South Carolina

‘It’s got to stop’: Why theft from a York County charity is more than just items lost

Lake Wylie SC thrift shop robbed of donations

Sweet Repeat thrift shop in Lake Wylie had items taken. The South Carolina nonprofit sells items and donates money to charity.
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Sweet Repeat thrift shop in Lake Wylie had items taken. The South Carolina nonprofit sells items and donates money to charity.

A theft at a Lake Wylie nonprofit has leaders concerned not just about the items taken, but future items they could lose.

“We need all the help we can get,” Sweet Repeat Thrift Shop manager Eve Foery said. “Our donors are disgusted. They’re almost afraid to donate. If we fail to get donations, we cease to exist.”

Store surveillance footage shows two people arriving on Jan. 6, about four hours apart at about 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. It appears to show the same people taking items. On one of the trips, the pair has a trailer.

Sweet Repeat volunteers filed a report with the York County Sheriff’s Office. Efforts to review a copy of that report have been unsuccessful. Volunteers are hopeful the people appearing on their surveillance video can be located.

“It happened on Sunday twice, the same group,” said volunteer Cathy Mann. “It’s not like they just happened upon it. It’s very disheartening to us.”

Sweet Repeat, located in Lake Wylie Plaza of Charlotte Highway, has items locked in its store and in a large outdoor storage unit. Sweet Repeat also has smaller unlocked sheds for donation drop-offs when the volunteer-run store doesn’t have anyone there. The items were taken from the unlocked storage sheds and the property surrounding them.

Items taken include a washer, a drier, an inflatable pool, vacuum cleaners and several smaller items.

“They had themselves a field day,” Foery said.

Sweet Repeat uses money from the store sales to provide scholarships and help other community charitable groups. Last year the group donated almost $85,000 to 22 other nonprofits, including River Hills-Lake Wylie EMS, The Community Cafe, as well as the library, clinics and church ministries.

It’s not the first theft at Sweet Repeat donation sheds. There are four incidents from mid-2015 to early 2016 and two people charged. Neighboring businesses Anchor Self Storage and Carolina Access Control respectively bought and installed a new security system for the nonprofit.

In December 2017, a former employee turned herself into law enforcement on charges of embezzlement after being caught taking donated items.

Foery is hopeful someone knows what happened. Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers of York County at 877-409-4321 or yorkcrimestoppers.com.

“It was blatantly done on a Sunday morning,” Foery said. “People are going to church and they come here to help themselves. It’s got to stop.”

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John Marks covers community growth, municipalities and general news mainly in the Fort Mill and York County areas. He began writing for the Herald and sister papers in 2005 and won dozens of South Carolina Press Association and other awards since.

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