A group of suspects from Vietnam were caught with suitcases full of clothes stolen from designer brand stores in Taipei and Taichung. A total of 734 items of apparel were recovered from 14 suitcases with an estimated value of more than NT$1 million.
Police began investigations after a boutique at Taipei Main Station reported that an inventory check on January 15 revealed that 107 items had been stolen from the store. After examining security monitor footage, investigators honed in on a group of Vietnamese tourists who had visited the store on January 12.
Further investigations found the group had visited a store in Ximending on the 13th, where 295 items were suspected missing, and then taken the High Speed Rail to Taichung and visited a store where 332 items were suspected stolen.
Four members of the group were arrested at a travel agency on Nanjing East Road in Taipei City as they were changing tickets in an attempt to flee the country January 16.
According to police, three women would go into the stores to choose items, while a male went in and out of the store with a bag lined with aluminium foil to avoid setting off the alarms. The “shoppers” placed the items into the bag, and continued “shopping” while the man went out to put the booty into suitcases before returning for more.
Police believe the suspects became aware that they had come under suspicion, and attempted to change their tickets to fly out of the country ahead of schedule. After arresting the suspects at the travel agency, police searched the group’s hotel room, where they found 14 suitcases full of stolen clothing.