Newcastle police have smashed what it believes to be an organised shoplifting ring operating across Newcastle, the Central Coast and Sydney.
According to the release issued by the police, officers are currently investigating a string of 20 stealing offences in retail stores over a month and have identified seven suspects using CCTV footage.
Three offenders, a man and two teenage girls, have been charged so far. All offenders were from the Newcastle area.
The 22 year old man was arrested on Monday 7 September 2009 and charged with 18 stealing offences.
The two 15 year old girls were charged with one stealing offence each, but the police expect they will face further charges when they appear in court.
All have been given bail under stringent conditions relating to not associating with each other.
The police emphasised that further investigations are currently taking place into further offences and the involvement of other identified offenders.
If anyone has information in regards to this matter, they are being instructed to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. All callers are being assured that any information they provide will be treated in the strictest confidence and they can chose to remain anonymous.