A group of women described as “Irish mums” is accused of scamming restaurants and businesses across Queensland, Australia.
Details have emerged about a group of mums who carry designer handbags, have broad Irish accents and are often seen with young children around them. New security footage has captured these women allegedly engaging in theft, with business and restaurant owners around Queensland accusing them of fraud.
On one occasion, the women were caught on camera during an attempted shoplifting spree.
The footage shows one of the women, armed with a huge handbag, placing one item in her shopping basket while placing another item in her handbag, When a staff member approaches, she panics and starts removing the items from her bag back into the shopping basket.
According to the news station, it is believed the women stole about $150 worth of items from the small supermarket.
“It’s already so tough for small business owners, let alone these extra losses,” the National Retail Association’s Lyneta Darlington told 7News.
On another occasion in late January, two women pushing prams with two small children were caught on camera suspected of stealing a pair of shoes at a high-end Chanel boutique, reported 7News. However, it is unclear whether these two women are the same suspects linked to the group in question.
The group has also been targeting restaurants by putting pieces of glass into their meals in a bid to claim a free meal.
According to restaurant owner Marie Yokoyama, a group of “Irish girls” showed up at her restaurant with four children who she described were “unbelievably rude.”
“They came in and totally destroyed the restaurant,” Yokoyama said on her Facebook post on March 6.
During their meal, one of the women started screaming and claimed that there was a piece of glass in her meal. She then demanded the restaurant owner that their meal should be free of charge.
“Halfway through the meal one lady started screaming that their [sic] was glass in her meal and that her mouth was bleeding. I believed her and then asked to see the glass,” Yokoyama said.
“Upon inspection, I knew that this had not come from our restaurant but they were relentless. We don’t have any thick glass of this sort in the restaurant. I was so scared and terrified of them that I made their meals and drinks free – around 180 dollars value,” she added.
A number of social media users replied to Yokoyama’s post saying that they have also encountered a similar situation with the same suspects.
One user, Carmen Hartwich, even managed to produce a photo of the suspects, which Yokoyama confirmed as the group.
Hartwich said the photo was posted on a Brisbane hospitality forum on Friday, March 2, after a similar incident occurred at another restaurant.
Shael Dawson, the manager of a pawn shop in Brisbane, said the women have frequented his shop on numerous occasions.
“They come in, they’re very pushy, they’re very full on [with] two prams, four kids,” Dawson told 7 News.
Police are now looking for this group of women and investigating whether they have links to a man who was recently arrested over a similar scam, reported 7News.
After checks with Interpol, it is revealed the man has a history of fraud back in Ireland, according to the news station.
If you have any information, you are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report anonymously online.