TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A man has been arrested for stealing 868 pairs of women's shoes from more than 33 victims over the course of five years in the northern Taiwan city of Keelung, reported China Times.
A 42-year-old man surnamed Chen (陳) living in Keelung City has developed a strange predilection for women's shoes. When Chen would see women's shoes in the shoe rack outside of his neighbors' apartments that captured his fancy, he would steal them and add them to his bizarre menagerie of feminine footwear.
After receiving repeated reports of shoe thefts from female households in a residential community on Maijing Road in Keelung City's Anle District, police began an investigation and zeroed in on Chen as the main suspect. On the evening of April 24 this year, police obtained a search warrant and entered Chen's apartment, where they found the floor, wardrobe cabinet, desk, and even his bed covered with a total of 1,736 women's shoes.
Chen initially claimed that he had collected all of the shoes after they had been tossed out for recycling, but police did not buy his explanation. Later, Chen admitted that starting in 2013, he began stealing women's shoes that fit his foot fetish and took them home "purely for viewing purposes."
Shoes found in Chen's room. (Photo from Keelung Police Department)
Police said that Chen earned a living by doing odd jobs and did not have stable work. Previously, some households suspected that he was stealing women's shoes. However, he was able to avoid being caught for many years, because he would first scout out the surroundings before committing the crime, finding ways to avoid being spotted or filmed, such as taking the stairs late at night and exploiting the blind spots of security cameras.
Chen's family members told police that they thought he was selling shoes and did not question him. Chen's case was then transferred to the Keelung Prosecutor's Office for further investigation.
The Keelung District Court ruled that Chen's long-term theft in the community endangered the public order of the community and the safety of the property of its residents. Chen then confessed to the crime and went to the psychiatric ward of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, where doctors concluded that Chen had a morbid state of mind similar to mental illness.
Shoes hanging in Chen's room. (Photo by Keelung Police Department)
The judge sentenced him to six months in prison and fined him NT$180,000 (US$5,800) for 867 counts of theft. Thus far, 791 pairs of shoes have yet to be returned to their owners after having been confiscated, as the legal owners have yet to be identified.
More shoes found in Chen's room. (Photo by Keelung Police Department)