Documents describe woman’s role in Trelise Cooper robbery

On a Friday morning in November 2020, two and a half weeks after high-end fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper lost $750,000 worth of clothing in a brazen burglary of her corporate headquarters, Andrea Nicole Edwards hailed a cab in the CBD of ‘Auckland and loaded a lot of suitcases into the trunk.

The florist directed the taxi to a storage box, where she unloaded the suitcases. Just a week later, a police search of the storage unit and its CBD hotel room would result in the recovery of $136,780 in looted clothing.

Edwards was due to stand trial in Auckland District Court on Monday on charges of receiving stolen property over $1,000, which carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

She instead pleaded guilty before Judge Kristen Lummis.

On October 17, 2020, the burglary of Cooper’s Newmarket office left the internationally acclaimed designer without any of her Spring and Summer 2021 samples – a setback she described at the time as “a blow of foot in the guts”.

“I feel violated,” she said of the nearly 2,000 items that went missing.

The $750,000 value assigned to the items only included the cost of making them, according to court documents released Monday after Edwards’ guilty plea.

“Only part of the stolen clothing was recovered by the police,” the summary of the facts of the case states.

Earlier this month, defendant Nicholas James Bush, a former television industry worker described in court documents as an ‘associate’ of Edwards, was sentenced to two years and five months in prison for his participation in the scheme.

Nicholas Bush was sentenced earlier this month to more than two years in prison. Photo/NZME

An empty bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water discovered by one of Cooper’s employees at the burglary site was found to contain his DNA, it was revealed during his sentencing.

Bush was with Edwards when police raided his hotel room on the morning of November 12, 2020, arresting them both.

“During a search of the room, police located 16 of the stolen Trelise Cooper brand garments,” the fact summary reads.

About an hour later, a search of the storage unit on Edwards’ behalf resulted in the discovery of “several suitcases containing numerous stolen Trelise Cooper branded garments.”

Edwards is expected to be sentenced in April.

Meanwhile, a cake decorator and private investigator, Kathy Yu-Jen Stephens, is due to stand trial in Auckland District Court on Wednesday. She denies receiving a relatively small portion of the clothing.

A fourth person, a woman in her 20s, was also charged last May with allegedly receiving part of the clothing.

None of the four people charged had any connection to Cooper or his company – a point Cooper has made in the past after it was previously suggested on social media that the heist may have been an “inside job”.

Cooper said in a victim impact statement at Bush’s sentencing earlier this month that the burglary caused “massive reputational damage” to his business and had a “lasting and far-reaching effect.” carried” on her personally.

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