A man strolls out of a New Zealand supermarket carrying bags stuffed with nine stolen legs of lamb. Another pushes out a shopping cart stacked with 1,500 New Zealand dollars ($896) of pilfered corned beef and mayonnaise. Yet another smashes a security guard in the face with a bottle of milk before making off with a basket of goods.
None attempt to disguise their theft.
The men, featured in security footage released last month by Foodstuffs North Island, which is part of the nation’s largest grocery chain, are emblematic of the escalating retail crime wave sweeping through the country and neighboring Australia. The theft is brazen, organized, increasingly violent and is costing the two nations an estimated 10 billion Australian dollars ($6.4 billion) a year combined, according to retail groups.