Style Etoile in the Congressional Village in Rockville is the go to place for local fashionistas and now it's become a favorite target of a thief and his female accomplices.
For the second time in eight months, a man and woman tag team have stolen thousands of dollars of merchandise from the store while it was open.
Store cameras caught the pair in action last Friday. The woman distracts an employee on her first day on the job while she and the man help themselves to the merchandise.
They get the unsuspecting clerk to unlock a display case.
And the thief stuffs a Chanel designer bag worth thousands up his pants leg. And then the pair takes designer glasses, jewelry and other accessories, too.
Owner Natalie Albina says it's the same man who stole from her store last August. She says he had a different woman with him that time.
"Between the two thefts, I'm out $10,000," says Albina.
Albina, who runs the store with her sister, says they no longer feel safe at Congressional Village and want to move.
"I'm scared to come to work right now," Albina says. "I don't want to be here. What if he comes back again with a handgun on him?"
The doors are locked at all times now. And it is appointment only for customers like Sara Damelio, a business woman herself, who thinks police should do more to catch the thieves.
"It absolutely should be investigated. It's the second time. It's caught on tape. What's the problem?" Damelio asks.
Rockville Police Lieutenant Eric Over says the August theft case was closed and labeled inactive because of problems with Albina's surveillance tape. He says they are hoping for better luck this time.
"The format they're using isn't compatible with ours, but our detectives have stepped in to figure it out, and then we'll put it on websites, and hope that perhaps some local law enforcement officer might recognize the perpetrators," Lt. Over says.
Over says shoplifting is a problem in that shopping district, and he has some advice for store owners.
"Make eye contact and let the people entering the store know you see them," says Lt. Over. "And be aware that if one person is trying to keep you busy on one side of the store, someone is probably stealing something on the other side."
Albina says she will be calling on the Cohen Companies management group to step up security around her store.
There is no comment from the property managers Thursday night.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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