Shoplifters steal thousands of dollars worth of perfume at Abercrombie and Fitch

8:35 PM, Jun 18, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - Abercrombie and Fitch is known for its trendy clothes, seen on everyone from high school students to actresses.

The employees are often young, many of them models, seen in artsy black and white photos plastering the walls of the store.

The designs are hip, and include everything from pricey t-shirts to short-shorts, miniskirts and blue jeans for both men and women. Anyone who walks inside wants to walk out looking like a winner.

But it's the store that's been on the losing end lately after a trio of shoplifters, police say, ripped off pricey perfume in the Abercrombie and Fitch in International Plaza on June 2nd.

Tampa Police Officer Harry Augello told us, "I can tell you this, they're not gonna walk out and start spraying. I'm sure they had a shopping list."

A shopping list, he says, that included men's and women's perfume and cologne.

So, where is all this stuff going?

Officer Augello admits, "It can go anywhere, salons, boutiques, flea markets, online, small mom and pop stores." He adds, "They're so many people doing it today, so many potential buyers."

He explains how groups go into stores and steal items to ultimately sell somewhere else. But, it has to be worth the buyer's time and money.

"You have to make it [profitable]. Why would you want to go in and pay legitimately for it," he tells us. The groups that steal will tell buyers, "I can get it for half price or less than that."

At Abercrombie and Fitch, the two-men and one-woman team did just that. And they didn't pick just one or two items, Augello says, they cleaned out all the signature scents.

"They picked out one of everything and picked over the whole shelf," Officer Augello told us. They were going after men's "Fierce" cologne and women's "8" perfume.

The group got away with more than $2,400 worth of scents in the most unbelievable way, police say. They used a child in a stroller to pull off the crime, Officer Augello said because it distracted the employees.

He chuckles, "Child doesn't know what's going on. Child is there for a ride."

Tampa Police say the video in this case is good and could help them get the suspects. Augello says an African American man in a striped shirt is seen in front of the perfume and cologne counter, reaching back to grab bottle after bottle after bottle.

Ultimately, Augello says, it's the consumer who loses when people shoplift.

"It's a huge thing for everyone in retail. Who's paying for the shrinkage? We are," he says.

Police tell us it's the policy of some employers not to have employees go after someone in the process of a crime, because of the liability factor. Even employees say they fear retaliation if they did approach someone trying to get out of the store with merchandise.

"A lot of stores employ young people," Augello says. "They don't want to get hurt."

If you recognize the people in the surveillance video, you could get up to $1,000 in reward money, and you don't have to leave your name.

To visit the Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay website, click here.

Melanie Brooks, 10 Connects

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