Canadian shopkeepers baffled by spate of ‘extremely weird’ mannequin thefts

Eleven female mannequins have been stolen in Belleville since May, leaving storeowners and police speculating over the motive

The 11 victims share several notable characteristics: each was female and disappeared in a state of undress after a mysterious nighttime break-in. And each was a mannequin.

Police in a small Canadian city have appealed to the public for help after a string of robberies targeting shop-window dummies.

Since May, shops in Belleville, a city of some 50,000 people in southern Ontario, have been broken into five times. Each time, the culprits breezed past the cash register and merchandise, making off with a total of 11 mannequins all of them female.

Somebody is out to steal our mannequins. We dont know why, said shopkeeper Natasha Baylis. Its creepy.

She arrived at her shop one morning in May to find her front door had been smashed in, leaving shards of glass scattered across the floor of her store. She surveyed the damages; Her iPad and laptop had been left untouched on the counter and as had the unlocked cash register.

A child-sized mannequin sitting in the stores front window, however, had been taken. Its extremely weird, isnt it? Baylis told the National Post. They kidnapped my little girl mannequin.

The mannequins hat and one of its arms had been left behind.

The other break-ins have played out similarly, leaving the cash register and merchandise untouched and, at times, even casting off the clothing adorning the mannequin. One had a C$160 prom dress on, said shopkeeper Dawn ODell. They ripped it right off the mannequin and threw it on the floor.

Her store was hit several times, with four mannequins worth hundreds of dollars stolen. Police told me initially that they thought it was a sex crime, she said. Pointing to 11 mannequins stolen so far, ODell added, But its like, I dont know, how many partners do you need? Unless its a cult of people.

She had never heard of anything like this happening. Its mind-baffling, she said. You really want to get into the head of the person thats doing it a little bit and ask a few questions.

Earlier in the week, after four female mannequin torsos were taken from a shop, local police put out a notice asking anyone with information to come forward.

Obviously it raises flags, Sheri Meeks of the Belleville police told the National Post. What is the motive for taking the mannequins? Is it because mannequins are expensive? Is there a more deviant motive for it?

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/28/canada-mannequin-robbery-store-belleville