"It rips your heart out": charity stores targeted in spate of break and enters

With Christmas only around the corner, two charity stores have been dealt a devastating blow after a spate of break ins and thefts.

A storage shed at the Cowra Salvation Army's Family Store and a donation bin at Cowra's St Vincent De Paul were both rummaged through earlier this week.

Officer in charge of Cowra Police, Inspector Adam Beard said the incidents occurred between October 27 and October 29.

"Police confirm that two of the local charity organisations were subject to either break and enters or stealings over the last week," Inspector Beard said.

"The two incidents at our local charity organisations are of particular concern to police and I'm sure to the broader community."

Inspector Beard said these incidents follow a number of break ins and thefts in other businesses and residences across Cowra.

"Cowra is currently experiencing an increased number of break ins and property related thefts at the moment, and they have been spread across town, both to residential areas and through our CBD," he said.

"Cowra Police are following up on a number of leads in relation to those matters and we'd certainly welcome any further information from the public."

Cowra Salvation Army Family Store Manager, Jo Nobes, said the perpetrators rummaged through bags of donated clothes, shoes and Christmas toys.

"I could see that they had ransacked all the donations that had come in late yesterday afternoon and that's when I noticed they had kicked our storeroom in," she said.

"The storeroom contains our all surplus extra clothing, it was all bagged up nicely into ladies, mens, summer, winter so when we need more clothing for the shop, we can just grab specifically what we need."

While it appears a number of children's bikes have been stolen, Mrs Nobes said she was unsure what else was taken.

She said the volunteers have worked for months to sort through and organise donations.

"I could handle them going through the donations, I can deal with that but all our hard work in that room, that's months of work that we've got stored so we can keep that shop fully stocked that they've just wrecked," she said.

"These guys [volunteers] do it for nothing, I get paid, they do it for nothing and I've got watch them redo work that they've been doing for months."

Family Store volunteer Cath Hanns said it was devastating to think people would do this to a community service.

"We put our heart and soul into this place and it's there for the community and they're just wrecking the whole thing," she said.

We do this day in and day out and we don't do it because we have to, we do it because we want to, it just rips your heart out

Volunteer Cath Hanns

"We do this day in and day out and we don't do it because we have to, we do it because we want to, it just rips your heart out."

St Vincent De Paul's acting north west regional director, Phil Donnan, said the organisation is more than willing to help out those in need.

"If people need assistance, we encourage them to come in and we will help everyone as much as we can, so it is disappointing to see this," he said.

"We'll endeavour to help people as best as we can given the circumstances, if we're missing things locally then we will be in a position to be able to bring things in to help out people locally, regardless of these events occurring."

"It's disappointing when it's specifically targeted like this but we cope with it and help people regardless, we don't want that to destroy our trust in people generally."

Both stores are looking for donations and people to volunteer this holiday season.

"We are always preparing things like that at this time of year and appreciate any donations in that direction or even more valuable is people being able to contribute their time and volunteer to help us get these things together and help those in need," Mr Donnan said.

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