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Luxury Handbag Maker Alleges Workers Stole Goods Worth Thousands [Update]

Norwalk company's vice president says surveillance video shows thefts occurred twice, police said.

[This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. to include descriptions of the suspects' alleged criminal activities.]

Three employees of a Norwalk-based luxury handbag and leather goods manufacturer were arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing merchandise worth thousands of dollars.

The allegations were reported to police Wednesday by Philip Kinsley, the vice president of finance for Dooney & Bourke, who said both times company vehicles were used to transport the stolen merchandise from the company's headquarters at 1 Regent St.

None of the merchandise allegedly taken has been recovered, police said.

Police obtained arrest warrants for the employees and took them into custody Thursday afternoon at the company's headquarters.

Arrested were Carlos Guillen, 39, of 6 Windfield St., Tomas Morel, 45, of 493 Park Ave., Bridgeport, and Vincente Morel, 44, of 491 Park Ave., Bridgeport.

Vicente Morel and Carlos Gullen were charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny. Each was held in lieu of $100,000 bond and appeared in state Superior Court in Norwalk Friday afternoon for arraignment.

Tomas Morel was charged with two counts of first-degree larceny and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny. He also was held in lieu of $100,000 bond and was arraigned Friday.

Police prepared affidavits to obtain arrest warrants for the men. What follows are descriptions of their alleged criminal activities as presented in the affidavits:

Kinsley said the first theft occurred in December 2011 and was captured on surveillance video at the company’s Regent Street loading dock.

He said the video shows them loading 13 open cartons of handbags into a company van. He said they told other employees the cartons were being transported to New York, but the van returned to the loading dock empty about 45 minutes later.

He said none of the men were authorized to transport merchandise to New York at any time that December.

He said each carton contained at least ten handbags, each having a retail value of $253, and 104 leather good pieces, each having a retail value of $105, amounting to a total retail value in excess of $32,500.

Kinsley said the second theft occurred Oct. 12, 2012.

He said video of the company’s loading dock on Oct. 11 shows a skid carrying 17 cartons of merchandise being loaded into a company truck. He said the cartons contained 159 handbags, each having a retail value of $253, and 104 leather good pieces, each having a retail value of $105, amounting to a total value of $51,314.

He said the video shows Tomas Morel driving the truck from the loading dock at 8:02 a.m. on Oct. 12, headed to the company’s warehouse in Orange, CT.

The truck contained a GPS transmitter, and Kinsley provided a printout of the truck’s movements that day.

Kinsley said Morel entered Interstate 95 northbound and made a stop at the Fairfield rest area for about 15 minutes.

He said Morel then exited in Stratford. He said Morel then went back one exit, got back on I-95 northbound, and exited at the Milford rest area, where he stayed about 15 minutes.

He said Morel then went to the Orange post office where he picked up returned merchandise. He then proceeded to the company’s Orange warehouse.

He said the skid in question wasn’t unloaded in Orange. He said  merchandise to be returned to Norwalk was loaded on the truck.

After leaving the warehouse, he said Morel went southbound on I-95 and stopped for about an hour at the Milford rest area before returning to Norwalk.

Kinsley said Morel should have gone from Norwalk to the Orange post office and then to the warehouse before returning to Norwalk.

At their arraignments, the men were scheduled to return to court Dec. 7.

During a press briefing Friday morning, Sgt. Dave O’Connor alleged the men had threatened other Dooney & Bourke employees to not report their alleged criminal activities.

He said when the men were escorted out of the building, employees sitting at sewing machines applauded.

O’Connor said the men may be charged with intimidating witnesses.

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