Volunteers at St. Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary Shoppe were surprised to see the police show up at their door with a box of stolen items.
The store’s security camera helped identify both the donor of the household goods and the person who stole them with the help of a security camera.
Marion officer Duane McCarty said the suspect, who he would not name, admitted to taking the items and readily turned them over when he and chief Clinton Jeffrey confronted him.
“They claimed they thought it was OK to take it because it was just sitting out there, but there is a sign,” Jeffrey said.
Numerous large signs posted where the items were left clearly state that material is property of the thrift shop and should not be taken by others.
McCarty said he identified the donor with the aid of the store’s camera and the person gave them a list of her box’s contents before the officers confronted the suspected thief.
Elora Robinson, president of the auxiliary, declined to seek charges because the person returned the items.
“It’s really hard to prosecute and get anything done,” she said. “You’d have to know exactly how much the items were worth, and it’s hard to tell when it’s donated.”
Auxiliary treasurer Peggy Blackman said the monetary value was irrelevant if the items are given for the benefit of the auxiliary.
“I think it’s valuable to us, even if it can make a dime — it’s a dime we didn’t have,” she said. “Even if it’s someone else’s trash, if we can use it it’s our treasure.”
Robinson admitted she was irritated someone would steal from a charity that benefits the city’s hospital.
“People are just crazy,” she said. “Stealing from an all volunteer organization that donates all its profits to the hospital,” she sighed. “There’s not a lot we can do about it.
McCarty disagreed and said he warned the person he would be charged with criminal trespass if he ever set foot on the thrift shop’s property again.
“Criminal trespass is something that can be charged,” he said.
The value of stolen items can usually be determined, he said.
“A person could always Google the price. The cost of replacing it would be the dollar value of a (stolen) item,” he said.
Theft laws do not distinguish by value unless the total value is well more than what might have been left at the shop.