A thrift store in Abbotsford is asking for help.
The store raises money for women recovering from drug addiction, but it’s losing money because looters are rummaging through donated items that have been dropped off outside store hours.
The Second Chance Thrift store has helped hundreds of women over the past decade because of the money raised there.
“We welcome women with drug and alcohol addictions,” says Marian Vanderwal from Life’s Second Chance. “When they talk to someone who’s been through the program and has had the experience of unconditional love and acceptance, and healing, it’s a place they want to be.”
But not everyone is dropping off donations during the day, and staff say that is turning into a dumping nightmare.
Donation bags were ripped open and clothing strewn all over the doorstep. Staff suspected homeless people were responsible, but a surveillance camera revealed a shocking truth.
Two young women in newer model cars pull up and sort through the donations. They load several boxes into their cars, stealing profits from the charity.
“What are they doing with it?” asks Vanderwal. “I don’t know. Can we follow them and find out? Are they selling it on Craigslist? Are they selling it somewhere else? At garage sales? Are they making an income from what people donate to our store?”
Vanderwal believes several thrift stores are also being robbed, because legally, taking goods left outside a store is not considered theft. She urges people to only drop off donations when charities are open.
– With files from Julia Foy.