GEORGE TOWN - A bright red bra proved to be the undoing of a man with a fetish for female undergarments.
The man, who allegedly stole more than 1,000 pieces of undergarments, was caught red-handed by residents and the management of two condominium blocks near Jalan Masjid Negeri, putting an end to a year-long stealing spree.
The 32-year-old thief, who lived alone in a rented room at a unit in one of the blocks, was spotted pilfering the red bra that was hung up by a condo committee member near the wet kitchen grill as bait.
A security guard observed him in the act and followed him back to his unit.
"Then we called the police. They went in and found the red bra with him," said the condo management official, who declined to be named.
But nothing prepared them for the sight that greeted them: the culprit's room was full of bras, panties, petticoats and camisoles.
Police also found items that were likely to be used in "fishing" for undergarments - broomstick handles, extendable poles and wire clothes hangers reshaped into hooks.
"His belongings were in paper boxes and he kept the stolen undergarments in his wardrobe. It was scary when I saw them.
"He had folded them all so neatly. Even the hooks and eyelets of all the bras were properly clasped," the manager said, adding that police had arrested the man.
He said he spent many nights staying up late to look for the thief in the CCTV footage, but the thief was clever enough to avoid elevators and corridors with cameras.
"There are two blocks here with a total of 45 floors. On some days, up to three residents would complain that their underwear had been stolen," he added.
The management is now saddled with a new problem - what to do with the recovered undergarments, which includes children's panties.
The "loot" is on display outside the condominium's management office for their owners to take them back.
Apparently, only a few people have come forward to claim them.
"The most expensive bra reported stolen cost RM600 (S$215)," the manager said, adding that it was possible that some owners felt squeamish about reclaiming intimate items that had once been fetish objects.