In Fairfield, bras and panties are hot items for thieves
What's going on at the Fairfield Victoria's Secret store?
On October 3, $1,184 worth of leopard bras and boyshort underwear were stolen from the store at 1499 Boston Post Rd. The manager said two women ran out with two large shopping bags filled with $659 worth of bras and $525 worth of panties.
This is a familiar happening at Fairfield's Victoria's Secret. Since 2008, 41 shoplifting incidents and 24 larceny thefts have been reported at Victoria's Secret. That's 65 incidents in six years.
Why bras and panties?
According to Fairfield Lt. Jim Perez, it's because they are worth a lot on the black market. Perez said most of the culprits are professional shoplifting rings who resell the items. He also said the layout of the Victoria's Secret store lends itself to running in and running back out quickly.
It's not just Victoria's Secret, though. Next-door neighbors, Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic are "feeling the same pain," Perez said.
The biggest problem, according to Perez, is that many times the store does not pursue an arrest. Perez speculates the reason for this is that headquarters does not want negative press. In this way they create a "haven for shoplifters," Perez said.
"These thieves are feeling comfortable operating in that environment to the point where they are reasonably sure they are not going to get caught."
How can the underwear thieves be stopped?
Perez believes corporate headquarters should be giving local managers the authority to prosecute shoplifters based on the amount of crimes going on in the area. If thieves know they will not get caught, shoplifting can lead to other crimes, said Perez.
"[The stores] have just as equal a part in preventing crime as police do," Perez said.
It's also about better security. "People need to be aware that shoplifting groups are operating. People need to be aware of suspicious behavior," Perez said. Suspicious behavior could include people taking photos of the store and people acting as "lookouts" for cops.
Perez said increased security is also necessary, and it doesn't have to come from expensive equipment. Employees standing at the door greeting people and paying attention to who comes in and out could be superheroes for Victoria's Secret.
"I think part of the problem is they need to be better trained in knowing to spot or identify indicators of someone up to no good," said Perez. "A greeter can go long way in preventing crime."
Here's a rundown of just some of the underwear capers that have gone down in Fairfield:
65 theft incidents have occured at the Fairfield Victoria's Secret in the past six years.
In March 2014, $4,000 worth of bras were stolen within four days.
Many times, the store does not pursue an arrest.
2007: Seven to eight drawers full of reversible bras (worth twice as much?), with a total value of $2,500, and the theft of 100 bras, from its pink collection, valued at $4,000.
2009: Twenty bras were reportedly stolen from Victoria's Secret. Police said that 10 "Very Sexy" bras, valued at $42 a piece, and 10 pink bras, valued at $28.50 a piece, were stolen. Total losses were $705. There were no witnesses, police said.
2010: 20 bras valued at $1,000 were stolen.
2011: A 30-year-old New York woman described as a professional shoplifter with a long criminal history was charged with fifth-degree larceny and possession of a shoplifting device Friday after trying to steal $879 worth of merchandise from Victoria's Secret.
2011: A New York brother and sister were charged Friday with stealing $3,000 worth of merchandise and perfume from the Victoria's Secret store in Fairfield and other outlets.
2012: A light-fingered lover of lingerie struck the downtown Victoria's Secret for the second time in less than a month Thursday, slipping away with 65 pairs of panties worth about $650. About a month earlier, about $600 worth of lace panties and thongs were swiped.
2014: On March 21, $2,000 worth of bras were stolen from the "Dream Angel Center." Four days later, another $2,000 worth of bras were stolen.
2014: On September 1, $576 worth of lingerie was stolen.