Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020

Couture crime: Third person charged over burglary of fashion designer Trelise Cooper

A third person has been charged over a $500,000 burglary at top fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper’s styling room in Auckland.

Last week police arrested two people after a search warrant in central Auckland following the break-in at Cooper’s head office in Newmarket last month.

A 41-year-old man was charged with burglary and appeared in court last Friday and was granted interim name suppression.

Today, a 45-year-old woman appeared in the Auckland District Court.

Described as a florist on her charging document, she pleaded not guilty to receiving stolen property and was granted interim name suppression and bail by Judge Ajit Swaran Singh.

The court also heard a third person, a woman, was charged in relation to the burglary and will appear in court next week.

A police spokeswoman said the 44-year-old was charged yesterday with receiving stolen property.

When police made the first two arrests last week, Detective Senior Sergeant Kathy Bostock said the investigation was ongoing and couldn’t rule out the possibility of further arrests and charges.

The 41-year-old man is due to appear in court again next month, while the 45-year-old woman will next appear in March.

During the search warrant last Thursday, police recovered “a significant amount” of the clothing which was to be returned to Cooper.

The famous designer said she was devastated after discovering about $500,000 worth of high-end clothing had been stolen sometime after 4pm on October 17.

She said on social media that her entire 2021 spring and summer samples were gone, leaving only “one lonely hanger”.

“Along with a number of our unique couture pieces. 1800 samples gone.”

Speaking to the Herald after the break-in, Cooper said the thief or thieves broke into the styling room through a vent in an electrical room.

“I feel violated. I feel bad for my staff. We have kind of taken it as a kick in the guts,” she said.

It was the first time her head office had been burgled in 25 years, although someone unsuccessfully tried to break into the building 14 years ago, Cooper said.

The building was alarmed and monitored by security guards but did not have CCTV.

Cooper, whose designs have been worn international celebrities, said she was now getting cameras installed.

She also later told the Herald she’d hired a private investigator.

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