by Sam Newhouse
As seen in Philadelphia Metro, December 29, 2013
In a twisted robbery for the holiday season, a charitable store that helps give women clothing for free was robbed by two female suspects last week.
But on the bright side, the organization is now receiving more attention and support than ever, according to Career Wardrobe’s executive director Sheri Cole.
“If there is a silver lining, it’s that we’ve had this outpouring of support from folks who want to help and want to replace what was stolen,” said Cole.
Cole said she has received multiple messages of support and inquiries about how to donate on Facebook and Twitter since the robbery, and even some new monetary donations.
The Wardrobe Boutique at 19th and Spring Garden streets is the Career Wardrobe’s storefront, and it raises funds for the organization by selling donated clothing at affordable prices.
But on Friday, Dec. 27, the store was robbed of $2,000 worth of merchandise — eight designer bags and two designer coats.
“Everything is donated, so we didn’t lose money, but we’re out of the potential $2,000 that could have gone directly to helping women get jobs,” Cole said.
According to Cole, a sales associate was helping two women as they browsed and tried on Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton coats, when they suddenly grabbed the merchandise and fled the store.
The two female thieves were seen driving away in a car waiting outside the shop by the sales associate.
“It’s really gut-wrenching,” Cole said of the incident, which she called the worst robbery in the four years since the store opened. “Had they really needed something, all they had to do was ask.”
According to Cole, Career Wardrobe gives away about 21,000 outfits annually while working to help 3,000 unemployed women get work each year. Each woman receives seven professional outfits through the charity, including an interview outfit.