted before the two females left the scene,” NSW police said in a statement.

The women aged 19 and 22 walked away from the store however returned a short time later and were arrested by police.

The shopkeepers involved were said to have experienced minor injuries however did not require further medical treatment.

Footage shows that there was public intervention who were attempting to break up the vicious brawl which included hair pulling and pushing.

A man in a high-vis shirt pulled one alleged thief out of the store by her legs before the shop shutters were closed as seen in the footage.

They have both been issued court attendance notices and are due to appear in Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 29 March 2023.

Definition of Theft?

 According to the NSW Police Force theft is when someone has taken your property without your permission, with no intention of returning it.

Examples of theft include;

  • Burglary or housebreaking
  • Property taken from your person without you knowing
  • Property taken from a vehicle or vessel
  • Property taken from your business, home or yard
  • Shoplifting
  • Stealing of an animal (pet or livestock)
  • Stealing a vehicle (includes: car, motorbike, boat, trailer, caravan, truck, heavy plant, aircraft, etc)

Definition of Larceny in NSW

Larceny is the crime of taking someone else’s property, carrying it away, without the owner’s consent, with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of that property, being dishonest and without a claim of right to it.

In New South Wales larceny is a crime that attracts a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment if dealt with in the District Court, under section 117 Crimes Act (NSW).

If dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum penalties differ depending on the value of the property stolen.

Here is the law on finders keepers in NSW.

Minor Shoplifting Offences

According to the National Retail Association minor acts such as shoplifting, not paying for an item or committing unauthorised damage to property is classed as a ‘regulatory offence’.

There are various categories that fall under ‘regulatory offence’.

Shoplifting falls under the category of unauthorised dealing with shop goods valued at $150 or less.

This includes;

  • Consuming food or drink inside a store without paying; or
  • hanging/removing price tags or crossing out the price.

These offences are handled in a magistrate’s court with penalties that depend on the unique circumstances of the case.

What Happens if a Young Person Shoplifts?

If a person aged between 10 and under 18 years shoplifts, he or she will be subject to various penalties under the Young Offenders Act 1997. 

If a young person has stolen something minor for the first time they may be given an on-the-spot warning by police which does not go onto your criminal record under this act.

If a young person is found stealing numerous times, they may be issued a caution which is more serious than a warning.

However, if a child continues to engage in this behaviour, they may have to attend a Youth Justice Conference to discuss the circumstances and impact on individuals involved to ensure that the young person understands the seriousness of the crime and to avoid further reoffending.

Shoplifting Statistics 

Shoplifting, particularly minor shoplifting is a serious area of concern in NSW.

Retail Clothing stores are often targeted when it comes to shoplifting by young people.

Ashley Howard, store manager of a popular retail store in Chatswood has expressed the impact shoplifting has had on her store with concerns about the increase in theft by young adolescents.

“Theft is increasing every year in retail as teenagers are becoming too confident in stealing. There’s not enough security and there needs to be harsher consequences to minimise this.” Ashley Howard said.

Research has also revealed the extent of the problem.

According to NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shoplifting accounts for a major proportion of stealing from businesses and shop premises.

In 2016 an NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics report revealed that shoplifting was the one category from 17 major offences to record a rise in cases, with an increase of 6.1 per cent.

By Alyssa Maschmedt.

Image credit: jon lyall 

AUTHOR Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia

Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia are Leading Criminal Defence Lawyers, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Courts.

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