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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Six dresses disappear with them

It looked like a regular shopping outing among girlfriends.
For about an hour, three women in their mid- to late 30s tried on up to 20 dresses at a Chinatown shop on Pagoda Street.
After all that, the women bought just one dress costing $160.
But after they left, the shop owner discovered that six dresses, each also worth about $160, had disappeared along with them.
Madam Qin Yong Juan, 34, said the stolen dresses were designs that the women had tried on and were in sizes suitable for them.
The outfits were also the most expensive pieces in the store.

Madam Qin said in Mandarin: "About five to 10 minutes after they left, my assistant, who had been serving them, noticed that there were several empty hangers on the racks.
"That's when we realised something was amiss and called the police."
The incident, which happened last Friday at about 8pm, was captured by CCTV cameras installed in the store.
Her sales assistant had attended to the women as Madam Qin was occupied with another group of customers.
She said the women spoke Mandarin, but their accents suggested they were not local.
Madam Qin said that on hindsight, there were signs that something was wrong when one of the women paid for the dress at the counter.
"At first, she wanted to pay by credit card, but then she changed her mind and wanted to pay in cash, which means we can't trace their identities," she said.
Since customers change their minds frequently about payment methods, Madam Qin did not think much of it at the time.
Tell-tale sign
There was another tell-tale sign, she added.
"While she was making payment, the woman put on her sunglasses, but when I wondered why she was wearing sunglasses in the shop and gave her a strange look, she quickly pushed them up onto her forehead.
"She might have put on the sunglasses because she noticed the CCTV camera above the cashier and wanted to disguise herself," she said.
Madam Qin said her sales staff are not trained to take special note of the number of pieces that customers take into the fitting rooms.
In the women's case, it was more challenging to keep track as they had tried on so many dresses.
Said Madam Qin: "They tried on many pieces and after they were done, the pieces were dumped in a huge bundle on the couch outside the fitting rooms, making it difficult to keep count."
The CCTV footage, which was shown to The New Paper, shows the women lifting the dresses from the hangers, wrapping them around a hand before walking out of the camera's frame.
While one woman did this with her back facing the sales assistant, another would be distracting her by asking about the clothes.
Said the 32-year-old sales assistant, who wanted to be known only as Rhona: "Whenever I tried to attend to the women browsing the racks, the one at the fitting rooms would call me, saying that the size wasn't right or that she needed help getting zipped up."
Another part of the footage showed one woman passing a dress discreetly among the clothes hung on the rack to another woman.
Madam Qin said she is thinking of installing an anti-shoplifting security system to prevent future thefts.
The police confirmed that a report had been made. Investigations are ongoing.


Pelawat Sejak 30/09/11

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