Four Vinnies Retail Centres across Western Australia have been burgled five times over a period of eight days, causing $5000 worth of damage.
By Anthony Barich
The St Vincent de Paul Society says it’s just coincidence and says its stores are “not an easy target”.
The Vinnies store in Victoria Park was the latest centre to be robbed, with volunteers arriving in the morning to find the door’s lock broken and the safe entered with its contents gone.
Vinnies Wembley was targeted twice, once on January 3 then again on January 11 causing over $2,500 worth of damage.
Vinnies Bassendean was broken into on January 4 with $1000 worth of damage caused, while Vinnies’ regional Depot in Bunbury fell victim to criminal activity over the weekend with perpetrators causing hundreds of dollars of damage.
St Vincent de Paul Society spokeswoman Lucinda Ardagh said members were shocked in a state of disbelief that anyone would target a charitable service in the community to steal money and goods.
“The funds that the Society raises in the community are to help the disadvantaged and the homeless and such criminal activity diverts funds away from that core work in order to fix the damage that has been caused,” she said.
“In addition to the funds, we have extremely dedicated volunteers who donate their time each and every week to keep the service running and these volunteers have been left shaken and bewildered that someone would target their local Vinnies shop – especially at this festive time of year.”
There are 43 Vinnies Retail Centres state wide to provide funds for emergency welfare assistance to those in need.
“We didn’t expect to start 2009 having to clean up damage from break-in’s to our much loved Vinnies shops however we are staying optimistic and hope people understand the disservice they are doing to those in need by targeting our services and hence disrupting the good works we are here to provide,” Ms Ardagh said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Vinnies also offers a great volunteering opportunity to anyone wanting to make new friends, gain retail experience or who simply want to give something back in their community.
For further information about the Society phone
(08) 9475 5400 or log on to www.vinnies.org.au