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Crimes of High Fashion

Is there a need for a new kind of fashion police? U.S.Customs and Border Protection seizes more than $18M in fake women’s fashion shoes, while locally, more than $2,800 in purses were recently stolen from a retail store.

Thieves are no longer targeting just banks and homes, nope; it looks like they now have an interest in high fashion.

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I recently read that U.S. Customs and Border Protection import officials busted some thieves for stealing more than 20,000 pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes in the Los Angeles area. 

If you don’t know what these shoes are, just about every celebrity and fashionista out there from Kim Kardashian to Heidi Klum wears them.

On Aug. 14 and on July 27, CBP import specialists and officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport seized a total of five shipments arriving from China containing 20,457 pairs of ladies footwear, in violation of the Christian Louboutin trademark, with a domestic value of $57,490 and an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $18 million. 

I guess it must have been the labels on all those red soles that was the tip off: "Made in China."

“This seizure illustrates the outstanding level of commodity expertise and vigilance of CBP import specialists and officers at our nation’s largest seaport. CBP maintains an aggressive and proactive posture on intercepting shipments containing counterfeit and pirated items,” said Todd C. Owen CBP director of field operations. 

I wish I would have known before they were all confiscated, as I would have loved a pair but could never afford the real deal. I’m almost certain they were on their way to the famed Santee Alley, a place most Orange County gals know about! 

The shoes are often available on illegitimate websites and underground outlets; counterfeit high fashion commodities multiply the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers. The public is misguided into believing they are buying an original product at a significant discount, CBP says. 

In fiscal year 2011, there were 1,020 trade seizures with a domestic value exceeding $37 million at the Los Angeles seaport complex. This represents an 18 percent increase in the number of seizures from fiscal year 2010. 

When I read about the shoe fiasco, I started thinking about what local thieves are targeting these days, and it appears to be fashion items ranging from curling irons to jewelry and jeans.

A few weeks ago, a group of suspected  

Over in Dana Point, I am told at least five pairs of True Religion designer jeans were shoplifted from a children’s store shortly after it opened. 

And just last week, a hidden camera was discovered at a GAP store in the local mall. While the police are still investigating, I’m wondering if the snoop was interested in getting a cheap thrill or perhaps planning something more?

Last winter,

In March, 

Why are thieves targeting fashion? Is there money in it say versus Selling drugs? Maybe not so much in our neighborhood—in fact, it rarely happens says one official.

"We have had very few of what I would categorize as, organized commercial burglaries," said Lt. Andy Ferguson, Laguna Niguel's chief of Police Services. "Although most communities experience burglaries and shoplifting, the higher-end, organized thefts are very infrequent. For those types of thefts to occur, the suspects must have established outlets for the items they steal and the thieves most often do not keep the stolen items for themselves." 

According to a Laguna Niguel crime statistics report, the city has seen an overall downward trend in crime based on data from 10 years with violent crime decreasing and property crime decreasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Laguna Niguel for 2012 is expected to be lower than in 2009.

The city violent crime rate for Laguna Niguel in 2009 was lower than the national violent crime rate average by 82.71 percent, and the city property crime rate in Laguna Niguel was lower than the national property crime rate average by 65.92 percent.

In 2009 the city violent crime rate in Laguna Niguel was lower than the violent by 84.27 percent and the city property crime rate in Laguna Niguel was lower than the property crime rate in California by 62.12 percent.  

So I ask, is there a need for a new kind of fashion police, the ones who probably don’t care if you are wearing polka dots with stripes?

Tell us in comments.

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