Buttplug Bandits and the dildo clown thieves: a bizarre true crime story

A wave of theft has hit adult store Peaches and Cream, with rampant clowns and suspected drug addicts pilfering expensive sex toys over the weekend. Don Rowe reports.

A cadre of clowns spotted apparently pilfering a 19-inch, double-ended dildo from a store in Auckland last night is just the latest in a series of bizarre sex shops thefts which have gone viral due to a retailer’s Facebook name-and-shame deterrence strategy, according to the retailer.

The theft, the work of at least four clowns on what Peaches and Cream believes to be a stag do, came just days after a group of repeat thieves was caught stealing lubricants, sex toys and a penis extension device from a store in Wellington.

Ang Marguerite was behind the counter of the store on Jackson Street in Petone on Saturday evening, one of the store’s busiest times.

“You get a lot of people on their way to or from dinner,” said Marguerite. “Some are browsing, having a giggle, some are there to buy for afterwards if dinner goes well – it’s a really nice night to work.”

But not last Saturday. Around 9pm, two men entered the store, dropping a large bag at the door as if to show they weren’t pilfering, she said. They browsed, inspecting the wares and examining a sampler for a prostate massager. Marguerite wasn’t buying it.  

“One guy was way too chatty, and he started to get creepy so I asked him to leave. The other guy took a pile of stuff and walked towards the counter. When he got two metres away, they just sprinted for the door.”

Marguerite intervened.

“I grabbed him by the hoodie and started screaming, ‘help, thief, help!’ The street is chockablock, there are people all around, so dumb and dumber ran off like a cartoon characters, feet in the air, flailing about, and the gift boxes they’d grabbed just went flying.

“There were cock rings, condoms, and a big bottle of lube all over the footpath, then the charger for the cock ring fell out. He’s grabbed the cock ring, but he’s got no charger, and it’s a specific kind, so he’s stuffed really.”

And amid the sexual paraphernalia was the key to the getaway car.

Twenty minutes later the men’s accomplice knocked on the store’s door. This bandit Marguerite had met before. On a Sunday afternoon back in February, she and another woman had robbed the store of buttplugs, earning themselves a slice of internet fame in the process.

“I knew they’d been stealing, so I approached them and said, ‘give it back, this doesn’t need to go any further.’ One removed an item and the other one looked me square in the eye and said, ‘I’m not opening my bag,’ so I said I’d put her picture on Facebook. We have really good security cameras for that exact reason. One of the items was a $329 remote controlled buttplug, and so I grabbed the pictures, called them ‘The Buttplug Bandits’, chucked them on the internet, and didn’t think too much of it. Then it went worldwide. I’d never seen the term in Brazilian before, but I have now.”

Both women had deleted their social media and briefly gone to ground. There were Facebook threats, a few sightings, but mostly radio silence. But on Saturday night it was the same thief at Marguerite’s door.

“I opened the door and our original Buttplug Bandit was right there in the shadows. I thought, ‘I know you!’”

Without their keys, the thieves had been forced to ditch the getaway car on the street outside. But when the police arrived following Marguerite’s call, the car had been ransacked, emptied of the needles and paraphernalia visible on the seats.

“They’d smashed the windows of the car, taken their ID and drugs I guess, and vanished. The car is still there but local ratbags have rifled through it.”

Marguerite said there are many reasons people rob sex stores: embarrassment, necessity, pure impulse. More than once, thieves have returned the goods after having their pictures posted on the Peaches and Cream Facebook page. Police had raised no concerns about publishing the footage on social media, she said. And occasionally, those depicted were dragged in by their wives to say sorry. 

“I can understand the mindset of somebody who is too embarrassed to buy a penis pump so they steal it, but we don’t care, we just want people to get the right products. There’s no need to steal them.

“I mean, there must be a black market. The guy on Saturday night stole arousal gel and a warming lubricant, and some high end, beautiful adult toys, worth around $299 – so a few things to play with and some high price items. But who buys secondhand stolen sex toys? I assume the same kind of people who steal from sex stores but if someone opened a trench coat full of dildos in an alleyway I’d say ‘no thanks’.”

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“And how many buttplugs can you even sell for drugs?”

Peaches and Cream, a New Zealand owned business, is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Despite competition from online retailers and the likes of Amazon, they operate 12 physical stores around the country. Marguerite said it’s a tough business, made harder by stock theft. And, she said, if items are for personal use, thieves are robbing themselves too.

“I would say don’t steal, because now they’re the Buttplug Bandits. Plus I could have recommended something that suits their needs.”

“You can’t just grab the nearest thing, it’s really not one size fits all.”


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