Victoria’s Secret lingerie: Hot in more ways than one

When a woman stole 785 panties from the Lenox Mall store in Atlanta last weekend she was just following a trend of stealing fancy unmentionables from the iconic retailer.

Police in Connecticut say there's a huge black market for the chain's wares, reported, and Victoria's Secret shopliftings are becoming a frequent occurrence everywhere.

Just last month, a couple of men — men — took $20,000 worth of bras and panties from a Florida Victoria's Secret, reported. Like the Atlanta shoplifter, they stuffed the goods into another store's bag and were caught on surveillance video. It did take them three trips to get it all, though.

Last October, also in Florida, a woman stole enough underwear to turn it into a $53,000 profit, the Sun Sentinel reported. The woman allegedly ran a complex scam in which she exchanged the items, got credit, then sought a refund.

Retail security expert Chris McGoey, of McGoey Security Consulting, said the latest shoplifting isn’t a real surprise.

Victoria’ Secret panties, he points out, are “very compact — you can scrunch them up and they don’t take a lot of space. And they are very valuable and expensive items. The Victoria’s Secret tags add value, too.”

The thieves probably aren’t planning to wear them.

They can be sold online directly by the shoplifter who can keep his or her anonymity while making a tidy profit. Or, they can sell what they’ve stolen to fences — rogue retailers — who will resell them out of small, independent shops or online. Sometimes, the shoplifters work for the fence who asks them to steal a specific product or brand.

The Lenox Mall thief “clearly came in with a plan,” McGoey said. She had shopping bags from other stores, not unusual in a mall, and certainly not suspicious-looking. And they make for a great hiding place.

Many retail stores are susceptible to shoplifting, too, he points out, because they have only one or two employees on the floor at a time and can be easily distracted. They’re typically not equipped to deal with shoplifters, either. High-end retailers don’t like to show too much security as it can tarnish their brand image.

Atlanta police haven’t found the woman who made off with her pre-Valentine’s day gifts yet, but McGoey is sure they will.

“She’ll be caught,” he said. “There’s clear video. Or somebody will rat her out.”