Over the past summer, a string of thefts that accounted for more than $100,000 in stolen designer eyewear had plagued several retail outlets. Strikingly, almost 300 pairs of glasses with a cumulative value exceeding $116,000 disappeared from these stores in the period between June 5 and August 28. The thieves appeared to have a penchant for large hauls, with repeated instances of dozens of pairs of glasses and sunglasses being stolen at once.
On June 5, a business located on the 1500 block of Regent Avenue West was the first to fall victim to the criminal act. The culprits absconded with 23 pairs of designer sunglasses, a theft amounting to more than $5,600.
Subsequently, on June 12 and August 28, another business on the 1200 block of St. Mary’s Road reported a loss of 102 designer eyeglass frames and sunglasses worth in excess of $36,000.
Further, on June 23, July 6, and August 4, a suspect allegedly targeted a store in the 500 block of Sterling Lyon Parkway. Here, it was reported a grand total of 173 designer sunglasses were seized over the period of the three incidents, collectively valued around $73,000.
As of September 8, law enforcement successfully executed a search warrant on a residence in the 2300 block of Pembina Highway. The search revealed more than 40 pairs of designer glasses – stolen property extravagantly valued at more than $12,000.
As for the remainder of the pilfered sunglasses, the location remains a game of conjecture for the police. Stolen goods often fall into the hands of larger organized criminal groups to fulfill specific ‘orders’, subsequently getting traded for other unlawfully acquired items. However, individual thieves sometimes peddle their stolen goods directly to oblivious buyers, often exploiting social media platforms as their marketplace. Regardless of the dubious origin of the items, buyers evince a magnetic affinity for such goods despite an unverified source of ownership.
Keeping in mind the hazards associated with purchasing stolen goods, potential buyers are advised to exercise caution and request a bill of sale or receipt prior to sealing any purchases.
The alleged thieves, a 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman from Winnipeg, have been apprehended and charged in connection to the thefts. The former faces six counts of theft over $5,000 and is currently in custody, while the latter has been charged with possessing property obtained by crime over $5,000, and was released on an undertaking.