Discerning burglars steal designer garments

By Rebecca Walsh

Three Kingsland fashion designers whose stores have been targeted by thieves in the past 13 months suspect their clothes may be being relabelled and sold.

The latest burglary happened early on Saturday when an estimated $20,000 of stock was taken from Vanja Canzek-Gizdich's store, Francka Butinar, including one-off evening dresses and beaded tops. The thieves were selective, Ms Canzek-Gizdich said.

"The glitzy, glamorous stuff went straight out and the dressy day wear. They also took all the pants."

Just days before Fashion Week last year, fellow Kingsland designer Nadine Freundlich's store was broken into and 150 garments worth $36,000 stolen.

About six months earlier, thieves stole $17,000 of clothes from Lucie Boshier's shop just down the road.

Ponsonby store RJC had thousands of dollars of clothes taken from a car parked in Kingsland in April last year. Clothing was also taken from Sabine in Ponsonby Rd.

Yesterday, Ms Canzek-Gizdich, who opened her store in May last year, said the burglars had probably visited the store during trading hours to see what they wanted and what security was like.

"It was definitely well-organised. The cheekiness of it ... I would have come face-to-face with the people who have done this and that's kind of bizarre."

The 24-year-old said the clothes were one-offs or one of three or five of the same design, which made her think the garments were likely to be sold overseas.

"It would be really hard to move it on the Auckland market or TradeMe [website]."

Lucie Boshier questioned the motives of the thieves because they were unlikely to make much money selling the clothing.

Nadine Freundlich said that after her store was burgled, she contacted secondhand shops and asked them to watch out for the stolen clothes, but had heard nothing back.

Neither had the clothes turned up on auction websites.

Ms Freundlich said it was possible the thieves removed the labels or relabelled the clothing, selling it in fleamarkets or sending it overseas.

Since the burglaries both Ms Boshier and Ms Freundlich have barred their store windows.

Ms Canzek-Gizdich was keen to talk to the owners of Kingsland shops about organising regular security in the area.

"It's a little setback but I'm not going to take this lying down," she said.

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