THIEVES are snagging trays of meat from Wagga supermarkets and on-selling or exchanging them on the black market to feed their drug addictions, grocers and residents have declared.
It comes after a 30-year-old man carrying $200 worth of stolen meat trays in his backpack was arrested and charged on Wednesday.
Yvonne Myob knows first hand the motive behind the brazen act of stealing meat.
“Most do it to sell it, it happens all the time,” she wrote on The Advertiser’s Facebook page.
“Went to my local Coles, a guy came around the corner trying to sell us meat he just stole. And speaking to workers in Coles and Woolworths, it happens just about every day.”
Dominic Ferlito said meat was often “sold directly or indirectly to purchase drugs due to its high dollar value”.
It is a sentiment Lake Albert Foodworkers owner, Rod Porter, shares.
“It’s easy to flog $200 or $300 worth and sell it for $100,” Mr Porter said. “They either sell it on to meet addictions or the money they save (not buying meat) can be spent otherwise.”
A woman caught stealing $200 worth of meat trays from the store four months ago has been charged and ordered to pay back its worth to the business.
Mr Porter believed the rising issue of meat theft was more likely to occur in larger supermarkets.
“It happens on and off (here),” he said. “We’re fortunate we’ve caught a couple of people doing it. We’re quite vigilant on it (with the installation of CCTV).”
Police allege the meat found on the 30-year-old man earlier this week in Turvey Park was stolen from a supermarket in the CBD, after they caught him acting suspiciously in the area.
But despite police and resident reports, local supermarket giants are remaining tight-lipped. Coles declined to comment, while Woolworths failed to respond by time of publication. “This is a matter for the police and we will not be commenting further on the incident,” an Aldi spokesman said.
The man was charged with shoplifting and will appear in Wagga Local Court on November 25.
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