Shop staff are being advised to be on the alert for what police say is the shoplifter's take on "divide and conquer".
Napier Police community constable Mike Burne said there had been a recent spike in shoplifting reports and among them was another incident where the offenders worked as a team.
The man involved was known to police and had drug dependency issues, Mr Burne said.
He entered a hardware store in Onekawa with a woman.
"They employed the classic 'divide and conquer' strategy - splitting up in the shop with one taking the attention of the assistant while the other helped themselves to some tools," Mr Burne said.
"They left the store without paying."
Police were following up inquiries.
In a second shoplifting incident a "well known Napier thief" stole a clock from a Niven St shop and was caught on CCTV and identified.
A couple of days later he was at it again - stealing grocery items from another Onekawa business.
"He is now in the process of being dealt with," Mr Burne said.
In other recent incidents shoplifters stole cider from an Ahuriri supermarket while another well-known shoplifter was caught after allegedly stealing a gas bottle from Mitre 10 in Onekawa.
Mr Burne said in many cases the shoplifting was taking place to fuel drug habits and he said shop staff needed to be extra vigilant of pairs or groups and where one grabbed the attention of an assistant leaving others to "roam the store".
Police are also investigating the recent theft of three outboard motors taken from boats at the Napier Sailing Club in Ahuriri.
A Mercury 9.9M motor, a Honda 10 outboard and fuel tank along with an 8HP Johnson outboard were stolen.
The thief, or thieves, cut a hole in a netting fence to gain entry to the club grounds.