Woman charged

Jack Hayes

Police have charged a 35-year-old woman following an alleged handbag theft at a Southbank restaurant last month.

The Cranbourne woman, who was with two young boys at the time of the alleged incident, was arrested in Dandenong on Monday, October 5.

Melbourne Tasking Unit officers ended their search for the female thief, who used young children, potentially her own, to brazenly pinch handbags from multiple high-end Southbank restaurants.

Investigators were told a woman and two young boys attended a restaurant at Southbank at approximately 8pm on Saturday, September 12.

It is believed that the woman had trained the children, aged between three and five years old, to steal from unsuspecting patrons.

The woman told workers that she had friends already seated in the restaurant. Whilst she pretended to look for them the two children disappeared upstairs, grabbing a handbag from under a diner’s chair.

The woman waited as the two boys hurried back before quickly fleeing the restaurant avoiding detection.

The bags contained credit cards that were subsequently used in a shopping frenzy.

Snr Sgt Steve Bills of St Kilda Rd Police Station said police were still investigating whether the robbery may be linked to another theft in Southbank that same evening.

She has been charged with a number of theft and deception offences and will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court shortly.

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