CHAR­ITY SHOP IS HIT BY SMASH AND GRAB BUR­GLARY

Sel­skar St. Vin­cent de Paul staff shocked and sad­dened by raid

Wexford People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARIA PEP­PER

STAFF AND vol­un­teers with the St. Vin­cent de Paul So­ci­ety have been left shocked and sad­dened by a bur­glary at Vin­cent’s Char­ity Shop, one of the main sources of in­come for the or­gan­i­sa­tion which helps peo­ple in poverty.

The shop in Sel­skar was the pre-Christ­mas tar­get of a smash and grab rob­bery in the early hours of last Thurs­day morn­ing.

A man who was caught on CCTVwith his face cov­ered, used rocks to smash win­dows in the shop be­fore mak­ing off with the­cash reg­is­ter and a char­ity do­na­tion box con­tain­ing an un­known amount of cash.

The bur­glar at­tempted to smash open the empty cash till against a wall across the road, at the en­trance to the West­gate Her­itage Cen­tre and even­tu­ally aban­doned

it on the ground for gar­dai to dis­cover af­ter they were alerted by a vig­i­lant passer-by at 7.30 a.m. in the morn­ing.

When as­sis­tants Amanda McMa­hon and Jo McHugh ar­rived at the premises at ap­prox­i­mately 8.45 a.m., they found a crime scene at the char­ity shop with gar­dai al­ready car­ry­ing out foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tions.

Amanda said there was shat­tered glass all over the floor and any stock which was in or near the win­dow had to be thrown out for fear the items con­tained glass par­ti­cles.

She said the bur­glary was shock­ing and un­set­tling to ev­ery­one in­volved in the shop which has a large num­ber of re­tired vol­un­teers.

Amanda said it was up­set­ting to think that some­one would tar­get a char­ity shop which is there to help peo­ple.

But she said it was heart­en­ing to re­alise that no one else re­moved any­thing from the shop in the hours fol­low­ing the rob­bery even though the premises was wide open.

And stu­dents on a course nearby of­fered to help clean up the premises when they saw what hap­pened.

In re­silient spirit, staff had the shop re­opened with boarded win­dows be­fore mid­day.

Shop man­ager Lil­lian Clow­ery said that while their win­dow had been smashed as an act of van­dal­ism be­fore, they had never been bro­ken into. She es­ti­mated that the win­dow would cost up to €500 to re­place while their till, which was broke in bits, would cost another cou­ple of hun­dred to re­place. She added that they had also lost some stock as glass had shat­tered on it and they had to re­move it from the store.

‘It’s very dis­heart­en­ing be­cause it’s the busiest time of the year for us, with so many peo­ple look­ing for help. Un­for­tu­nately, our church gate col­lec­tions are down so the shop is our main source of in­come; if it doesn’t come in, we can’t give it out.

‘This was the last thing we needed but no one was hurt, we’ll re­group and carry on.’

She said said there was a par­tic­u­lar mean­ness to bur­gling a char­ity shop.

‘Maybe the per­son was in dire straits. But if the per­son had come to us, we’d have helped him.’

She added that since the in­ci­dent they had re­ceived a lot of sup­port and their Christ­mas Fair on Satur­day had been well at­tended. She thanked all those who sup­ported the char­ity, say­ing that Wex­ford had al­ways given gen­er­ously to them.

Gar­dai are ap­peal­ing to any­one with in­for­ma­tion to con­tact them on 053 91 65200.

The smashed win­dow, left, and shop man­ager Lil­lian Clow­ery, above, af­ter the win­dow was boarded up.

Sel­skar SVP shop man­ager Lil­lian Clow­ery at the boarded-up win­dow.

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