CHARITY SHOP IS HIT BY SMASH AND GRAB BURGLARY
Selskar St. Vincent de Paul staff shocked and saddened by raid
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.