Denver Post Capitol Bureau
Sunday, July 01, 2001 - Foil-lined underwear made popular by clever
thieves trying to outsmart detection devices will be banned in Colorado
under a law that takes effect today.
The law will make it a crime to make, sell or possess such detection-shielding
items, the latest rage in a thief's arsenal and one that costs retailers
and shoppers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
"We liken these devices to burglary tools," said Chris Howes,
vice president of the Colorado Retail Council. "If you're caught
in the store with them, it's obvious they're designed to shield anti-shoplifting
devices and you can be prosecuted even before anything is stolen."
The use of aluminum foil and duct tape to thwart store security monitors
is growing at an alarming rate in Colorado, according to the retail
council. The law will permit store security to stop people armed with
tape or foil if they believe there is an intent to steal.
"We call them iron pants" because of people who have been
caught with a full pair of aluminum trousers under their real ones,
said Sen. Stephanie Takis, D-Aurora, Senate sponsor of the legislation.
"Anyone who bothers to put those pants on are not doing it to cool
down. They're a theft tool, like a crowbar."
The foil renders useless those plastic anti-theft devices clamped onto
merchandise. Making, selling or possessing those foil devices would
be a misdemeanor punishable by six to 18 months in jail and fines ranging
from $500 to $5,000.