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BY SAM SPOKONY | Now here’s a store that can’t help getting caught with its pants down.
Soho’s Victoria’s Secret has become a haven for shoplifters, with 10 reported crimes over the past year that have collectively cost the lingerie shop more than $17,000 worth of stolen merchandise.
The most recent incident at the 591 Broadway outlet, on Feb. 21, involved an unidentified woman who successfully made off with 105 pairs of panties, according to police reports. And a month before that, four women got away with swiping 300 pair, after three of them were apparently able to distract and confound both the sales staff and security guard before dashing out the door.
Those crimes might suggest that Victoria’s Secret didn’t quite learn its lesson after hundreds of panties, thongs, garter belts and bras were stolen from the Soho store throughout 2013, with only one shoplifter during that time — a 32-year-old woman who snatched up four bottles of perfume — actually being caught by store security and arrested by cops. On top of all that, a customer’s cell phone was stolen while she was browsing the shop last October.
A recent visit to the Broadway store showed a single security guard standing idly just inside the front door, who explained that he’s not actually employed by Victoria’s Secret, but instead works for an outside agency, whose name he didn’t disclose. The guard, who also didn’t give his own name, said he works alone at the store, from opening to closing time, four days a week, in tandem with a second guard who works the other three full days. And those are long shifts — clocking in at around 12 hours for Monday through Saturday, and eight hours on Sunday.
So, the reporter wondered, maybe those two guys could use some help in terms of breaking up the shifts and getting a fresh pair of eyes on the door? But the guard said he isn’t aware of any plans to bolster security, even after all the shoplifting problems, and Victoria’s Secret’s corporate office doesn’t seem to want to talk much about the issue either.
“We take matters of theft seriously and work closely and in cooperation with local state and federal authorities on these types of investigations,” said a company spokesperson, in response to questions about the many undergarments that have unlawfully passed through the Soho shop’s doors. “We do not have any additional information to provide at this time.”
All in all, however, the Soho location may not be quite as rife with intrigue as Victoria’s Secret’s flagship store at W. 34th St. and Sixth Ave., where last October a 17-year-old shoplifter was caught also carrying a dead baby in her bag.