The Duct Tape Shoplifters: Coming Soon To A Mall Near You?

Watch out for organized, highly trained teams of shoplifters in your local mall. They aren’t small-time operators—they stole $23,000 worth of bras and panties from a West Virginia Victoria’s Secret. No, really.

The Victoria’s Secret and Aeropostale stores were hit between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday. Victoria’s Secret reports that about 400 bras and 350 pairs of panties were stolen, worth about $23,000. Aeropostale says more than $2,000 worth of T-shirts were stolen.

Police believe that their M.O. is to have one team member distract the sales staff while others help themselves to the merchandise, stuffing it in specially lined bags.

I sent the link to one of our contacts in retail management for an opinion. She says that this method is quite plausible. A similar group, if not the same one, has hit other malls across the country, including hers.

Victoria’s Secret gets hit a lot at [my mall.] Banana Republic and Ann Taylor both got hit bad last month, too. It was the same deal, with lined bags and decoys.

Lined bags are usually done with [aluminum foil and] duct tape. What you have to look for is a bag from a store that’s not in your mall, or one that is exceptionally square. A typical bag from a clothing store will crinkle and not be stiff and flat.

There’s also taking the contents of a whole table and bolting, which happens to Victoria’s Secret a lot. What they do is you take everything but a few sizes, skim the table, and that way it looks like it hasn’t been hit.

Now, we’re not providing this information as tips, but simply to allow you to be an informed citizen or retail employee. Be vigilant. Keep the panties safe.

Shoplifters loot Vienna mall of $25K worth of items [Charleston Gazette]

(Photo: coreyann)