While we were at East Maitland, Friday, killing time – before my CT scan appointment – we went to the Green Hills Shopping Centre, and had a bite of lunch. While there, we saw a really blatant “Charles Dickens” moment, take place.

I was sitting at a cafe table, between a Michelle’s patisserie shop – just opposite a gift shop that sells toiletries – waiting for my husband to bring our lunch over to the table.

I watched, in horror, as a young teenager was being schooled – by a “Fagin’s lieutenant” -in how to steal something of value, from the display stand outside the doorway. The display featured quite a range of expensive, boxed perfumes and toiletries on the table, which were not being monitored by the shop staff.

The furtive body language of the pair, first attracted my attention. The younger guy had on an oversize top, that was loose in the front. Following a nudge, from the older guy (Fagin), the kid lifted his top and slid a sizeable box of Hugo Boss cosmetics ($99), under it and began to slink off.

Disgusted, I called out, loudly, “I saw that.”

The kid turned round and gave me a scared look before he ran out of the shopping centre. The older one, gave me a really chilling look. If looks could kill – I’d be dead now. He was a nasty, criminal type, who was schooling the youngster. I could just imagine him with a gun, in Underbelly – a violent crime show on TV.

He sipped his coke, from the can in his hand, turned, and quite unconcerned, quietly sauntered out of the main entrance. There were no security persons available to stop him.

We immediately told the girls at the shop, what happened, but they seemed unconcerned – I guess it wasn’t their shop! Maybe they were in on it?

I left a card for the shop owner to contact me, as I could easily identify both the thieves, from the surveillance tapes. Better they get caught now, before it becomes a criminal habit.

Gives you quite a stir though, when something like that happens, just feet from where you are sitting.