Pensacola Transvestites Rob Bridal Shops for Clothing
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Two female impersonators at area nightclubs apparently enjoyed fashions their purses could not support.
The two men, as well as two women, burglarized 10 bridal and formal shops, looking for dresses for the men to wear at gay bars, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office reported Monday.
Ninety-six wedding gowns and formal dresses, with a total value of about $30,000, as well as mannequins, were recovered from an apartment shared by two of the suspects, investigator Joanna Wilson said.
The two female impersonators were identified as Maurice Tremane Williams, 18, and Richard Jesse Beverly II, 19. One of the female suspects is Kendrick Demetris Meshea Barren, 21. The other female suspect, not yet publicly identified, has been cooperating with investigators, Wilson said.
"It's through her cooperation that we've actually been able to include more (crimes) than what we knew," Wilson said.
Wilson said investigators estimate another 200 dresses had been stolen since the burglaries began in October 2008.
The four also are accused of breaking into hair and nail shops and stealing small amounts of cash from registers. They're accused of breaking into a computer store on three occasions.
They will be charged with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief in connection with 30 burglaries dating to October, according to Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ted Roy.
The men wore the dresses and performed stage shows at Emerald City and the Red Carpet, both in Pensacola, as well as at bars in Mobile, Wilson sad.
Ted McCrary, general manager at Emerald City, said he recognized Williams' name. He said Williams performed under the name "Amaya."
"I really only saw her perform once," said McCrary, who does not directly book the club's acts. "The outfit was nothing special. It looked homemade to me."
There was no answer Monday afternoon at the Red Carpet.
The dresses were recovered from an apartment shared by Williams and Barren.
The burglars broke in the front windows of the bridal and formal shops stores in Pensacola and other parts of Escambia County and Santa Rosa counties.
Renee Miller, owner of Renee's Bridal, said prom and Mardi Gras dresses were stolen from her shop.
The suspects "had actually shopped us a week or two before. They came in and were looking at the dresses, and, of course, wanted to try them on," Miller said. "We are a ladies boutique. We have no dressing rooms for men, and that's what we told them."
The Sheriff's Office is offering the store the merchandise back.
"From what I understand, they were worn in nightclubs, and they were worn extensively," Miller said. "There is no way, shape or form that stuff is coming back into my store. "