- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia authorities say they have noticed a rise in people trying to steal underwear in order to earn money to buy drugs.

Criminals are lured to the underwear because the clothing is easy to hide and it can be resold for a good price, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (https://goo.gl/49mPJs).

Authorities say Dorene D. Rainey and an accomplice got away with more than $1,500 in underwear from a western Henrico County Macy’s in July and planned to sell the merchandise for half the retail price. Rainey was sentenced to three years in prison, with all but six months suspended, plus restitution.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert J. Windle prosecuted Rainey. He says he has seen five or more similar cases of underwear shoplifting in the past couple of years.

“It’s been drug-related every time,” Windle said. “It’s generally heroin addicts that are stealing this because they can resell it easily on the street, they can resell it for a fairly significant amount, and it’s fairly easy to conceal.”

Many shoplifting cases are drug-related, Windle said, but not all. The underwear thefts have, in his experience, had a very strong correlation.

J. Patrick Murphy, a former police officer and loss-prevention expert who now testifies as an expert witness, said some shoplifters sell their stolen goods online, sometimes going so far as to list them as new, with tags.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, https://www.timesdispatch.com

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