NORWALK, Conn. – Three longtime employees of Norwalk-based luxury handbag manufacturer Dooney & Bourke were arrested by Norwalk police Thursday in connection with the theft of hundreds of handbags worth a total of $83,800.
The trio are accused of stealing 159 bags – worth $51,300 – on Oct. 12 when the bags disappeared in transit between the factory on Regent Street in East Norwalk and the company’s warehouse in Orange, police said.
At least one of the three also stands accused of taking dozens of more bags – worth $32,500 – after the 37-year-old company’s tent sale last December.
The thefts were reported by a senior executive in the company’s finance department, according to Norwalk Police Sgt. Lisa Cotto. The executive provided the police with global positioning system reports of the whereabouts of a truck that the three suspects operated that made several unauthorized stops in Bridgeport and at rest areas on Interstate 95, police said. The truck was supposed to contain the bags, but they were never delivered to the Orange warehouse.
“The merchandise appears to have evaporated,” said Norwalk Police Sgt. David O’Connor, who arrested the three suspects at the company’s Norwalk factory Thursday afternoon.
Arrested were Carlos Guillen, 39, of Winfield Street, Norwalk; and Vincente Morel, 44, and Tomas Morel, 46, both of Park Street in Bridgeport. All three were charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy. Tomas Morel also was charged with two counts of larceny and conspiracy in the December case.
Each was held on $100,000 bond, and all were scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court on Friday.
In addition to the larceny charges, the trio could face charges of threatening potential witnesses, O’Connor said.
“We are investigating whether these people were intimidating and threatening other workers in the factory,” said O’Connor, adding that several employees applauded when the three were led out of the factory in handcuffs.