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Mink coat thief conceals booty down knickers

Hides mock muff from cops for a sensational three days

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A Minnesota woman who swiped a mink coat and stuffed it down her knickers managed to pull off probably the greatest merkin stunt in criminal history by concealing her substantial booty from cops for a full three days.

Stephanie Moreland, 46, was cuffed on New Year's Eve after swiping the $6,500 short coat from the Alaskan Fur Company in Bloomington. She'd been acting suspiciously in the store, and when an employee accused her of lifting the expensive garment, she took to her heels.

The salesperson managed to get Moreland's licence plate number, after which cops quickly tracked her down. They found the coat's hanger in her car, but no sign of the nicked apparel.

After three days in custody, the perp admitted to a detective she'd stolen the coat, but claimed she'd already offloaded it. When the cop responded by promising to dispatch Moreland forthwith to the county jail, he was somewhat taken aback when she "lifted up her dress and pulled out the mink coat from her underwear".

The fact that Moreland was searched for concealed weapons at the time of her arrest makes her mock muff marathon all the more impressive. Bloomington police commander Mark Stehlik attempted to explain the mechanics of the operation thus: "She had modified her underwear. She actually cut the rear of the underwear out so that from the back it appeared she was not wearing underwear and then stuffed it down the front."

Readers who are having a hard time working out how that works are directed to Moreland's mugshot, which suggests she's a big lady with plenty of storage capacity down below to accommodate stolen clothing.

Moreland pleaded guilty to "one count of felony theft of property" yesterday, and will be sentenced on 8 August. ®

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The usual ta very much to Mike Richards for the tip-off

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