A Chinese woman has been sentenced for stealing a friend’s luxury items worth nearly 1 million yuan (approximately $146,000) and replacing them with fakes.
The woman, identified as Liu, stole high-end products, including Hermès and Louis Vuitton handbags, Bulgari bracelets and various branded-clothing items, totaling up to 940,000 yuan (approximately $137,000) from the house of her friend, identified as Cao.
The two had reportedly known each other for years when Cao trusted Liu with her house key to help with renovations.
Cao had bought a new house in Changchun, Jilin province, in 2019. As she was often away, she entrusted Liu to oversee her home’s renovation.
Over the course of three years, Liu stole from her friend and would cover her tracks by replacing the luxury items with high-quality fakes.
In 2022, Cao discovered the faked luxury goods and reported the crime to the police.
According to prosecutors, Cao did not initially believe her friend to be the suspect and Liu misled the police investigation.
Liu only came clean to her friend once the police said they had identified her as the primary suspect and were about to make an arrest.
She begged her friend for forgiveness, but Cao refused.
According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, Liu was having financial difficulties in 2019 when she started stealing from Cao.
Liu was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a local court in 2022.
Under China’s criminal law, a theft that exceeds 300,000 yuan (approximately $44,000) is punishable by more than 10 years of imprisonment.
The incident has gone viral on China’s social media site Weibo, with users discussing the importance of choosing friends carefully.