Victoria's Secret 'easy targets' for thieves?

Posted at 10:35 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 06:44:08-05

Three people from Tampa were arrested after Charlotte County deputies said they stole more than $2,600 in Victoria's Secret merchandise, a growing trend according to experts.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office told deputies to be on the look out for Sean Walker, 24, Nakishia Riley, 27, and Marchais Williams, 26.

Their arrest report said the three walked into the Port Charlotte Town Center Mall with empty shopping bags. A deputy eating at the food court saw them and followed them. That deputy saw the three exit the store with the shopping bags filled with merchandise, and once they were detained, found more than $2,600 in clothing and underwear.

This is at least the second time this Victoria's Secret store has been hit; in July, two girls were caught on camera stealing nearly $1,700 in merchandise.

At the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, a group of girls stole more than $1,500 in goods in March. In another case at the same store, women stole more than $1,000 in merchandise.

Walt Zalisko, a former Police Chief, said this isn't just a trend in Southwest Florida.  "This is nationwide. This isn't just here. You can go on the internet and see Victoria's Secret stores are being hit world wide," Zalisko said.

Thieves aren't just stealing the goods to sell the goods online. Zalisko said this goes deeper.  "These are organized criminal enterprises that are specifically going out, stealing large volumes of items.  These people get paid to go out there and shoplift," he said.

Victoria's Secret is considered a coveted name-brand, so there's always a demand for their merchandise.

Zalisko said the stores layout also plays a role in why thieves may target their store.  "Obviously the front door is in {front} and the registers are toward the rear. Everything that's set up in the front of the store is easy pickings for shoplifters," he said.

Experts tell Four in Your Corner when thieves go out and steal these items, consumers end up paying the price in higher costs.

They encourage anyone who plans to steal from a shop to consider this: improved surveillance systems have helped in landing thieves behind bars.

Riley is charged with grand theft, fleeing law enforcement, and scheming to defraud obtaining property communication.

Williams and Walker are facing charges of grand theft, scheming to defraud property communication, and resisting an officer without violence.