Vashon movie house gets burglarized, loses critical equipment

Vashon Theatre was burglarized over the weekend, losing nearly $10,000 worth of equipment — including a projector and two high-definition DVD players.

Owner Eileen Wolcott said she came to the theater Sunday morning to find a door kicked in and several important pieces of equipment missing. By late Sunday, she was still discovering more items missing and apparently stolen.

Among the most critical items stolen were two DVD players and a projector used to display those DVDs on the big screen. As a result, Wolcott had to cancel a special showing of “Crude,” scheduled for Sunday afternoon, an immediate loss of income, she said.

The theater also lost a flat-screen TV it used in its lobby to announce upcoming features and events, a Sirius satellite radio, Wolcott’s briefcase, binoculars, cash and “a whole bunch of candy,” Wolcott said.

The burglary comes at a critical time for the small, independently owned movie house, which has been struggling for months to stay afloat.

“We’ve been barely hanging on,” she said. “This is just a crushing blow.”

Until she replaces the projector and DVD players, she’ll continue to lose income, she added. The equipment is used for birthday parties and other special events, some of which are scheduled for this weekend.

News of the break-in spread rapidly as did an outpouring of support. Wolcott displayed a message about the burglary on her theater’s reader board and on her Web site, and other Islanders — particularly those involved in film — spread the word via e-mail.

Karen du four des Champs, in an e-mail to Wolcott, said she sent out a message that went to 875 Islanders. She also put it on an Islandwide listserve.

“Praying that the perps get caught and you get your equipment and cash back soon!!!” du four des Champs wrote her. “Vashon will come out in support.”

Wolcott said the outpouring has meant a great deal to her. She also hopes it will help lead to an arrest.

“It’s at these kinds of times that you know Vashon is a wonderful place,” she said.

Wolcott has also issued a reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators: A year’s worth of tickets to her movie house.

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