Metro-East News

Boutique owner wants shoplifting charges filed against apparent mother, daughter

The alleged thieves had until noon Wednesday to return items stolen from her boutique, said owner Kim Luke, but now she’s ready to press charges. First, she needs help finding the pair she suspects of stealing merchandise from her Waterloo store.

“I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t want to have to do this,” said the owner of Small Town Style Boutique in Waterloo.

She posted on her store’s Facebook page that if the merchandise, worth $176, was returned by noon Wednesday there would be no charges. The Facebook post had more than 1,000 shares in about three hours.

Luke has video surveillance at her store, and says the two appeared to be a mother and daughter. She said the daughter, about 5-foot-6, 150 pounds, with brown hair and a burgundy coat, spoke with a slight speech impairment and took several items into a changing room on Tuesday. The woman who appeared to be the mother, about 5-foot-4, wore a black and white plaid jacket over a gray long sleeved Victoria’s Secret “Pink” shirt, Luke said. The woman had salt-and-pepper hair. Luke said both women appeared dirty.

“I was expecting to come to work (this morning) and find a bag at the door or in the mailbox,” she said. “Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”

Waterloo Police Capt. Jeff Prosise confirmed the store filed a report on Tuesday evening. He did not recall “a lot of retail thefts (at boutique stores) compared to Walmart.”

“We get them all the time at Schnucks and Walmart,” Prosise said.

Luke said it is the second time in five years her store has had a suspected theft; the first was soon after the store opened and involved one item.

She wishes she could have watched the women more carefully Tuesday, but she was the only one working the store and had other customers.

Luke said that she saw, and the video confirmed, that the women spent about 20 minutes in the store. Luke said the younger woman took items into a changing room and the older woman used the restroom, then left the store. A few minutes later, Luke could hear the younger woman on the phone, apparently talking to her mother, and left in a hurry.

“Something was just off,” she said of the pair.

Anyone with information can call the store at 618-939-7872 or Waterloo police at 618-939-3377.