By Catrin Owen, for Stuff
A "gullible" private investigator has been sentenced to seven months' home detention after being found guilty of receiving stolen Trelise Cooper clothing she bought in a deal.
"One lonely hanger" was all that was left after the $750,000 theft from the business in October 2020, which was a "kick in the guts" for Cooper's 100 staff members.
On Friday, Kathy Yu-Jen Stephens, who is also a former cake retailer, was sentenced by Judge Nevin Dawson at the Auckland District Court. She previously failed to be discharged without conviction.
At her trial, she claimed she was tricked into buying some stolen goods from a man she had only met twice and was trying to help out.
That man was Nicholas James Bush, who was jailed for more than two years for the heist.
At trial Stephens told the court she was quite a "gullible person" and thought she was helping out a friend.
Bush was jailed for his part in the heist. He allegedly told Stephens the samples had been purchased by his ex-girlfriend.
Stephens said she'd often sell her clothes to get money. "If I need fast cash, I'll ring my friends asking if they want to buy my Gucci bag," she said.
Stephens later realised she was "tricked".
On Friday, Judge Dawson said he was not convinced Stephens was an innocent party and taken advantage of.
"You would have recognised and been aware of the value of the items you received."
Judge Dawson expected the true value of the clothing Stephens received was $10,000.
Bush broke into the designer's showroom in Epsom on October 17, 2020, by smashing the service door. He took about 1500 dresses, valued at $750,000.
According to court documents, on November 6, Andrea Edwards called a taxi to pick her and Bush up from the city.
When the taxi arrived, Edwards and Bush loaded a number of suitcases into the boot before asking the driver to turn off the meter.
They said he would be paid in cash to take them to The Mini Storage in Cook St.
The pair unloaded nearly all the suitcases and left them at the storage unit before being dropped at the Cordis Hotel.
Six days later, police searched a room at the Avani Metropolis Hotel where the pair had been staying and found 16 items of stolen Trelise Cooper-branded clothing.
Police then found a number of suitcases and clothing at the storage unit, which had been booked under Edwards' name.
At a Bush's sentencing, the court heard how the burglary has had a lasting effect and "massive reputational damage" for Cooper.
There had also been significant emotional harm to staff and only a small amount of the clothing has been recovered.
This https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/130441661/trelise-cooper-burglary-gullible-pi-sentenced-to-home-detention story first appeared] on the Stuff news website.