After stuffing the bags to capacity, she hobbles out of the backroom. She is no longer slim.
Her skirt has ballooned out and she knocks merchandise onto the floor in her wake.
Stepping out of the back room, she is engulfed by accomplices who shield her from view of the lone clerk as they exit. Total take: $30,000 of tobacco products in five minutes.|
Thieves use a variety of methods, but most of them involve an element of distraction. They also use specially lined bags to defeat store security alarms. They use props, including wheelchairs and even costumes. They rely on ruses, like walking out the door beside a customer who appears honest.
When the alarm goes off, the honest customer stops and looks around. The thief keeps moving, into a waiting car or busy crowd. Stolen goods are sold at pop-up events, warehouse sales, flea markets and low-income malls in neighbourhoods where people are trying to make ends meet, they won’t ask questions. Stolen goods may also show up mixed among legitimate goods at convenience stores and discount stores.|
The three-man anti-fencing unit at Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has taken down 53 fencing operations in three years, shutting down underground stores where goods from Aritzia, Costco, the Gap, Holt Renfrew and Sport Chek, among others, were being sold at half price.