The MLA for East Belfast was speaking after it emerged a Russell’s Shop 4 You on the Albertbridge Road had been targeted by two men on both Friday and Saturday morning.
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Those behind these thefts have absolutely no respect for the local community and must be apprehended before they can strike again.
“Together we are all committed to making East Belfast a welcoming place for everyone and we cannot allow these types of incidents to damage businesses in our community.
“While these types of crimes can often be opportunistic, they can also be the result of advanced planning. Whatever the motivation, the growing number signals the PSNI – along with local businesses, community groups and politicians – must take preventative action for the future.
“My thoughts are with the shop owners and staff affected during both incidents and I wish them a speedy recovery. I would urge anyone with information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible.”