It's in the bag: How shoplifters foil anti-theft detectors

Sunway Malls' chief operating officer Kevin Tan (left) and security manager Adnan Adil Ariffin with one of the foil-lined bags used by a shoplifter.
Sunway Malls' chief operating officer Kevin Tan (left) and security manager Adnan Adil Ariffin with one of the foil-lined bags used by a shoplifter.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA • Shoplifters in Selangor are using special bags lined with aluminium foil to steal items from shopping centres, officials at a major mall in Petaling Jaya said.

These ordinary-looking bags have aluminium foil lining, which allows them to pass through anti-theft detectors without setting off the alarms.

At least two malls in the Malaysian state have been hit by shoplifters carrying such bags, according to Sunway Malls chief operating officer Kevin Tan.

The thieves just pick up items they like, put them in these bags and walk away. In ordinary circumstances, the anti-theft detectors would beep if tagged goods have not been paid for.

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The criminals are helped by the "no plastic" ruling at malls across Selangor, with many shoppers taking their own bags to carry their shopping home.

"There is a lot of good in the no-plastic-bag ruling but people are also taking advantage of this. They come prepared with their own bags so there is a greater chance of people using these lined bags to shoplift," Mr Tan said.

"And it is not just bags. Some line their jackets and jeans pockets with aluminium foil so they can shoplift undetected. So we are even more vigilant," he said.

Mr Tan said the Sunway Pyramid mall receives about three million visitors each month, or 100,000 people a day. During peak tourist periods, international syndicates from as far away as South America come in to hit multiple malls around the same time. Many shopping centres share information on the movements of these thieves.

Another mall hit by these shoplifters found that a favourite target was clothes. The shoplifters were well-dressed women from Vietnam and Myanmar, said Mr Tan, who did not name the shopping centre.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'It's in the bag: How shoplifters foil anti-theft detectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe