WINNIPEG -- Police are describing a coordinated theft at a Liquor Mart Wednesday as brazen and chaotic.

It happened around 6:20 p.m., when a Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson said they received a report of multiple people trying to shoplift in a group.

Const. Rob Carver said five arrests were made.

“Everyone we arrested was a youth. Quite young, actually, some as young as 14,” said Carver.

He alleges the teens were going after a large haul.

“It was hundreds of bottles. Almost a couple hundred,” he said, describing the event as unusual.

“I haven’t really seen, in my career, something as brazen as this.”

Carver did note that police across Canada are seeing a new pattern of shoplifting -- in groups, in all kinds of retail settings.

“Where sometimes groups are coming in, some are attempting to distract staff, while others are attempting to steal product,” he said, adding it was the bold, chaotic nature of this incident that made it stand out, as well as the young age of the suspects arrested.

Rate of Liquor Mart thefts returns to peak

In a statement, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries said although it saw a dip in the rate of thefts in the spring, after new, highly-publicized security measures were put in place, the rate has gone up again this fall.

“…The rate of theft in Liquor Marts is as high as it’s ever been,” said the statement.

The Crown corporation said the thefts are traumatizing to employees and additional security measures are still being implemented.

“We’ve witnessed thieves openly steal product despite the presence of uniformed special duty constables on the sales floor. Thieves often become violent when confronted by requests for ID, or with ill-advised attempts by security, staff or customers trying block their entry and exit,” the statement said.

“The safety of our employees and customers remains our number one concern.”