Flanking the smashed storefront window on Main Street, were Debbie Tracey, president of Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary, and Lynne Larsen, manager of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shoppe, on Sept. 10, 2021. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)

Flanking the smashed storefront window on Main Street, were Debbie Tracey, president of Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary, and Lynne Larsen, manager of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shoppe, on Sept. 10, 2021. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)

Thousands in gifts cards stolen in Chilliwack charity smash-and-grab

Storefront window on Main Street shattered by thieves in pre-dawn darkness

A smash-and-grab at the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shoppe early Friday morning has volunteers disheartened and reeling.

Thieves shattered the storefront window in the dark and stole thousands of dollars worth of donated raffle prizes.

Hands reached in through the shards of glass and security bars, grabbing expensive items out of the gift baskets ready to be raffled off next month to benefit Chilliwack General Hospital.

“We have been trying, during this trying time of COVID, to raise money for equipment for our hospital,” said Debbie Tracey, president of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary.

Volunteers had fanned out into the community, graciously asking for raffle donations, and donors were “extremely generous” with the hospital auxiliary this year, Tracey said.

Consequently they had 10 baskets with about $800 dollars in each basket ready to go.

Whatever could be reached was stolen in the incident, including an Apple Watch and many store gift cards. That doesn’t take into account the cost of replacing the window.

It’s a huge hit for a non-profit that relies on donations to support hospital needs.

“To have someone break in and steal from us this way is very disheartening; I am very devastated by this,” Tracey said.

It happened in the pre-dawn darkness after 5 a.m. on Sept. 10, according to the security footage.

Another problem they have now is with the raffle’s provincial gaming licence, since they had to list all the prizes they’d be giving away as a licence requirement.

The non-profit’s executive will be looking into what their options are.

“Shame on the people who did this. Maybe they needed food since there were gift cards, but still it won’t be doing the hospital any good, and the hospital is here for our community,” Tracey added.

Anyone wishing to help out the hospital auxiliary as they work to replace the stolen basket items is asked to message them through the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shoppe Facebook page

The local charity has been supporting health care at the hospital since 1911.

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Chilliwack General Hospital