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Shoplifters add meat to their loot

| Crime and security

First it was clothes‚ then electronic goods and baby formula. Now it is meat. Retailers waging a battle against grocery store shoplifting are adopting unorthodox crime prevention measures by placing electronic security tags on expensive cuts of meat.

The food tags work in the same way as on items such as clothes. Exit the shop without paying for the chunk of steak and an alarm goes off.

Sowetan observed a packer gingerly placing the strange tags on meat this week at one retail chain store west of Johannesburg.

The drastic measure is apparently a direct response to a rise in shoplifting of unconventional goods like meat in tough economic times. In the past‚ tagging was reserved for goods like CDs.

Last week Sowetan reported that a Kliptown policewoman was caught shoplifting meat worth R620 at a Pick n Pay store in Lenasia. She has been released on R500 bail.

Now security at major supermarkets has been stepped up ahead of Christmas.

"We put tags on the meat because it gets stolen a lot lately‚" said an employee of a Pick n Pay store. "But the thieves have gotten smarter so we have to find other ways of protecting the meat."


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