Most merchants wouldn’t mind seeing empty shelves at this time of year, but Ashcroft Workwear owner Geri Anderson was left in shock when thieves stole the merchandise that she was counting on for Christmas.
Anderson said police called her on Friday morning after someone reported seeing the back doors of her store on the corner of Railway and 5th wide open at 6:50 in the morning.
“These shelves were full and they cleaned them all out,” she said, referring to her number one selling boots. “They took about 95 per cent of my Carhartt – all of the winter-lined hi-vis vests. They left me one coat.”
Anderson said the thieves grabbed a couple of big garbage cans on wheels from the loading dock and just kept filling them up and dumping them into a vehicle.
“They stripped that rack,” she said, pointing to where the coats were, “and they took all of this shelf,” where she had orange hi-vis bibs neatly stacked.
She said they took hoodies, coats, vests, thermal underwear – but mostly black and gray.
They left the blue bibs and the orange coveralls, and the Carhartt black and gray hats with matching flip-mits.
“I guess they didn’t like the green,” she said shaking her head.
“I got the feeling they might have been in the store,” she said, “just sort of … nosing around.”
They definitely knew what they wanted, said Anderson. She suspects they headed north to the oil fields for a quick and easy sell where solidly-made warm clothing is a sought after commodity.
“I just got my fricking order in,” she says. “This (shelf) was all full of jeans and bibs. They took everything.
She can reorder the merchandise, but it won’t arrive until after Christmas. It comes from Michigan and takes three to four weeks. Either way, Christmas will be over.
“I’m pretty much hooped for Christmas,” she says. “They took all my high ticket items.”
She estimates that she lost $25,000-$30,000 worth of stock.
“And the worst part is, Carhartt is my number one seller – that was the gifts for men at Christmas.”
She says this was all ordered last summer. She can order some replacements from another good company, but it won’t be Carhartt.
There are a few things left – some Carhartt sweatshirts, a few jeans that they missed.
They took all of the black thermal underwear but left the beige behind.
“I guess they didn’t like the cream colour,” she joked. “It shows the dirt.”
Along with the bundle of manly clothing, they also took two Avon gift baskets. And they took her brand new e-reader out of her desk drawer and took an envelope of useless receipts. The e-reader was still sitting where they left it.
But they left behind their good sturdy Stanley pry bar that they tried to force open her full-sized safe with.
To add insult to injury, the thieves cut her telephone lines so the alarms wouldn’t work. She said she phoned Telus right away.
“The earliest they can get me up and running is Thursday,” she said. “I have no debit machine, no telephone lines and I said ‘Are you kidding me? I’ve got three businesses to run under this roof,’ and they can’t get me going until Thursday.”
She says it would cost her more to close up shop and go home, so she’ll re-order and make due for Christmas. There’s still plenty of good merchandise left.