Three employees of a Nike outsourcing factory in Ho Chi Minh City have been arrested on suspicion of stealing the company’s shoes to sell to the market.
Nguyen Thi Dieu, identified as the ring leader, had her house searched by anti-social crime police (C45) on Tuesday, radio station the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reported on Wednesday.
Dieu and her two accomplices, Phan Cong Thinh and Tran Thi Lan, all worked for Freetrend Industrial Vietnam Co. Ltd., a firm that makes shoes for Nike and other famous footwear brands, located at the Linh Trung Export Processing Zone in Thu Duc District.
Nguyen Hoang Dat, who would buy all of the stolen shoes from Dieu, was also apprehended.
They are facing charges of “stealing assets and consuming stolen property,” according to C45 officers.
The arrests were made after police caught Thinh red-handed bringing dozens of pairs of Nike shoes out of the company on Wednesday, according to VOV.
Thinh admitted his theft and told police about the ring leader Dieu and the two accomplices.
As requested by Dieu, Lan, the leader of a group of workers in charge of a production line at the company, asked other employees to steal the Nike shoes for her and take them out of the factory to give Dieu.
Dieu then sold the stolen footwear to Dat, who would distribute them to shops in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and the northern city of Hai Phong.
The employees, mostly women, would hide the products underneath their shirts to bypass checks by security guards and then concealed them in material delivery trucks to take them out of the plant.
With many employees colluding to carry out the theft, the company has lost as many as hundreds of pairs of shoes on a daily basis, according to police.
Besides the footwear products, the employees also pilfered shoemaking components such as leather, soles, shoelaces, and stamps. The components would be added to complete products once successfully taken outside the factory.
Police said the theft already caused financial losses of dozens of billions of dong to the company. (VND1 billion = US$44,643)
The stolen shoes are available at shops at only VND3 million ($130) to VND8 million ($355) a pair, much cheaper than the officially distributed products, according to C45 police.