Lessons from the Balenciaga case, a $94,000 handbag theft from EH

Last month, a woman pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery for stealing nearly $94,000 worth of wallets from the Balenciaga wallet store on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. The theft took place as a stealth operation that lasted 30 seconds in broad daylight on March 3 – 48 purses in all. The woman couldn’t have done it alone, of course. $94,000 worth of wallets is a lot of wallets. Indeed, there was a gang. There was also a getaway car, a black Dodge Durango with tinted windows. And there was a plan made earlier, even if it was only a plan to get the goods and not a plan to get away with the goods.

Three men and two women left Newark, New Jersey in the black Dodge Durango with tinted windows at sunrise. It was March 3. Destination ? East Hampton.

The two women were both in their thirties, the three men in their twenties. It is unclear how they were supposed to distribute the goods. But as it happens, the plan was for each of them to go into the store and collect as many clutches, purses, and purses as they could carry and take them to the Durango. Maybe nine or 10 each. And 48 at about $2,000 a wallet, because that’s the price these wallets are sold for, nets you $94,000.

At 1:30 p.m. that afternoon, there were two employees in the store, a manager and a clerk. The black SUV pulled up in front, and a woman got out wearing a ski mask, possibly a COVID mask, and entered Balenciaga holding a cellphone to her ear.

According to associate director Franco Polar, she said, “You know, I don’t like shopping at the last minute. And then she lowered the phone and started looking at the wallets on the shelves. She turned to Polar and asked if they had a certain sneaker, she was told yes, and she gave her size and Polar told the clerk to go down to the basement and find her size. Then he walked to the back of the store.

That’s when, according to Polar, all hell broke loose. The van doors opened, people jumped out, ran in and started grabbing handfuls of wallets from the shelves. The deputy director was stunned.

“What’s going on?” He asked.

Nobody answered. And 30 seconds later, all four were outside the front door, past the strolling shoppers, and into the SUV, which started screaming.

People immediately dialed 911. When asked for the license plate number, they must have said there was none. There were no license plates.

And so the cops gave chase. The SUV headed west down Main Street, got faster and faster, and then was well over the speed limit. Eventually the cops slowed down. The high-speed pursuit was too dangerous. But they could phone Suffolk County and New York State Police ahead of time to stop the SUV.

The first thing you learn at Larceny School is that stealing items from shelves should be done at night when no one is around. You break a lock. You cover the surveillance cameras with fabric. You tiptoe out and start slowly. (Yes, it was all filmed.)

Also, you don’t remove license plates. Instead you stick cardboard on it and stop after a while when it’s safe and remove the cardboard.

Also, if they had been to Larceny School, they could have taken a shoplifting course. Shoplifting happens during the day, and you don’t care about surveillance cameras because you’re doing it with your back turned, putting things inside a big coat you’re wearing and coming back frequently to take more. You’re not trying to pack everything in one trip.

And they teach burglaries. Make sure, in advance, that your van is in perfect condition. They didn’t do that. When East Hampton Village police dropped the chase and turned it over to county and state police, the Durango quickly appeared, speeding down the Sunrise Highway, still over 100 miles per hour. . The police followed. At the turn on Manorville Road toward the Long Island Freeway at this high speed, the suspects, among others, certainly heard and felt BANG, Kafluffa, Kafluffa, Kafluffa, which is the sound of a flat car.

They wobbled towards the left turn on the Long Island Freeway, climbed it and, continuing with smoke billowing out the back, finally came to a stop on the shoulder of the freeway, where, as the cops closed in, they fled into the woods. , the evidence left in the van. Not good.

Having a bad getaway car, running around in the woods, and leaving hot goods in the getaway car is frowned upon at Larceny School.

Ultimately, helicopters, the 7th District, and K-9 units were called in and by 6:30 p.m. four of the five people were arrested. The fifth, a woman, has not been found as of August 31. She may still be in the woods. In a cellar. Or in a tree. Probably with wallets. We just don’t know.

This is a classic case of a failed robbery. A good example of what not to do.

And so, as I wrote, one of the women pleaded guilty on August 16th. She certainly knew about the wallets. As for the three young men, I don’t know what the story is, but for months several did not plead guilty. Maybe they argued that as men they couldn’t tell a Balenciaga from a Kmart and were just in the game. Anyway, on August 23, one of the three young men also pleaded guilty.

By the way, except for one of the young men, the others were released without bail. It was not a violent crime. And this is the new law. The exception was that one of the men had a previous felony conviction.

The sentencing of the two men will take place on September 23. Those without previous convictions could be sentenced to between one and three years. Those with convictions could get anywhere from five to 15.

Crime does not pay.

Also, at this point, there was talk among people on Wall Street for Balenciaga wallets to be reclassified as currency, like dollars, euros, and bitcoins. Maybe rent a mansion in the Hamptons for a month for 91 Balenciaga ($200,000). Could happen.