Another panty raid at Victoria’s Secret part of national wave of underwear heists

eleland@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 25, 2013 

The Great Underwear Caper continues with thieves targeting a Victoria’s Secret store in Gastonia, N.C., for the second time in a week.

Missing is a veritable trunk full of hundreds of pairs of not-your-mother’s panties. Though store employees declined to say what styles the thieves chose, Victoria’s Secret lingerie comes in a range of suggestive designs from Sexy Little Things to Darling Cheeky Panty.

The latest theft at the Victoria’s Secret in Westfield Eastridge Mall occurred during a busy time at the end of the day Saturday. When an employee returned to the front of the store a little after 7 p.m., police said, some $2,100 worth of underwear was missing from a display table. Another $2,500 worth was taken last Tuesday.

Lest you think someone in Gastonia has an underwear fetish, thefts from Victoria’s Secret are not uncommon.

Thieves have stolen tens of thousands of dollars in lingerie from stores all the way from California to New York, also from stores in Raleigh, Charleston and twice last month from the store at SouthPark.

Some thefts appear to be minor shoplifting; others involve multiple participants, police say, some to distract the sale clerks and others to sneak away with the merchandise.

A spokeswoman for Limited Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret, declined to answer questions about the rash of thefts except to say, “We take matters of theft seriously and work closely and in cooperation with local state and federal authorities on these type of investigations.”

With $6 billion in sales last year, Victoria’s Secret is known for its seductive advertising strategy featuring scantily-clad supermodels and the unspoken promise that any woman can be transformed by wearing a Very Sexy panty.

But why take hundreds in all sizes, shapes and colors?

“Maybe they’re going to sell them online or at a flea market,” speculated Danna Lahser, spokeswoman for the Gastonia police. “Maybe they’re going to give them away.”

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