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Food by VICE

Former Bakery Worker Allegedly Stole $90,000 Worth of Wildly Expensive Cakes

Lady M didn't notice that it was missing more than 1,000 cakes until someone revealed that they were being sold on the black market.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Sep 10 2019, 5:38pm

Photo: Getty Images

In July, Lady M Confections partnered with ultra-fancy French crystal manufacturer Baccarat to launch the world's first luxury cake truck, a 28-foot long vehicle that was decorated with some $40,000 worth of crystal chandeliers. The suuuper relatable truck was parked outside Baccarat's flagship store on New York City's Madison Avenue, and it served Lady M's signature high-dollar Mille Crêpes and petit fours on Baccarat Clear crystal Arabesque dessert plates.

But before that, there was a four-month period when you might've scored a Lady M cake from a now-former warehouse worker's Dodge truck, or from a shady cake reseller. It was a less-prestigious arrangement, but that's probably because it was also totally illegal.

According to the New York Post, between last November and this February, 32-year-old David Lliviganay allegedly stole some 1,020 cakes from Lady M's Long Island warehouse. His M.O. was a pretty simple one: He raided the freezers, filled more than a half-dozen black bags with the delicate pastries, stacked them in a shipping cart, and wheeled them all out to his vehicle. Unbelievably, Lady M didn't notice that it was down MORE THAN A THOUSAND CAKES until somebody casually mentioned that they were being sold at a deep discount on the secondary market.

When Lady M finally launched an investigation, they allegedly saw Lliviganay and his cake cart on previously recorded security camera footage, and his Wi-Fi log-in records also placed him at the scene of the low-tech heists. They also did some math and realized that Lliviganay allegedly stole some 357 cakes—worth $31,238—during the month of January alone.

Lliviganay told his bosses that he was going on vacation in mid-February, and never went back to work. His employment was officially terminated in March, and he was arrested for the thefts in April. Lliviganay has pleaded guilty to 15 counts of petit larceny and has a sentencing date later this month. In addition to that, Lady M has also filed a civil suit against him, and it is asking for the full value of the stolen cakes—an estimated $89,250—plus interest and unspecified punitive damages. (VICE has reached out to both Lady M and to Lliviganay's attorney for comment but has not yet received a response.)

Lady M Confections was founded in 2001 by Ken Romaniszyn, a man who has been called 'The Louis Vuitton of Cakes.' Its first New York boutique opened three years later, and it now has almost 40 locations scattered throughout the United States, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.

The bakery's signature dessert, the Lady M Mille Crêpes, are made of ultra-thin handmade crepes that have been alternately layered with a light pastry cream (or "an ethereal custard," as O, The Oprah Magazine gushed). Those cakes are available in a dozen different flavors, and they cost between $55 for a six-inch mini-version to as much as $95 for some nine-inchers, a price tag that Romaniszyn thinks is justified.

"For us, we really concentrate on using the best ingredients that we can find, no matter where we go, flour, strawberries, chestnuts," he told Pandaily. "We get chestnuts from France and chocolate from Belgium, flour from Japan. We don’t just go to the grocery stores to get our ingredients. We go around the globe."

We can't decide which is the most bonkers part of this story: that one man was able to allegedly steal more than a thousand desserts, or that his haul was worth almost 90 grand. Future thieves, if you're gonna steal cakes, maybe just stick to a couple of Fudgie the Whales or something—and keep those phones on airplane mode, too.