The former cake retailer and private detective on trial for receiving stolen Trelise Cooper clothes, got ‘very excited’ when a friend, who later turned out to be the burglar, said he had clothes brand for sale.
“A lone hanger” was all that remained after the $750,000 robbery of Dame Cooper’s business in October 2020, which was a “kick in the guts” for Cooper’s 100 staff.
Kathy Yu-Jen Stephens’ trial began in Auckland District Court on Wednesday before a jury and Judge Nevin Dawson. She denies the accusation of concealment.
A month after Trelise Cooper’s corporate headquarters was robbed by Nicholas Bush, police searched Stephens’ home, where they found designer clothes, Crown prosecutor Frances Gourlay told the jury.
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Two jackets were found hanging on a door, a dress in a laundry basket and a suitcase full of clothes in a child’s bedroom.
A package addressed to Stephens’ aunt in Canada was also found in her car, with clothes inside.
Stephens told the court she met Bush through a former roommate in mid-2020.
He showed up at her house a few days after the October robbery with two suitcases full of clothes.
“He looked like a normal guy. The guy worked in the TV industry,” Stephens said.
Bush told Stephens he had been kicked out by his ex-girlfriend and asked if she wanted to buy some clothes because he needed money for a motel.
“I was very excited when he showed me the clothes,” she said.
Bush allegedly told Stephens that the samples were purchased by his ex-girlfriend.
At the time, she paid him $600 and he left before returning the next day. She would then pay motels or lodging to cover the cost of clothing.
Stephens explained that she had packed a parcel for her aunt in Canada, who was a shopaholic with a penchant for high-end designer clothes.
She gave dresses to her aunt to prove that New Zealand had great designers.
The former private detective and single mother only found out about Trelise Cooper’s burglary the day police showed up at her house and had no idea the clothes she had bought had been stolen.
“He [Bush] cheated on me and used my address as a deposit address…he never stayed a night at my place,” Stephens said.
Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Frances Gourlay, Stephens said she had been a private investigator for four years.
Gourlay asked Stephens if she thought it was odd that Bush showed up unannounced, with two suitcases full of his ex-girlfriend’s house to sell to a woman he had only met twice. .
“I’ve never met this girlfriend…I’m a pretty gullible person…he wanted to find accommodation.” I was just trying to help her.
Gourlay previously said Stephens received the items knowing they were stolen, or if she didn’t know they were stolen, she was reckless in receiving them.
“It would be clear to anyone [the stolen items] were suspicious,” Gourlay said.
Nicholas James Bush, who stole $750,000 worth of the clothes, has already been sentenced to two years and five months in prison.
On Monday, his accomplice – a florist named Andrea Nicole Edwards, who helped hide clothes in a storage unit – admitted receiving stolen goods and will be sentenced in April.
Bush broke into the designer’s showroom in Epsom on October 17, 2020 by breaking down the service door. He took about 1500 dresses.
According to court documents seen by Things, on November 6, Edwards called a cab to pick her and Bush up from town.
When the taxi arrived, Edwards and Bush loaded a number of suitcases into the trunk, before asking the driver to turn off the meter.
They said he would be paid cash to take them to Mini Storage at 68 Cook St.
The couple unloaded almost all of the suitcases and left them at the storage unit before being dropped off at the Cordis Hotel.
Six days later, police searched a room at the Avani Metropolis hotel where the couple had been staying and found 16 stolen Trelise Cooper brand clothes.
Police then found a number of suitcases and clothing in the storage unit, which had been reserved in Edwards’ name.