CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Woman seen stealing bags of charity donations in Arlington
ARLINGTON, Wash. — A local thrift store is now on the brink, thanks to thieves helping themselves to donations.
Helping Hands Thrift Store has been operating in Arlington since the late 1970s.
The director, Lana Lasley, said they’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities – and it also helps families still recovering from the Oso slide.
Now, thanks to thieves, Helping Hands is nearly out of items to sell and they need your help.
“Just begging, people, don’t take our donations,” said Lasley.
Surveillance video obtained by Q13 FOX News shows a woman stealing several bags intended for donation. Her truck bed is filled with bags and so is the cab.
Lasley said the woman stole everything from the donation bin on Monday morning.
“Some of those bags were so heavy she couldn’t even lift them into the back of the truck,” she said. “She filled the back of the pickup truck and filled the cab, too. She took everything.”
Monday’s theft was not the first time thieves targeted Helping Hands Thrift Store.
“Most likely they’re probably reselling those,” said Kristin Banfield with the Arlington Police Department.
Police are investigating at least two instances of theft from the thrift store, including one case back in March where three people took whatever they could find. The suspects were driving a red, late 1990s Subaru Legacy.
“These individuals are coming and going through those donations and taking the best stuff out of them, or just taking the bags wholesale,” said Banfield.
Lasley said her charity raises money for the Boys & Girls Club, local homeless shelters and families devastated from the Oso mudslide.
“We’ve had many families come from the Oso area where all their clothes went down the river,” said Lasley. “(They’re) coming to our store searching for shoes, pants, clothes, pillows, blankets, they don’t even have a place to live. We have many people coming from Oso.”
The signs plastered inside the donation shed have not deterred the thieves.
Lasley said if the suspects are as desperate as they seem, Helping Hands would offer assistance – all they have to do is ask.
“It’s such a good feeling to help somebody and it’s such a bad feeling to see somebody to steal that opportunity from everyone,” said Lasley.
Lasley hopes the community will can step up and replenish the stolen donations.
Police are also looking for help identifying the suspects.
People who have information in either case are urged call The Arlington Police Department or email the detective at firstname.lastname@example.org.