The Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society and Surrey Hospice Charity’s Community Thrift Store was hit by thieves twice in recent weeks. (Photo: Facebook.com/CommThrift)

B.C. firefighters’ charity hit by theft three times in a month

Thousand of dollars worth of items stolen from charity thrift store; first aid equipment taken from trailer

Three thefts within a month have impacted Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society (SFFCS).

A Newton thrift store that benefits the society was broken into on two separate occasions – first on Aug. 23 then again on Sept 14, both in the early morning hours.

“The thieves stole approximately $,1500 worth of donated product each time,” Dylan Van Rooyen told the Now-Leader via email. “This has been very discouraging and a little unsettling for our team of volunteers. We are holding a meeting, for the volunteers, Wednesday night… to review personal safety best practices. Both incidents did occur after hours, however, it has left the team a little shaken up. We are working on increased security at the store which includes alarm upgrades and are hopeful the landlord will improve the external lighting and add security bars to the windows.”

Surrey RCMP Constable Richard Wright said both thefts were investigated, but that “unfortunately, no suspects could be identified and the investigations have been concluded.”

READ ALSO: Surrey firefighters seeking donations after ‘high quality items’ stolen from thrift store (Aug. 28, 2019)

Then, on Sept. 15, SFFCS’s trailer was broken into in Port Kells outside the decommissioned firehall that now serves as the charity’s office (18922 88th Ave.).

It was used to store the charity’s “community engagement items,” Van Rooyen explained.

“The locking mechanism and trailer were damaged and the thieves took off with first aid equipment, a pry bar and storage bin. All of these items were discovered scattered around neighbouring properties,” he said.

Surrey RCMP are still investigating this incident.

“Unfortunately these things do happen, however, when the thieves target charities it has a different feeling. Our members donate thousands of hours and make personal financial contributions to the work we do. We will put our best foot forward and continue to do what we do best, which is give back to the community we live and work in. The thieves that broke into the trailer were caught on camera and this footage has been passed along to the RCMP.”

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(The Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society’s trailer that was broken into in mid-September. Photos submitted)

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The thrift store is now looking for donations, such as gently used purses or shoes.

Donations can be dropped off at the store during business hours (Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.) at 7138 King George Blvd. Linens and bedding can be placed in drop-off bins at the store’s side door.

There are also drop-off bins at most fire halls.

According to the charitable society, the thrift store is a “unique partnership” between the Surrey Hospice Society and Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society that “ensures that all net income of the store is used to benefit the citizens of Surrey.”

Meantime, on Wednesday, volunteers will be picking up its largest order to date from Costco for its nutritional snack program.

Van Rooyen said the order will be between $50,000 and $60,000 in product and that “this is just the first purchase of what will be many throughout the school year.”

-With files from Lauren Collins

SEE ALSO: VIDEO: 20 years later, Surrey firefighters’ Nutritional Snack Program needed more than ever



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