Friday, April 5, 2013

Fragrance Felony: Why Steal a Discontinued Perfume?

From the HuffPo: “Juan Bernal Stole $117,000 Worth of Perfume in New Jersey, Including Victoria’s Secret Line: Cops.”

Why is this filed under Weird News? Because it conjures up an image of some guy tiptoeing out of a store with hundreds of bottles of perfume? Not exactly.
Cops say Bernal stole 1,890 4.2-ounce bottles of 5th Avenue by Elizabeth Arden Friday, valued at $109,620. He also reportedly took 234 3.4-ounce bottles of Victoria’s Secret PINK, valued at $7,488.
That’s close to 1,000 pounds worth of goods. Not something you can slip into your pants.
Juan Bernal, 52, allegedly employed a 17-year-old boy to help him pull off the haute heist. The two are accused of loading thousands of bottles swiped from Cosmetics Essence Innovations in Holmdel into an SUV . . .
So the goods were stolen from a manufacturer’s facility and the kid was the muscle. Wholesale perfume theft is big economic issue, although by New Jersey standards this heist was small potatoes. (Cops are valuing the Eliz. Arden at full list price of $58.)

I do think there is a “weird” element to this story. According to this report, the VS perfume was Live Pink, launched in 2010 and now discontinued. Here’s my question: Does this make it more or less valuable on the black market? In other words, is Juan Bernal a criminal mastermind or a doofus?

I’d love to hear what some fume heads think.


theperfumeddandy said...

Dear Sir

I too fail to see why this industrial theft should be stranger than any other... people steal most every sort of thing!

As to the question of value, certain perfumes accrue in value significantly after discontinuation or reformulation (where the recipe and result are changed but the packaging remain the same or similar).

This tends to be classic fragrances that have become too difficult or costly to produce due to the high price of ingredients or that are 'updated' as the consequence of a brainstorm that reaches some spurious notion of 'what the market wants now'.

Discontinued scents likewise fall into the 'sorely missed' and the 'total misses'. The former will command big prices the latter end up in the discount store.

I've never smelt anything from Victoria's Secret that I would consider spraying on and enemy's cat (I don;t like cats particularly), so I think this gentlemen is unlikely to have been a criminal mastermind and even less likely to have been a perfumista.

Yours ever
The Perfumed Dandy

Avery Gilbert said...

Dear Mr. Perfumed Dandy,

An incisive analysis, sir, and one with which we're inclined to agree--while neither endorsing nor rejecting your characterization of VS fragrances. (Here at FN we maintain fastidious neutrality in such matters.) (On the other hand we heartily approve of your distaste for cats.)

Let's grant your point for the sake of argument and press further: why, then, did the thief take VS Live Pink? Because he didn't realize the Estee Lauder perfumes on the next pallet were far more valuable (which makes him a 5-star idiot)? Because it was the only other product within reach (which makes him less of a bungler)? Because he figured the VS goods would be easier to fence on 14th St. than the EL scents (which makes him more street-savvy than you or I)?

From such small plot points emerge very different stories.

Yrs, etc.