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'We are tired of it': Thefts push Valley business to change mask policy

My Sister's Closet is requiring masked customers to briefly show their face to a security camera after two stores were recently burglarized by masked thieves.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz — A Valley local business will change its mask policy after mask-wearing thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of designer clothes and purses.

Starting Friday, My Sister’s Closet shoppers who wear masks will be asked to flash their faces to surveillance cameras for a few seconds when they first enter a store, in an effort to deter thieves from trying to steal more merchandise.

The owner of the retail store, Ann Siner, said two of her locations were each robbed within a span of three days.

“It makes me mad that they feel this sense of entitlement that they can come and steal and think they can get away with it,” she said.

On Sunday, surveillance cameras at the Pima Road location recorded a couple entering the store shortly before 4:30 p.m. Both were wearing facial coverings.

The video showed the pair walking around the store for about 20 minutes. They are then seen walking out of the building with clothing, including a fur coat, without paying.

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Two days later, the Scottsdale Road location was robbed by two men. Only one was wearing a face mask.

“The first individual walked up and asked the sales associate to show him a handbag,” Siner said. “When she opened the case, he said, ‘Oh I need to show this bag to my wife,' and then started to walk towards the front of the store. She got nervous and followed him but forgot to lock the cases.”

Security footage showed another man standing near the unlocked glass case. He is then seen grabbing multiple purses and exiting the store shortly after.

“The four handbags they took were $3,000 our price, they probably had a retail price of $20,000,” the store owner added.

Since three of the four suspects were masked, Sinner said it’s difficult to identify them, that’s why she is changing the mask policy at My Sister’s Closet.

Starting Friday, a guard will be at every store entrance. Any shopper who enters the building, and is wearing a mask, will be asked to show their face at the surveillance camera for a few seconds. Siner hopes this will help deter anyone thinking of stealing from them again.

“So, if you decide to shoplift or grab-and-run later on, we got a clear picture of you,” she said. “It has nothing to do with COVID and asking people to wear [a] mask or not because of COVID. But thieves are taking advantage of the situation.”

Scottsdale police are investigating the incidents at both stores.

My Sister’s Closet is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrests of the suspects.

“We are tired of it,” Siner said. “We will not tolerate it… we prosecute to the fullest extent and anything you steal over $1,000 is a felony and you’ll go to prison.”

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