By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Career Wardrobe’s store on Spring Garden Street, The Wardrobe Boutique, is full of fashion: clothes, accessories and bags, all donated to raise money for other women.
“We provide women free clothing to transition into the workforce,” said Sheri Cole, Career Wardrobe’s executive director.
Friday, December 27, it was almost closing time with only a few people in the store.
Assistant manager Hanae Mason said the thieves looked like “regular customers, engaging with the associates, looking at merchandise, then kind of pulled a fast one.”
“One of them grabbed everything she had been looking at and ran for the door,” said Cole.
So did her accomplice. They hopped into a getaway car with a valuable haul: “Burberry coats, Gucci, Louis Vitton handbags, all valued at about $2,000,” Cole said.
They estimate that $2,000 could have outfitted twenty women for job interviews.
Mary Anne Smalls, a Career Wardrobe associate, said, “It really saddened me. It really saddened me because we’re here to help everyone.”
Out of crime came compassion. Career Wardrobe has been inundated with help from the community.
“They’re bringing in their things, they’re donating financially, more people want to volunteer. It’s been amazing,” Hanae Mason said.
The non-profit didn’t have a security camera, so a business has offered to install one. They’ve also received at least $1,000 in donations.
They have a message for the thieves: We forgive you.
“Just give them back to us,” Smalls said. “Just leave them on the step, and we know, and we can bring them back into the store.”
And they say if the women need help, they’re holding out a helping hand.
Career Wardrobe is always in need of business suits, especially in sizes 14 and up.
They have a variety of donation spots, including at The Wardrobe Boutique, 1822 Spring Garden Street during store hours (Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
For more donation information, go to: http://careerwardrobe.org/donate/clothing-donations/hours-and-locations/