Thieves targeting eyeglass stores in metro area

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(KPLR) Purses, smartphones, and even laundry detergent are hot-ticket items for shoplifters.

But eyeglasses and sunglasses?

Two stores, one in Edwardsville, the other in Maplewood were hit by thieves’ hours apart the afternoon of January 11th.

Edwardsville Police said three men and a woman swiped frames from All About Eyes at Center Grove Road.

A surveillance picture provided by a store manager shows three men who appear to be browsing inside the store. The manager told FOX 2 the men distracted staff as the woman swiped pairs of Gucci, Versace and Ray Ban glasses, worth a total of $900.

A few hours later and about 35 miles away, a similar incident took place at the Clarkson Eyecare store in Maplewood.

Maplewood Detective Mike Gilb said four individuals stole 12 pair of Ray Ban sunglasses, totaling $2,700.

"It's very unusual," he said. "I don't think we've ever had an incident quite like this where sunglasses in particular were stolen. So we're trying to step up the patrols in the area a little bit more."

Of note, the suspects in Maplewood were described as three men and a woman.

Both Edwardsville and Maplewood said it is very likely the expensive frames are sold for top dollar on the black market.

Gilb said his department is investigating whether the two cases are similar. It is reviewing surveillance and asking any witnesses with information to come forward.