Tiffany customers ditching blue bags for plain ones as NYC crime soars

White bags at Tiffany's.

Tiffany customers ditching blue bags for plain ones as NYC crime soars

NYC shoppers browse — and buy — in incognito mode.

Amid an increase in crime, luxury stores on Fifth and Madison avenues are increasingly offering customers nondescript white paper bags to conceal their luxury purchases. The plain bags cover the stores’ signature shopping bags – think Hermes orange, Tiffany blue and Cartier red – which can be a target for thieves.

“You don’t want to draw attention,” said Lavi Rudnick, 38, who works in Fashion and was browsing Hermes’ Madison Avenue flagship store with his wife Julie on Friday.

After shelling out nearly $3,000 on a handbag and a pair of scarves, the pair opted to disguise their purchases in a white paper bag. Only a trained eye could see the flash of trademark orange peeking out from the edges.

The couple, who live in Williamsburg, said they have been taking extra precautions lately.

Tiffany & Co. ‘s Fifth Avenue flagship gives customers the option of carrying small blue pouches inside a plain white bag to avoid drawing attention to potential street thieves.
heline seidman

“We are reluctant to wear nicer things — like nice watches [in public],” Julie told Die Pos. “I know crime is up; when I’m on the subway, I hide everything.”

There were 148 felony complaints of grand theft in the previous 28 days through May 14 in the Midtown North area, home to Fifth Avenue flagships such as Tiffany’s, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. an increase of 94% from two years ago; and 132 for the 19th district which is home to Madison Avenue flagship Hermes, which is 55% higher.

Manny Ferrer, a sales associate who worked in the luxury handbag department at Bergdorf Goodman for a decade, told The Post he was assaulted on his way to work from Port Authority last Monday around 10:00 am.

White bag inside Hermes.
Rudnick inside Hermes.
heline seidman

“I observed a man pounce on a woman and hit her shoulder hard to the point where she was hurt. She stumbled a little and kept walking,” he said.

“Then, boom, he hit me in the side [of the face] … he yelled at me, ‘Go ahead, call 911!’ The police came. My ear was swollen. Thank God he didn’t pull out a knife. I was shaken.”

Although he said his department does not offer the white bags, he thought it seemed “a good idea overall.”

Meanwhile, an employee at Hermes told The Post the white bags are offered to customers buying high-ticket items “just for discretion, if you’re walking the streets.”

Louis Vuitton.
An employee at Louis Vuitton told The Post that the store has increased security over the past year.
heline seidman

At the new Tiffany & Co. flagship at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, an employee told The Post that white bags are available for customers who ask for them; An employee at Louis Vuitton’s Fifth Avenue flagship told The Post as much.

Melissa O’Connor, president and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, told The Post in an email that stores have stepped up asset protection protocols such as trained security guards, but insisted, “That alone will not solve the challenges solve what is facing retailers.”

“Shops have had no choice but to think creatively and invest in security measures as retail theft complaints in the city have increased by 77% in the last five years.

“We have spent an extraordinary amount of time as an industry focusing on solutions to reverse this trend, while also prioritizing the safety of employees and customers.”

Shoppers carrying white bags.
Shoppers along Fifth Avenue.
heline seidman

On Wednesday, Mayor Adams announced his administration’s plan to combat retail theft, which increased by 44% from 2021 to 2022.

Recent Fordham graduate Jose, 23, who declined to give The Post his last name, walked out of Cartier on Fifth Avenue Thursday night with a pen he bought for more than $500.

He had it hidden in the store’s white bag.

“I think it’s pretty smart, honestly,” he said of the trend.

“I’ve seen people get things swiped while studying here, so it’s a good call to use the white bags. It feels safer.”

Tiffany customers ditching blue bags for plain ones as NYC crime soars

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