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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/662

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The Mechanics of Shoplifting

The department store parasite turns inventor and devises some ingenious tools for stealing under the detective's eye

���A capacious repository — a bag sewed inside a coat

FOR sheer cle\eriie> the profession;! shoplifter deserves the iron cross of thief- dom. He or she (there are just as many men as women in this vocation), must work under the vigilant eyes of detectives. Vet shoj)- lifters ply their trade with seeming indifference, pilfering fuK-ry that totals hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Although department stores reluc- tantly admit it, the fact is that shop- lifting is as profitable as ever. There are reasons enough The professional shojjlifter has his regular customers for whom he steals. The customer selects the article in the store, the shoplifter steals it, obtains a fair price for it — plus his cleverness, and the deal is closed and forgotten. It is purely a business transaction — cash only, and no questions asked. There is no dickering with a "fence" or secmid-h.ind cli-.ilcr; coii-



The false bottom travel-bag — a Hungarian contrivance

��A skirt bag large enough to hold a baby grand piano — almost

sc.(iuenli\' the police are thrown off the usual beat- en path.

Unfortunately for our stores the professional shoplifter has found time and opportunity to turn iiuentor. His tools are ingenious mechanical contri\anccs. One of these is the false bottom, hinged-llaii tra^■cling bag, recently found in the possession of a Hungarian team — two young men and a woman.

Innocent looking in itself, the bag is a ^•eritable storehouse for purloined ar- ticles. The thief places the bag on the coimter ()\er the article to be stolen. B\' leaning carelessly on it enough jiressiu'e is exerted to force the article up past the hinged-llaps into the ialse bottt>m. If the thief is apprehended the bag is opened and reveals nothing, unless the searcher sus])ects that there is a false bottom.

When .1 lliici is caught wiih ilio


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