Cameras capture thieves swapping Ray-Bans for knockoffs

Eyeglasses stolen from Rockford Family Eyecare on Thursday

Rockford Family Eye Care, Ray-Ban theft
Surveillance video shows thieves stealing Ray-Bans from Rockford Family Eyecare and leaving behind knockoffs. (Sept. 25, 2016)

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The owner of a Rockford-area optometrist’s office hopes police and the public can help track down the group of thieves who stole nearly $2,500 in brand-name eyeglasses.

The owner of Rockford Family Eyecare, Theodore Sees, told 24 Hour News 8 that intuition told him something was wrong, but he didn’t notice the glasses were gone until after the thieves left the store.

“I like to treat everybody equally and I would like to assume that everybody has a good heart and they wouldn’t do something like this,” he said.

The store’s surveillance cameras captured what Sees didn’t see just before 5 p.m. Thursday. In it, a woman in a white tank top, a girl and a man in a red shirt appear to be shopping for new glasses. What they were actually doing was pulling frames from the displays.

“You can see him take it. Hey, he’s going to shove it under his shirt there. There you go,” Sees narrated as he watched the video with 24 Hour News 8 on Sunday.

Rockford Family Eye Care, Ray-Ban theft
Theodore Sees looks at surveillance video of people stealing Ray-Bans from his store. (Sept. 25, 2015)

Sees said it was a busy afternoon and he was in and out of appointments with patients. In the video, there also appears to be an accomplice who distracted Sees’ optician.

“She was asking about exam and she was asking what the cost was for an exam,” he said.

The thieves were in and out the door in only about six minutes.

“This is where I come in to make sure everything’s going OK because of my suspicion that I had,” Sees showed 24 Hour News 8 on the surveillance video. “And as you can tell they’re getting a little leery of me hanging around, so that’s when they decide to leave.”

The thieves made off with 13 pairs of Ray-Bans — worth about $2,500 altogether — and replaced them with knockoffs.

“She, over here, is doing her magic. Taking ones that she just took out of her purse, putting it right back up there,” Sees pointed out on the video.

Rockford Family Eye Care, Ray-Ban theft
Some of the knockoff Ray-Bans left behind at Rockford Family Eyecare after thieves made off with the real ones. (Sept. 25, 2016)

He didn’t notice the fakes until after the thieves were gone.

“I was examining them like, ‘Wait, this isn’t ours. Neither is this one. Neither is this one,'” he recalled.

He filed a reported with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and hopes the surveillance footage will help catch the suspects.

Sees’ store has insurance, but it won’t cover all the losses.

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