Oamaru Police are warning parents to keep an eye on their children, especially if they are bringing items of value home.
The warning comes after two 10-year-olds were apprehended for taking a backpack full of items from the Warehouse on Friday afternoon.
Oamaru Police Sergeant Blair Wilkinson said while it was not uncommon for youths to take the odd item, it was rare to see people of such a young age taking a significant amount of goods.
The two children have been trespassed from the store and are being dealt with by Youth Aid.
Parents should be wary of items of value being brought in by their children without an adequate explanation, he said.
“Parents of children in that age bracket should be keeping an eye on what property they bring in.”
Sergeant Wilkinson said police wanted to know about any incidents like this, either from the parents or from the store owners, so they could deal with the problem.
Often shoplifting at a young age could indicate other problems with the child or at home.
The police could then liaise with the right agencies to address the issues and help the children, he said.
“It’s good for us to be aware of it.”
Sergeant Tony Woodbridge also said police had been dealing with some runaway youths over the last couple of days and had been concerned about them being involved in local crime.
A 14-year-old was reported missing on Sunday night and was apprehended by police following a short foot chase in the area of Mersey St and Towey St at 1.30pm on Monday.
He was put into the care of Child, Youth and Family but ran away again and police were still looking for him on Tuesday morning.
If young people were outside, especially during school hours, and unaccompanied by their parents, members of the public should call the police, he said.
“We do get quite a bit of crime from wayward youth at that age.
“We want to try to get things right for these kids.
“During the hours of school, there is no real reason why kids should be out of school.”
That way, crime could be prevented before it started, he said.
By RUBY HARFIELD
PHOTO: FILE – Oamaru Police Sergeant Blair Wilkinson.