$11K worth of bras stolen from Victoria's Secret store

November 2, 2012 6:26:11 PM PDT
In the retail business they call it shrinkage. To the rest of us it's called shoplifting. And it is a serious problem.

Officials say that for the last two years, Victoria's Secret stores have been the latest target for organized thieves. Across the country the company's lost tens of thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise.

Surveillance video shows two men stealing bras in a Victoria's Secret store in Evesham, New Jersey. Police there say the men stole 30 bras worth $1,600. The April theft in New Jersey is just one of several Victoria's Secret stores that have been hit by bra thieves in the past two years nationwide.

The most recent theft took place on Halloween night at the Stanford Shopping Center. According to police 180 bras were stolen, which amounts to about $11,000 worth of lacy material. Shoppers ABC7 News spoke to are stunned.

One woman said, "I think that's pretty horrible. I don't know how they could have possibly pulled that off."

While another noted, "It's crazy! How could they take that much out of the store and not have anyone notice?"

Palo Alto police sergeant Kara Apple says organized retail theft is nothing new. But she notes that thieves have different levels of sophistication for stealing and unloading their take, "It could be very simple going to swap meets or flea markets. They could be an 'it' person who can just dump them to people who they know." Sgt. Apple notes thieves often go in to stores in teams. They distract clerks or security and make off with the merchandise.

The thieves in Palo Alto took the bras from a cabinet in which the store stocks its bras. Apple says recovering clothing items is tough because they usually don't have serial numbers or other ways to distinguish or identify their origin. That makes it even easier to just sell the bras online, "People can sell these things in bulk on the internet or just here or there on the internet at will," Apple said. "It's not difficult to get rid of these items."

Rima Nazzal works in retail. She says the thieves should have been quickly stopped or caught on camera, "They should have more security in the store. They should have more cameras. They should have more salespersons and a security guy."

Sources close to Victoria's Secret tell ABC7 News that the in-store security cameras weren't working at the time of the theft. The company's corporate office did not return our calls for comment.

Police say they have no leads at this time.


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