Thieves brazenly stole 72 bras valued at $3,690 from a Victoria's Secret store in South Barrington last month, authorities said.
South Barrington Police Chief Mike Deegan said the store chain, not the village or the Arboretum shopping center where the store is located, is being targeted regionally. Victoria's Secret stores are generally not heavily staffed, and merchandise of high value can be taken quickly to be fenced or sold through third parties at flea markets, he said.
"We give (the store) advice all the time," Deegan said. "I think it's just a product of the economy."
Both thefts were reported to police Nov. 26, but one happened on Nov. 9 and the other Nov. 21, Deegan said.
Surveillance footage from the Nov. 9 theft shows 36 bras worth $1,771 being shoved into a bag before the offenders ran out the door. On Nov. 21, a woman posing as a customer distracted a sales clerk while a male accomplice grabbed another 36 bras worth $1,919, police said.
Though the thieves in both cases were identified as a man and woman, further review of the videos is needed to determine whether they were the same man and woman, Deegan said.
With the same stores being targeted across the area, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office has established a Regional Organized Crime Task Force to jointly prosecute such crimes when the offenders are caught, Deegan said. When prior suspects have been arrested for such crimes, it was found that they used GPS devices to simply drive from one store location to another throughout the suburbs, he added.
In 2011, the state's attorney's office ran a major retail theft sting operation called "Operation Whoville" which netted 59 arrests just before the holiday shopping season. The sting targeted organized retail theft rings at Woodfield Mall, Orland Square Mall in Orland Park and several stores along North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
In addition to Victoria's Secret, other store chains are often targeted by professional crews for particular items like North Face coats, Deegan said. These crews have some know-how on keeping stores' security sensors from detecting tagged items, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, he said.