After-hours dumping impacts thrift store

Donations made at Life's Second Chance Thrift Store, and similar locations, are picked through when dropped off after store hours.

This is an example of a previous mess left outside of Life’s Recovery Thrift Store on South Fraser Way.

This is an example of a previous mess left outside of Life’s Recovery Thrift Store on South Fraser Way.

Staff at an Abbotsford thrift store were surprised at what was caught on security video recently installed at the location.

Marian Vanderwal, manager of Life’s Second Chance Thrift Store at 31550 South Fraser Way, said footage from a recent night shows a pickup truck pulling up to the store after hours and dropping off numerous boxes and bags of items for donation.

Shortly after, two nicely dressed women pulled up in separate cars outside the store, rummaged through the goods, loaded up their vehicles, and drove away.

“It kind of shocked us when we watched the video … These were well-off women. I’m sure they were going to turn around and sell (the items),” Vanderwal said.

After the women left, the video shows two people pulling up on bicycles, looking through the leftover items and taking many of them.

Most of the items not taken that night were scattered across the parking lot and were no longer useable for sale.

Vanderwal said the footage is an example of an ongoing problem at Life’s Second Chance Thrift Store and similar locations in the city.

She said people drop off items after hours, despite well-posted signs that ask for donations to be left only during store hours.

The store also has signs informing people of its security cameras, which were installed about a month ago.

Items left outside of store hours are not only vulnerable to the elements, but to looting. It’s not considered theft, under the law, because the goods have not been taken from inside the store, Vanderwal said.

Once the donations have been damaged by rain or from being scattered around, they have to be disposed of.

This takes money away from the services that the thrift store supports for Life Recovery House, a non-profit women’s residential recovery program.

“People donate things with good intentions, but they end up going to the dump,” Vanderwal said.

She said some people also use the store as a dumping ground when they don’t want to spend the money to take the items to the garbage transfer station.

Vanderwal encourages anyone with useable donations to drop them off only between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Used mattresses are not accepted.

For more information, call 604-854-5928.