San Francisco shoe heist tripped up by lack of pairs

How could something so wrong end up so right?

On Monday night, police said, car burglars in the Mission district swiped two bags from a station wagon that were filled with women’s designer shoes — but most only fit on the right foot.

The thieves who burglarized the saleswoman’s station wagon at Valencia and 19th streets between 9:45 and 11:45 p.m. likely thought they had struck gold when they found the handmade Italian shoes. But of all that was stolen, there were only two pairs of shoes. Another 50 shoes were just samples, police Officer Albie Esparza said.

If sold as pairs, the total value of the shoes would be $10,000, said victim Johanna Nilsson. But individually, they have “no street value.”

The saleswoman released a statement to the media about the theft Thursday, hoping the shoes would be returned with no questions asked.

The shoes are designed by Lucia Klansek, handcrafted in Italy and made for plus-size women, Nilsson said. The company is called LLXLLQ.

Nilsson has been using the samples to try to persuade Bay Area merchants to carry the merchandise. The shoes are normally sold online, but Nilsson said she recently struck her first retail deal with a Union Street store.

But she said her efforts have been stifled because of the heist.

“Their theft destroys our entire samples inventory,” Nilsson said.

After parking that night, Nilsson said she made it a point to cover the shoes in the trunk. But she said she accidentally left a car door unlocked, and she believes the suspects pulled down the back seats to access the trunk.

Esparza said there are no suspects — or witnesses — in the burglary. He said thefts like this, while unfortunate, can at least serve as a lesson that valuables should not be left unattended in vehicles. Even if Nilsson’s valuables were not in plain sight, Esparza said, crooks might have been watching her cover her belongings.

After she was finished with the samples, Nilsson said, the shoes were going to be sold to raise money for charity.

For the return of the shoes, Nilsson said she is offering a reward of a pair of shoes or a $150 gift card.

The theft, she said, “goes against the grain of the holiday spirit.”

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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