In the height of the holiday season, two young men shoved hundreds of pairs of panties into large shopping bags at Victoria's Secret in Sawgrass Mills Mall, then rolled their loot out of the store in a shopping cart.
On November 23, the pair got away with 300 Dream Angel thongs (worth $3,750). It wasn't until closing that the store manager even realized the theft had occurred. Employees were shown security footage of the thieves in the midst of the act, but not even three weeks later, on December 13, the panty pilferers brazenly returned. This time the duo got away with 175 pairs (worth $2,537.50), and like the last time, the panties weren't noticed missing until closing. When the thieves returned a third time, only a week later, on December 20, a Victoria's Secret loss prevention investigator was ready for them.
She asked to remain anonymous, stating that it was simply her job and she didn't want her name released in case the thieves seek some type of revenge. We'll call her Emily.
Emily was working at the store when the thieves walked right past her. In shock, Emily informed the store manager and called police. As she waited for police and mall security to arrive, she ducked behind a table and watched as the young men ransacked drawers of panties, stuffing them into a huge shopping bag as she had seen them do on surveillance video twice before.
Police had not arrived when the culprits wheeled the 375 pairs of underwear out of the store in a mall cart, but Emily was not about to watch them get away a third time. She has worked as the loss prevention investigator at Victoria's Secret for only five months, but she has more than six years' experience working as a loss prevention supervisor and agent at another large retailer. That's why she knew to approach the bandits from the side and not face to face. "I was nervous they were going to walk out with the merchandise," Emily explains. "I was not necessarily worried for my safety -- I guess there was a part of me that was, but I knew they would not hurt me physically."
"Hey, guys, I just want to talk," Emily remembers calmly telling the thieves as she placed her hand on the cart to stop it. That's when one of the men handed the bag, heavy with stolen panties, to Emily and then ran away in the opposite direction. The second man then jumped out of the cart (he was sitting inside it) and pushed Emily down, hard. "They pushed me to the ground, and the panties went everywhere," Emily remembers. "I didn't get hurt; the bag [of panties] cushioned my fall."
Emily is disappointed that the thieves got away with $11,725 worth of underwear. (She expects that the goods will be sold somewhere on the black market and that the men are definitely not seasoned criminals since they were in clear view of the security cameras.) But Emily is relieved that by confronting the duo, the 375 pairs of underwear (worth $5,437.50) were recovered. She doubts they'll be dumb enough to return, but if they do, she'll be prepared.
Watch some of the surveillance video here. Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.
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