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NEW ORLEANS — Robyn Lewis, owner of Dark Charm fashion and accessories for women, represents the first line of defense for the Magazine Street shop owners. She is the first to see them come strutting in their pumps down St. Andrew Street, the bewigged pack of thieves who have plagued the Lower Garden District since May.
Like an SOS flare, Lewis grabs her emergency phone list and starts calling.
“They’re coming,” she warns Eric Ogle a salesman at Vegas, a block down Magazine Street. Ogle, who was terrorized by the brazen crew two months earlier, alerts neighboring Winky’s where manager Kendra Bonga braces for the onslaught.
Soon every shop owner in the 2000 block of Magazine Street has been alerted.
The transvestites first appeared in March when they raided Magazine Street like a marauding army of kleptomaniacal showgirls, said Davis, using clockwork precision and brute force to satisfy high-end boutique needs.
They first hit Vegas March 31 while Ogle was working.
“They come in groups of three or four. One tries to distract you while the others get the stuff and run out the door. It’s very simple,” Ogle said.
Next door at Winky’s, Bonga heard people screaming inside Vegas, then saw a blur of cheap wigs and masculine legs in designer shoes streak past her door.
“All of a sudden our UPS guy dove out of the store and tried to tackle them and there’s little Eric from next door on the sidewalk with a bunch of stuff he managed to grab from one of the guys,” Bonga said. “The other two guys took off down the street and jumped into a car driven by a real girl.”
Ogle gave police a description of the perpetrators — African-American males ranging in height from 6 feet to 6-5. They all wore the same midriff shirts and wigs with twisted, dreadnaught hair.