Retail owner shattered after $100K of designer wear stolen
The owner of a high-end clothing shop in the CBD has been left devastated after intruders smashed their way in, making off with an estimated $100,000 worth of stock.
Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit detectives have arrested one woman but are still hunting two people after they broke into the store at the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke streets on the morning of September 12, stealing designer clothing and jewellery.
Owner Polly Zhang said the thefts, which were captured on CCTV footage, showed three people breaking in via a ground floor security door at around 3.50am before using a crowbar to break into her shop called Mars King, which is located on level two of a building at 226-228 Swanston St.
She said they allegedly grabbed large shopping bags behind the counter and filled them with whatever they could from the shop floor, including jewellery kept in locked cases.
The footage showed two people allegedly returning to the store at around 5am and again at 6.20am, stealing more items.
“I am very shocked and devastated. I haven’t slept,” Ms Zhang said, adding she had relocated her store from Little Bourke St after thieves stole a combined $40,000 worth of clothing in February and June.
She said the most recent break-in was a blow to her business, which she had poured her heart and soul into since 2014.
“We’ve lost about $100,000 and are still counting,” she said, adding staff later found a crowbar in a box.
I thought that it would be safer here [on Swanston St], but it’s not. We prayed it was going to be better.
Ms Zhang said her iPad was allegedly stolen during the burglaries, but using the Find My app, which makes it easy to locate Apple devices, she tracked the iPad to Bourke St on the same day as the break-ins.
Accompanied by her lawyer, they found a woman with Ms Zhang’s iPad, as well as holding scissors in the street. They immediately called Triple Zero.
Police confirmed a 21-year-old Carlton woman was arrested in Bourke St at around 8.30pm.
She was charged with burglary, theft, handling stolen goods, six counts of resisting police, two counts of possessing a controlled weapon, and committing an indictable offence on bail. She was remanded to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on September 18.
At the time of publishing, police said they were trying to locate two outstanding offenders. Police said no arrests have been made in relation to the theft in June and are investigating.
Mars King fashion store owner Polly Zhang counts her losses after intruders broke in. Photo: Brendan Rees.
Ms Zhang said she had passed the CCTV footage to police and would await the return of her partner who is overseas to consider their next steps, saying, “we don’t want to give up”.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Ms Zhang said one man appeared to be wearing a grey hoodie and carrying a black backpack while another was wearing a high-vis orange jumper.
Meanwhile, police arrested seven teenagers aged 15 to 18 after they allegedly entered a department store on Bourke St at around 4pm on September 13, in which they ransacked displays and fled on foot.
Detectives and uniform members swooped on the group shortly after and seized stolen items from at least two different stores. They were taken into custody without incident.
Police will bolster their presence in September, with a specific operation named Cubed targeting shop steal offences involving large groups. •