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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Louis Vuitton, Luella Bartley, Marc Jacobs, Anya Hindmarch and Sonia Rykiel are just a few of the shops targeted by "scooter gangs"

05:16 |

Louis Vuitton, Luella Bartley, Marc Jacobs, Anya Hindmarch and Sonia Rykiel are just a few of the shops targeted by "scooter gangs" - criminals on mopeds who drive through the windows and take what they want. Oddly, they don't clear out the shop; rather, they pick and choose very specific handbags. This suggests they are taking orders, possibly for collectors who don't want to wait. It's all speculative at this point, as tracking of the stolen goods has proved unsuccessful. Bold smash-and-grab thefts of handbags in London's upscale designer shops are increasing, reports British Vogue in the September issue. Metropolitan Police say the gangs work in groups of six or more young men, and there are currently about six gangs operating in London. They work for a middleman who shifts the goods which are thought to be transported overseas, "likely Russia and the United Arab Emirates where you can still get a high price for a designer bag."Designers aren't only hit at the retail level. In August 2007, a shipment of shoes that Alice Temperley had co-designed with Christian Louboutin for her S/S 2008 collection in New York was stolen during transport in Italy during what appears to be a planned hijacking. Oddly, they've never turned up anywhere. More devastating is that some thefts could potentially ruin careers. Christopher Kane, one of London's brightest new talents, was burglarised eight days before the start of last September's London fashion week. Ignoring the neighbouring photography studios filled with expensive equipment, the thieves entered Kane's and carefully hand-picked items, says Kane "as if they were in a shop". Fortunately, he was able to remake the missing pieces in time to show his third collection, which was a hit. Had the entire collection been stolen, Kane acknowledges that in "such an unforgiving industry" he would have been "ruined".

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