A vicious crime wave has gripped Central Florida's finest fabric stores, seeding blind terror in the sequin isles, panic in the feather-boa racks, and knee-shaking fear in the wig department. Tell us of the horror, Amanda Marshall, Orlando-area Jo-Ann Fabrics manager: "It's a whole gang of drag queens," she tells the Orlando Sentinel.
But rest easier, assless-chaps purveyors of the Sunshine State: The transvestite thieves were busted Sunday after Marshall's staff spotted them stuffing feathers, red lace gloves, and "costume glasses" into their handbags. "They were real upset when the police made them take their wigs off," the manager adds.
Three men were charged with masterminding the fancy-dress crime spree: 19-year-old Demitri Marsh, 18-year-old Renford Patterson, and 22-year-old Antonio Webb.
Marsh "swore at a clerk and threatened to cut her" before trying to run out of the store after the trio was spotted shoplifting around 5 p.m. this past Sunday.
The Sentinel did its homework on this particular crime wave, talking to other craft-store owners who confirmed they'd also been hit by the drag-queen bandits.
"We've never caught them red-handed, but that sounds just like them," Mark Sauer, owner of Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore, tells the paper. "In my memory, they had been coming in on Friday nights in a group. They wore makeup, but I don't remember them wearing dresses."
Marshall, the Jo-Ann manager, says they could tear through a particularly fabulous section of a store at record speed.
"They'd come in and order yards of fabric at up to $39.99 a yard, stuff it in their man purses, and leave without paying," Marshall said. "Oh, gosh, they could wipe out a whole section of boas in seconds..."
The three men are charged with felony retail theft above $300. Here are their mugs a bit larger: