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'We can't support local survivors': Break-in forces thrift store to temporarily close its doors

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Staff were still cleaning up Friday at Retail Therapy KW Thrift & Consign following a break-in early Tuesday morning.

"Stuff was missing. Our iPad was missing. All of the stuff we used to take sales, our safe. A lot of things of value had been taken," said Amanda Kroetsch, the shop’s founder and executive director.

Security footage shows someone inside the store around 5:50 a.m. Tuesday.

"[Wearing] all black. Very hard to see anything. And with a backpack, kind of popping up and down in our aisles at the store here, shoving stuff in a backpack," Kroetsch described.

Security image from Retail Therapy KW Thrift & Consign. (Submitted)

She estimates around $5,000 worth of electronics and cash were taken. The store was forced to close its doors on Friday, because staff couldn’t process any sales.

Kroetsch said they’ve received some replacement electronics so they can get the store up and running.

They plan on reopening Saturday.

Support suspended

Retail Therapy is part of the Domestic Violence Victim’s Alliance. While operating as a thrift store to the general public, it also allows survivors of domestic violence to shop for free. It typically sees between one to two survivors per week.

"We can't support local survivors of domestic violence right now, and we normally do one or two shops a week to support people. So that's really the worst part of it," Kroetsch said.

"It's sad that it had to be closed when so many people could have been helped," added Alicia Flynn, one of the shop’s volunteers.

Retail Therapy KW Thrift & Consign on April 12, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

Kroetsch said the store doesn’t take inventory of each item they receive and they’re still trying to figure out what was all taken.

"We actually have a sign on our front door that says: 'Hey, please don't steal from us. If you have anything that you need, just come up and ask. We're happy to give it to you,'" she explained.

Updating security

According to Kroetsch, other camera footage showed the thief entering other businesses in their shared building.

The store is now in the process of beefing up their security.

"We had them come in, just completely overhaul everything, reteach us how to use everything. We now have panic buttons as well, even though we weren't here when this theft happened. Everybody's kind of spooked, of course," Kroetsch said.

Store fundraisers

Retail Therapy KW Thrift & Consign is planning on holding two fundraisers this month and also an online fundraiser.

Waterloo regional police are investigating the theft and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

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