Police smashed a shoplifting syndicate that has been terrorising business owners in the rural town of Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The shoplifters are suspected of having links with a Durban network. They travel in unmarked cars and operate in groups of five, usually made up of women and young boys of school-going age.
Police detectives saythe robbers enter local supermarkets and leave unnoticed with loads of goods.
The women are known to hide the stolen goods in their underwear, while the young boys hide the goods under big jackets.
In the latest incident the local Pick n Pay store was robbed of goods worth about R15000.
A woman believed to be the ring leader of the operation has been arrested and is due to appear in court soon. Her accomplice managed to escape.
Police captain Shooz Magudulela says the suspects leave the shops unnoticed even security scanners cannot detect them.
Magudulela says in the latest incident police received a tip-off from an informer.
"When police arrived at the shopping complex, the informer helped us to identify the suspects who were walking in and out of the shop."
He says police then closed off the parking bay and proceeded to inspect the vehicle in which the goods were stashed.
Magudulela says the suspects were travelling in a hired Toyota Tazz with a Durban registration number.
"On approaching the car, police saw a number of boxes in the car. Inspectors Nazir Mohamed and France Labus-chagne ordered the two occupants of the car to get out."
When police searched the boot, more stolen goods were found, which included liquor, groceries and cosmetics.
Magudulela says when the shop manager was called to identify the stolen goods, the suspects were found to be without proof of purchase.
"At least R15000 worth of goods were recovered. One of the women suspects escaped from the scene."
Magudulela says the investigations are continuing.