Chinese Bonnie and Clyde stole from Uniqlo to travel country
- Couple reportedly chose retailer because they found its shops were an easy target
- They allegedly sold the loot online at a discount to fund their trip
A young couple have been detained for allegedly stealing clothes from dozens of Chinese stores of popular Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo and selling them at a discount to fund their travels, the newspaper Modern Express reported on Wednesday.
The couple, both in their 20s, confessed that they targeted Uniqlo – the best selling brand for women’s clothing for years in e-commerce site Tmall’s Singles’ Day shopping festival – because they found its stores in China were usually large and lacked sufficient security personnel, it stated. (Tmall is operated by Alibaba, owner of the South China Morning Post.)
The man, identified by his surname Wang, and his girlfriend, identified as Zhao, started their stealing spree in the central province of Henan at the beginning of the year, after testing a self-made demagnetising bag in a store in Suzhou in the coastal Jiangsu province, where they live, local police were quoted as saying.
With the money they made from online sales of goods they allegedly stole en route, they travelled across half of China, returned home and continued with the thefts until they were caught by police.
Their trips covered more than 20 provinces and cities, taking them from Henan to Xian city in the northwest, Chongqing in the southwest, Guiyang and Shenzhen in the south, then through the northeast before returning to Jiangsu in the east.
The couple bought a piece of magnet-shielding cloth from an online store and stitched it inside a bag to block the magnetic force from security tags attached to the clothes, helping them to evade alarms, the report said.
They would then put the stolen merchandise on sale on a live broadcasting app at a 60 to 70 per cent discount. They are accused of completing over 160 such transactions by the time they were caught in a Suzhou shop, from where they allegedly stole three garments worth a total of 2,400 yuan (US$345).
Wang was quoted by the local media as saying he had observed that Uniqlo stores were easy targets because they not only were short of patrolling staff but often counted missing goods as ordinary losses and seldom called the police.
The Suzhou shop, however, did call the police, leading to the couple’s arrest a month later.