19 Jul 2010

Melbourne boys on Queenstown shoplifting spree

5:45 pm on 19 July 2010

Sixteen schoolboys from Melbourne went home in disgrace on Sunday after going on a shoplifting spree in Queenstown.

The boys from Xavier College were caught with $6000 worth of clothing and souvenirs on Saturday.

The group, on a skiing trip in the resort, targeted seven shops, mostly clothing stores, taking items such as ski jackets.

Most of the clothing was ruined when security tags were ripped off.

Constable Dave Felstead says they moved around the town in a pack, taking items as they went.

Afterwards, teachers accompanied them back to the stores to return the items, in some cases paying for the ruined clothing.

The stores decided not to prosecute, to allow the whole group of 30 pupils to return to Melbourne on a flight on Sunday.

Teachers assured police and store owners the boys will be severely dealt with.

The ABC reports all of the students involved in the thefts have been suspended.

Principal Dr Chris Hayes says he is shocked and saddened by what has happened. The boys, aged 14 to 17, have been suspended from Xavier College for one week - and Mr Hayes says they are remorseful.