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December 24, 2012
Security footage released by police shows a woman who
police allege has been destroying pricey garments made out of fur by dousing
them with petroleum jelly.
Toronto police are seeking a woman they suspect destroyed thousands of
dollars worth of merchandise at several high-end stores by smearing fur
garments with petroleum jelly.
Police said Monday they believe it to
be the work of an anti-fur activist, making it the latest in a string of
incidents leading up to Christmas.
Several store owners in the
downtown and midtown areas of Toronto have lodged complaints with police
about someone rubbing Vaseline on fur coats, rendering them unsalable.
Police said the suspect walks into the store and pretends to browse.
Then, she surreptitiously dips her hand into a jar of jelly hidden in her
bag and touches the garments. The damage goes unnoticed until the next
customer handles the merchandise.
"She's not wiping a ton of the
stuff on the jackets," said Toronto Police Staff- Sgt. Shawn Meloche. "But
it's enough to completely ruin the product."
On Dec. 8, the Sporting Life
store at Yonge Street and Blythwood Road reported damage to 60 winter
jackets. On Dec. 21, Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street reported that 35 designer
jackets with fur trim were covered in goops of petroleum jelly.
Christmas Eve, Toronto police released a surveillance camera image, taken
Dec. 21, of a woman entering the high-end retailer. She is considered a
suspect, police say.
She is described as white, approximately
five-foot-five, with a medium build. She was wearing baggy blue denim pants,
a white three-quarter length winter coat, a red scarf and a black knit
beret. She also carried a black shoulder bag.
In each case, store
managers reported that a substantial number of coats belonging to the Canada
Goose brand were affected. The designer coats start at $500.
doesn't take long to rack up the damage," said Meloche.
Toronto-based company has been the subject of recent protest for its use of
coyote fur on jacket hoods.
Last Saturday, an animal rights group
called The Fur-Bearers Defenders staged a demonstration in front of the
Bloor Street Holt Renfrew.
An open letter to the Canada Goose's CEO
denounces the company for "killing Canada's wildlife."
the group, coyotes often spend hours or even days stuck in cruel traps where
common injuries include broken bones and teeth, gashed eyes, and severe
Canada Goose says the company adheres to industry
and government guidelines for the ethical treatment of animals.
Tuesday, Four Seasons Fur and T.O. Leather Fashions Ltd. -- both located
within a three-block radius near Spadina Ave. and Adelaide St. W. -- had a
foul-smelling chemical sprayed into their stores.
"This is what you
get for profiting off of violence and suffering. This was your first attack
but will not be your last," an anonymous member of the Animal Liberation
Front wrote in an email to animal activist magazine
Days after, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
distributed 30 fur coats to women from four homeless shelters at John
Innes Community Centre, hoping to send the message that only Toronto's most
needy citizens should ever wear fur.