The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Theft ring raided



May 23, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0523_shoplift01David Schubin and Barbara Rose Frazier knew all about supply and demand. It was only later that they learned about the law.

Schubin and Frazier set up a small department store in their apartment at 10560 National Blvd., offering expensive men's suits, dresses, coats, appliances, luggage, more than 300 records "and a number of imported knickknacks for discriminating shoppers," the Mirror said. The couple also had golf clubs, liquor and bathing suits, The Times said.

The best part: Everything was 50% off. In fact, to prove that customers were getting a good deal, Schubin and Frazier left the original tags, showing how much the items were selling for at the stores where they had been shoplifted.

Schubin and Frazier were clever. According to police, they offered to sell the stolen merchandise to buyers for the victimized stores, allowing a 50% profit.

1957_0523_schubinAnd if customers couldn't find what they wanted, Schubin and Frazier would accompany them to a selected department store and shoplift whatever they desired.

"The couple operated the biggest shoplifting ring in our experience," Sgt. C.W. Nanny said.

Eventually, Schubin and Frazier outsmarted themselves when one of the store buyers contacted police after being offered some of the stolen merchandise.

Schubin was apparently a Mickey Cohen operative who had been arrested in a 1948 gambling raid at a West Hollywood club. He and his wife were convicted. Manicurist Evelyn V. Gaffera, who was charged with conspiracy in the thefts, was found not guilty.

The appeal of the case is listed here.

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