A perfume gang have struck Co Donegal stealing more than €3,000 worth of fragrances.
The organised gang of three women swooped at a number of chemists in recent days.
The gang, who are known to Gardai, operate across the country.
They arrived in Letterkenny last week and carried out a number of raids on local pharamacies.
Garda Crime Prevention officer Sgt Paul Wallace told Donegal Daily that local shops must be vigilant.
“This gang operate across the country. They were in and out before we even knew it.
“We estimate that more than €3,000 of perfumes was taken in a number of incidents. They simply shoplifted the perfumes and moved on.
“These gangs are simply building up their own cash reserves for Christmas.
“Shopkeepers need to protect their premises and their goods. Staff need to be vigilant and valuable goods need to be placed close to tills,” he said.
Sgt Wallace revealed that as the Christmas countdown continues, shoppers are being directly targeted.
He revealed that the number of cars being broken into is on the increase across the county.
“Break-ins to cars are up and people should not leave valuables in cars.
“Thieves are watching people shopping and leaving goods in cars,” he revealed.
The well-known Garda also revealed that mobile phones are a huge attraction for thieves in the run-up to Christmas.
“The average smartphone is worth €350. You would not leave €350 down in a bar or in a shop. So why put down a phone and leave it unattended.
“We are asking people to be vigilant around their phones as there are gangs specifcally targeting phones.
“Recently a gang was caught in Co Wexford ready to ship out €500,000 of stolen phones to Spain for sale,” he revealed.
The following is some crime prevention information from Sgt Wallace to coincide with Crime Preevntion Week.
Divisional Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Paul Wallace will host information stands at main shopping areas in the County during this week where he will be available to give advice regarding security.
Sergeant Wallace stated ‘The criminal can be deterred by taking simple steps which will delay, deter and defeat the criminal and will be available to give advice to the public, I will be present in Letterkenny,Ballybofey,Buncrana and Donegal Town at shopping centres during this week to meet the public and give advice’.
The focus of the National Crime prevention Day of Action is in the following areas.
1. Theft from shops.
• 20, 176 theft from shop offences recorded nationally in the 12 month period ending September 2013, representing a increase of (8%). (Source CSO – Publication). (Divisional breakdown of recorded crime statistics available at http://cso.ie/shorturl.aspx/158.
• Research has shown that 2% – 3% loss of sales to shoplifting can amount to loss of 25% in profits.
• There is a noticeable spike in theft from shop incidents around peak Christmas retail period.
• There is no ‘typical’ profile of shoplifter to look out for; offenders come from all walks of life. Be vigilant for suspicious activity.
• Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are busiest days of week for theft from shops.
• Thefts peak between 2pm and 6pm, with 48% of all thefts from shops occurring in this four hour period.
2. Personal Safety / Out and About.
• Avoid travelling alone, where possible. Go with family, friends or neighbours.
• If travelling by car, keep all doors locked. Be alert when parking and getting in/out of your vehicle.
• On public transport sit as close to the driver or exit as possible.
• Keep cash to the minimum. Carry only credit/debit cards that you need.
• Keep wallets and purses out of sight; hand or shoulder bags should be kept close to the body and not dangling by the straps.
3. Mobile phone theft:
Facts about mobile phones:
As of end of April 2013, 1,521 phones had been stolen in theft from person and robbery from the person incidents.
They are particularly targeted late at night and at weekends when people are out socialising and not paying attention to their belongings e.g. they are taken from handbags that are left on the floor or from the counter at a bar.
There have been incidents where phones are snatched from people’s hands while they are talking on them out on the street.
Smart phones such as the iPhone are particularly sought after as they are so valuable. Stolen mobile phones have an average recorded value of €360 per handset.
4. Residential Burglaries / Facts about burglaries:
• 26, 211 burglary and related offences recorded nationally in the 12 month period ending September 2013, representing a decrease of (-8.9%). (Source CSO)
• Burglars are less likely to enter a house with two or more security devices.
• Based on trends from previous years, burglary levels spike in October, peak in November and remain relatively high in December and January.
• The 3 main entry points into houses are rear window, front door and rear door.
• 27% of all burglaries occur through the front door.
• In Rural areas rear windows are used more often as entry points in burglaries, while front doors are used more often in urban areas.
• 30% of burglars enter via an unsecured door or window in summer months.
• In winter, residential burglaries are most likely to occur between 6pm and 10 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
• Commercial burglaries are most likely to occur between Friday and Sunday from midnight to 8 am.
• Jewellery, cash and laptops are most stolen items in residential burglaries. These are followed by mobile phones, car keys, televisions, cameras and game consoles.
• Distraction burglary most likely to occur on weekdays than on weekends, particularly between 12 noon and 6pm.
• Residential burglary remains high with noticeable increase observed in burglaries of garden sheds, outhouses and apartments.
Facts about distraction burglary:
• A distraction burglary is where a falsehood, trick or deception is used to gain access to a property to commit burglary.
• These burglaries predominantly target older persons.
• Overall numbers of older victims of crime has been decreasing in recent years.
• Distraction burglary is most likely to occur on weekdays than on weekends, particularly between 12 noon and 6pm.
• Some of the most common distraction methods used are in relation to water or leaks, guttering, roofing and landscaping