DELAFIELD (WITI) -- The Innovative Optique store in Fox Point was robbed at gunpoint on August 14th. Police say a store employee exchanged gunfire with one of the suspects -- fatally shooting him. The suspects targeted the store because it sells high-end eyeglass frames, and this crime of fashion seems to be growing in the Milwaukee area, and across the nation.
Innovative Optique remains closed after the armed robbery and fatal shooting. The windows are covered in paper, and a sign says the building has been turned over to its landlord. This, as we've learned another optical store was targeted in a robbery just this week.
Paula Hornbeck owns "Eye Candy" -- a high-end optical store in Delafield.
She says it was Monday, September 8th when she discovered frames missing. She checked surveillance video and discovered two women stealing glasses.
"It's a phenomenon throughout the United States and in the Milwaukee area. A number of our colleagues have been hit," Hornbeck said.
Hornbeck says seven pairs of glasses were stolen from her -- thousands of dollars worth of product. One woman was seen on surveillance video slipping eyeglasses into her pants.
"It's such a personal thing for me. This is someone I spoke to. I helped her with the repairs she needed and she can look me right in the face and steal from me? That's really hard to take," Hornbeck said.
Hornbeck says this kind of crime can be devastating for a small business owner.
Officials say some are stealing eyeglasses because they are fashionable. It's what some call "geek chic."
NBA players who don't need glasses to see will wear them without lenses because of the way they look.
"If it's a fashion statement and there's demand, someone will find a way to meet that demand legally or otherwise," Erik Kehl with the Delafield Police Department said.
If you know who targeted the Delafield store, you're asked to contact Delafield police.