The fox with the fetish, which reportedly pilfered between 200 and 250 shoes last year near the town of Föhren, has once again taken to plundering terraces, porches and garages, said the area's resident nobleman, Count Rudolf von Kesselstatt.
The fox has likely been taking shoes from the community of 3,000 to have “something to play with,” Kesselstatt theorised.
The canny carnivore has taken a particular liking to 55-year-old Heidi Heinz's shoes, this year stealing a pair of red garden shoes that it had already taken in 2009. She got her footwear back, along with seven others, when a forester discovered the fox's hoard in the woods and fished the shoes out of the burrow tunnels.
But Heinz said she was merely annoyed at her own carelessness.
“I can only advise people not to leave their shoes outside,” she said.
This year she labelled the shoes with her name in heavy black letters in hopes of getting them back again.
But Kesselstatt said this would be unlikely, because the wily fox with a shoe fixation has moved dens.
“There was too much going on there for the fox,” said Kesselstatt, who lives in Föhren Palace near the 1,200-hectare forest. “And we won't look for him.”
But the fox is apparently not that shy. One woman reported that one half of a freshly polished pair of pumps she set outside was stolen in broad daylight.
And Heinz has also spotted the bushy-tailed thief on numerous occasions from her living room window.
“He is a handsome guy,” she said. “Or a pretty lady.”
But Kesselstatt is certain the fox is female.
“No man would own 250 shoes,” he said.