Raiders strike at Norwich charity shop
12:00 14 January 2013
The best and worst of human nature was on display after a Norwich charity shop became the third to be raided in less than a month.
The burglar who forced his way into The Storehouse Community Project shop, in Magdalen Street, and walked out with the charity’s till and takings, was branded “evil” by the distraught owner of the shop.
But, when fellow traders in the city street learned about the break-in, they had no hesitation in reaching into their pockets to replace the money the burglar had snatched.
Kim Easter, who opened the Storehouse in November, said of the burglary: “It was really quite evil what they did. They came and smashed the back door and took the till.
“I arrived on Thursday morning and when I went into the shop it was just a mess. The thing is, we’re a community shop and we’re trying to help people who are struggling.
“If whoever did this was down on their luck and had come in the front door saying they were in dire straits, we’d probably have offered to help them out.
“But I don’t think that was what this was. The police said he was wearing rubber gloves, so I think this was someone who knew what they were doing and had done this sort of thing before.”
While the burglary left Mrs Easter down-hearted, fellow shopkeepers in Magdalen Street soon restored her faith in human nature.
She said: “The good thing which came of this was that we soon had half the money which had been taken back, because other shopkeepers who heard what had happened replaced it. It was amazing.” The break-in was the third on a charity shop in Norwich in the space of just a month. The Big C shop, also in Magdalen Street, was broken into on Tuesday, December 18. In that raid, a safe was ripped off the wall.
Following that burglary, people and businesses dug deep to help the charity get back on its feet, with donations, collections and offers of help.
Another charity which was targeted by burglars was the Samaritans shop in Aylsham Road. That charity, which helps provide emotional support for people in despair, was broken into some time between 11.30pm on New Year’s Eve and 8.30am the following day.
Clothing and other items, such as tea, coffee and sugar, was taken after the criminals smashed a side window. The shop was also broken into in November last year.
Mrs Easter, who lives in Heartsease, said she wondered if criminals were specifically targeting charity shops. She said: “It seems to be a bit of a pattern. They do seem to be targeting the city’s charity shops.
“It’s going to take a little bit of money for us to do the things we need to do to stop this happening again.”
Anyone with information about the break-in at The Storehouse Community Project, or who saw anyone suspicious in the Magdalen Street area last Wednesday night or Thursday morning, should telephone Norfolk police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
• Do you have a crime story? Call Norwich Evening News crime reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org