Mothers are being targeted while they shop for groceries in Portlaoise, according to Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.
“Women are being targeted, if a woman has a child with her, another sitting on the trolley, carrying her purse and trying to pay. There is a group of eastern European women targeting shops.
“There are a number of incidents in Portlaoise and other towns. I’ve had a number of complaints,” he said.
Dep Stanley asked acting Chief Super Michael Byrnes if there was any news on the detection of these criminals, at last week’s Joint Policing meeting in county hall.
The garda said he was not aware of any particular nationality or group of thieves.
“I would be very concerned that shoppers would be targeted. However with CCTV we have achieved a remarkable detection rate. Both women and men need to be conscious, if their minds are occupied, there are always people watching. It’s a question of being aware of your surroundings,” he said.
Chief Supt Byrnes reported a drop in theft from shops of 19 per cent compared to the first six months of 2011 in Laois, with a 11 per cent overall decrease in crime in the county.