"You have been hacked," was the message employees found scrawled on the marker board in the Georgetown Salvation Army Thrift Store Sunday morning. But that wasn't all they found. Mustard, relish, ketchup, salad dressing, and mayonnaise had been taken out of the fridge in the store's kitchen and splashed throughout the store-- on clothing for sale, the walls, ceiling, counter, cash register and counterfeit bill detector. The Red Shield box sitting on the counter was emptied of its change, jewelry was taken along with several CDs, videos and a Princess Diana collector plate that was up for auction in the store's front window. "It's the Salvation Army, we're here to help people," said an incredulous Debbie Murphy, manager of the store. "They don't realize what they're taking out of the community." At press time Murphy didn't have an exact value of the items taken and damage caused at the Mill St. store during the break and enter late Saturday or early Sunday, but estimated it is "in the thousands." "A brand new cash register had salad dressing poured into the keys," said Murphy. She figures that machine will have to be replaced, as will the counterfeit money detector that had mustard and other condiments poured into it. The money to replace those items comes right out of the Salvation Army coffers-- money that would normally be used to help the needy in the community. Murphy said at least 150 clothing items had to be tossed in the garbage because of the damage. "Someone just went down the rows with the (condiment) bottle open, dumping it on each one." This is not the first time the thrift store has been hit. Back in December 2001 thieves broke into the store, ransacked the donated items in the storeroom and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from a locked closet. Murphy said the man who rents the apartment above the store heard a loud bang at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He came downstairs to investigate, saw someone running from the back of the store, but saw that the door was closed so assumed everything was alright in the store. Police said when employees arrived at the store Sunday morning the front door was unlocked. "Disappointment," is how Murphy described her reaction to the break-in. "I'm hoping that someone did see something and will come forward." Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Halton Police at 905-878-5511 ext. 2110 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Salvation Army Thrift Store manager Debbie Murphy looks over a variety of mustardsplashed items after the store was broken into late Saturday. Thieves stole cash and a number of items during the break-in but also sprayed various condiments over goods resulting in thousands of dollars of damage. The store's main customers are those less fortunate and Murphy says the losses will come right out of the Sally Ann's coffers.