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Luxury handbags swiped from high-end Palm Beach store

Theft could approach $1 million
Only Authentics in Palm Beach
Posted at 5:57 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 18:15:09-05

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Worth Avenue on Palm Beach has been buzzing this week after an FBI raid. Investigators were back at Gallerie Danieli on Thursday following Wednesday's raid.

Now, there is word about a smash-and-grab heist of high-dollar handbags at Only Authentics.

Palm Beach police are now looking into who carried out a burglary of merchandise that could approach $1 million.

The owner at Only Authentics said the break-in occurred sometime Tuesday night.

Luxury handbags in window at Only Authentics in Palm Beach, Dec. 16, 2021
Luxury handbags on display at Only Authentics in Palm Beach, on Dec. 16, 2021.

Thieves stole as many as 16 Hermes handbags, some valued at more than $100,000 each.

Alex Piquero, a criminologist at the University of Miami, said this was likely the work of some type of organized criminals.

"It just shows you they don't care, and they have it such that they have this down to the second. I've got x amount of seconds to get in there. I have a car waiting for me down on the street, and there's probably another car two streets from there that it's going to be loaded on, loaded off, loaded on, loaded off," Piquero said.

Even more surprising is that the heist was seemingly done just hours before FBI agents descended on Worth Avenue and shut down Gallerie Danieli on Wednesday.

Alex Piquero, criminologist at the University of Miami
Alex Piquero speaks about a recent theft at a high-end store in Palm Beach.

Agents from the art crime team were still at the gallery for a second day Thursday. They are still not saying what they're investigating, but Palm Beach police insist there's no connection to the burglary down the street.

The stolen handbags seem to be a hot commodity. Recently there have been reports of similar smash-and-grab burglaries around the country targeting the expensive bags.

Piquero said even secretive online sales of this kind of merchandise can be the exact trail that leads police to the thieves.