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Thief ram raids new West End Vinnies shop, steals $30 in costume jewellery

Up and running: Vinnies Queensland retail operations manager Renzo Salvetti and West End centre co-ordinator Debbi Engler pointing out items in the salvaged cabinet after a robbery attempt at the West End store Photo: Joe Higgins

RAMMING his car in reverse through the front doors of Vinnies’ West End store, a thief pilfered jewellery for two minutes before speeding back out of the store, narrowly avoiding a pedestrian in the escape.

The stolen jewellery was worth $20-$30. 

The store was looking at about $300 in stock losses from the snatch and grab job.

Vinnies Queensland retail operations manager Renzo Salvetti said the jewellery was dress jewellery.

“We hardly ever have anything of value in there because we just don’t get it donated like we used to,” he said.

The security company alerted Mr Salvetti following the October 31 theft, and he rushed to the store to find the front door rammed down. 

“The front door and the glass and the frames (were) all bent up and we’re going to get that replaced,” Mr Salvetti said.

“There were pieces of the door inside and glass here.

“You can still see the tyre marks on the concrete (floor); when he came through there he spun his wheels.”

Vinnies West End centre co-ordinator Debbi Engler said they would be cleaning glass up for quite a while.

“Even we didn’t realise, the donations that were there (in the path of the vehicle), we had to throw them out,” she said.

“They were full of glass,” Mr Salvetti said, “Can’t do anything about them.”

He said the intruder then smashed into the glass cabinet, which was a $4500 cabinet, and stole the “ costume jewellery”.

“I think we can salvage most of it,” he said.

Right beside the jewellery the offender stole were the pricier items.

“He went for the things he thought were gold,” Ms Engler said.

The store will also have to pay for the damages out of pocket.

“It is what it is,” Mr Salvetti said.

West End’s team worked around the clock to clean up and re-open the store last Monday after losing its two best trading days to clean up – the Friday and Saturday. 

“We’ve lost a significant two and a half days trade, which is really stopping us getting the funds we need to help people in need,” Mr Salvetti said.

“It was a bit of a shock to the volunteers and the system but they all seem to be in good spirits now.”

Moving forward: West End centre co-ordinator Debbi Engler stands in front of the damaged front door and glass windows. Photo: Joe Higgins.

The ram raid came only months after the store was blessed and opened.

Ms Engler said despite it all, everybody was “very positive”.

“We just want to get back into it and get back to what we were doing,” she said.

Mr Salvetti said right now the store just needs people to know that they are there in their new location of Montague Road and are in operation.

“Support us, come in, say hello, come and have a shop, you’ll love the store,” he said.

“We’re here, we’re open, the more we make… the more we can help the society.”

He also said volunteering was a great way to help.

“We always have room for more people to help.”

The store has a gala fashion parade coming up on November 21, which they were hoping to generate some publicity for.

Vinnies chief executive officer Kevin Mercer told Channel 9 News that the assailant could “reach out” to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

“You don’t need to do this,” he said.

“We can help you.”

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