The Community Thrift Store, a partnership between the Surrey Hospice Society and the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society, in Newton has taken another blow. The store’s van, which transports donations, was stolen from Fire Hall 17 in South Surrey on Dec. 29, 2020. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)

The Community Thrift Store, a partnership between the Surrey Hospice Society and the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society, in Newton has taken another blow. The store’s van, which transports donations, was stolen from Fire Hall 17 in South Surrey on Dec. 29, 2020. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)

Theft of Surrey firefighters’ thrift store van ‘disheartening’

Vehicle recovered, but charitable society vice-president says it wasn’t driveable

The Community Thrift Store in Newton has taken another blow.

Dylan Van Rooyen, the vice-president of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society, said the thrift store’s van was stolen “sometime after 7 p.m. on December 29th in South Surrey.” The van transports donations to the Newton thrift store from Fire Hall 17 (15329 32nd Ave.).

The thrift store is a partnership between the firefighters and the Surrey Hospice Society. The store helps to raise funds for the two charities, and Van Rooyen said it’s also used as a resource “in the event somebody is in need of essential items due to the impacts of an emergency incident.”

The van was found Wednesday (Dec. 30) in Langley, Van Rooyen said, but with “all of the decals removed, ignition damaged and was not drivable, requiring a tow.”

Van Rooyen said the van is “a little older,” so the society is “fearful that the damage may exceed what our insurance would cover and a replacement van would cost far more than what the payout would be.”

He said they’re waiting to find out how badly damaged the van is and how long it will take to have it back on the road again.

It will “undoubtedly” impact the store for early 2021, Van Rooyen noted.

“It is always a little disheartening when these things happen, but we won’t let it prevent our two organizations from pushing forward,” he told the Now-Leader.

Van Rooyen added the past couple of years have been “particularly challenging” for the thrift store, with multiple break-ins in late 2019 and a three-month closure in early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society looking at up to $250K-donation shortfall amid COVID-19, May 18, 2020

READ ALSO: Surrey firefighters seeking donations after ‘high quality items’ stolen from thrift store, Aug. 28, 2019

READ ALSO: Three thefts in a month ‘unsettling’ for Surrey firefighters charity, Sept. 24, 2019

However, despite the challenging year, Van Rooyen noted the society was still able to provide more than $800,000 in charitable support to the community.

“Our members have demonstrated their resiliency through these tough times and remain committed to doing the same in 2021,” he explained.

“However, this is not possible with out the support of the community as well, making personal donations, sponsoring our events, which are very limited due to COVID and donating clothing at our designated fire halls.”

Van Rooyen said if anyone has information about the theft, to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502, with file #20-200713.

For more information on the firefighters’ charitable society, or to donate, visit surreyfirefighters.com.

READ ALSO: Surrey firefighters’ tree-chip a drive-thru event in Guildford for 2020, Dec. 28, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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