BRANSON, Mo.– A theft occurred Monday around 4:45 p.m. at Touch of Class wedding boutique in Branson.
Lana Johnson, the store owner, said that two women came in together. One had on a medical face mask and gloves.
“We are not on guard for thieves as much as maybe we would be in the past,” said Johnson. “And with the medical masks, it’s giving them a whole other way to sort of hide behind them and not be identified as easily.”
One of the women was distracting the staff, asking them to help her get dresses to try on, while her masked associate was in the back of the store.
“The other one was kind of trying to distract us,” said Johnson. “And so then the other one, while I was distracted, the one in the mask was able to get into our backroom and steal a wallet from one of our employee’s purse.”
Allegedly, she was waiting for the coast to clear before she entered an employee-only room and stole personal belongings. These include an employee’s car keys and wallet. The store filed a police report Monday with Branson PD after the incident.
“Now that we have a lot of people medical mask, it’s giving an advantage to thieves,” said Johnson. “That a lot of us are really focused on the COVID situation, of trying to keep the social distancing, trying to disinfect everything. That we are not on guard for thieves as much as maybe we would be in the past.”
Officer Darold Donathan, with the Branson Police Department, says these suspects may be involved in other crimes that same evening.
“We did receive a second report from a second business in town, in Branson,” said Donathan. “And the descriptions of the suspects, there was a match there.”
Donathan says the identity of the suspects is unknown, but he hopes to find more information from the security cameras around the stores.
“The video footage, security cameras are wonderful,” said Donathan. “They give us the eye view from outside the business, different angles inside the business. As people are coming, people are going. Once we get that, we can share that with people.”
The Branson Police ask local businesses to be more vigilant in protecting their property.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Branson Police Department at (417) 334-3300.