Hamptons Police Blotter: Panty Gangs, Mattress Tags

Local panty gangs are extending their reach in the Hamptons
Local panty gangs are extending their reach in the Hamptons, Photo: Nastco, hirun, FONG CHENG LIM/iStock/Thinkstock

Briefing on Panties
Police recently held a press briefing about so-called “panty crimes.” For the last several years, the East End has had chronic problems with lingerie thefts, and authorities blame the situation on the large number of panty gangs active in the area. A recent daytime theft of silky panties from a Bridgehampton lingerie store, for example, was determined to be the work of the Wainscott Wedgies, a gang that police report has close to 60 active members—almost the entire population of Wainscott. These local gangs have until now confined themselves to lifting new, unused lingerie from retail stores—a practice that, while troubling, at least showed some concern for hygiene. A recent theft of previously worn bras and panties from a private home, however, could show a significant and disturbing change of strategy on the part of the gangs, and what police worry could be their growing fearlessness both when it comes to means of illegally obtaining undergarments and when it comes to the transmission of cooties. “Forgive the expression, but we were sort of caught with our pants down on this one,” quipped police spokesman Larry Hirsch at the start of the briefing. “But before everybody gets their knickers in a twist, let me just say that the problem has grown and we realize we can no longer follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this challenge.” Hirsch closed his remarks by making an offer directly to the panty gangs: “We’d welcome any of them who wants to unbelt, make a clean breast of it and tell us about their operation, from top to bottom.”

A Game of Tags
Last week, in the early hours of Thursday morning, a 16-hour standoff began as police descended upon a North Sea home. Police had a warrant for the arrest of the home’s lone occupant, Gordon Strohsack, who was suspected of removing the tags from his mattresses. Recently, an undercover force, codenamed the “Tagteam,” had been investigating the shady underworld of mattress tag removal. To do so, individual officers had evidently spent a lot of time in the shady underworld beneath Strohsack’s beds in the hopes of catching their prime suspect in the act. Strohsack, who communicated several times over telephone with the police during the standoff—which eventually came to include 43 officers, two police helicopters, and a SWAT team—adamantly refused to surrender. Late on Thursday, a bulletin was issued informing police that it is NOT, in fact, a crime to remove mattress tags if you own the mattresses in question. As this news settled in, the police gradually began to disperse.

Read more Hamptons Police Blotter!

More from Our Sister Sites