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Bandits Hit Atlanta Premium Denim Store

Merchandise valued at $100G was stolen.

ATLANTA — Police believe a street gang dubbed the “Blue Jean Bandits” is responsible for a burglary early Monday at premium denim boutique Blue Genes here, in which merchandise valued at about $100,000 was stolen.

This story first appeared in the June 9, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Authorities said the incident is the latest in a series of brazen — and sometimes violent — robberies that started two years ago and have resulted in the loss of more than $1 million in merchandise for about 60 local retailers. Investigators believe the thieves are members of a larger street gang known as the 30 Deep.

Eight thieves used a rock to smash the front window of the 7,500-square-foot store a few hours before it opened and loaded two vans with almost the entire inventory, including denim and sportswear, said Sgt. Archie Ezell, a police spokesman.

“[The thieves] are getting younger and younger,” Ezell said. “We think the guys who robbed Blue Genes were between 13 and 15 years old. The last few robberies have been done by 18- or 19-year-olds. When those guys get arrested, the younger ones are there to pick right up and go.”

This is the seventh such break-in at the eight-year-old boutique, whose owners Jane Sims and Jennifer and Julie Arrendale filed for bankruptcy in December amid declining sales.

The owners did not respond to requests for comment.