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Granny's Attic suffers break-in, loses valuable items
Thieves made off with collectibles, antiques and technology worth thousands of dollars on Thursday night, when a basement storage area used by Granny's Attic was robbed.
It was the third commercial burglary on Vashon in the past month, following a major robbery at Vashon Theatre on Nov. 22 and the theft of a cashbox from Wet Whiskers earlier that week.
The items stolen on Thursday — including costume jewelry, military memorabilia, a saddle and a laptop computer — were taken when a home on the Sunrise Ridge complex was ransacked. The basement of the house was where Granny's ran an eBay sales business, putting desirable items online to reach a larger customer base.
Unknown suspects kicked in the front door of the home; apparently after finding its upstairs vacant, they smashed the glass of a basement door to gain access to the trove of collectibles.
King County Sheriff's Deputy Russell Patterson dusted the doorknob for prints Friday morning, but found none.
"They must have been wearing gloves," he said.
The burglary was Granny's first major loss due to theft, said manager Richard Lipke. The nonprofit thrift store, which was created to support Vashon Health Center, was robbed of its cash registers about five years ago, but they had been emptied for the night, he said.
Granny's Attic's eBay sales division, which was pulling in about $1,000 each month for the store, "is shut down until further notice," Lipke said.
"We lost our computer. We lost our digital camera. We lost all the things we need to have to run that operation," Lipke said.
Staff plan to move the items still left in the eBay storage area to another secure location.
The home that was burglarized, near Granny's Attic on Vashon Highway, was recently vacated by its former tenants earlier this month. The robbery, less than two weeks later, came as a shock to Granny's Attic employee Nancy Westmore, who manages the thrift shop's thriving eBay sector.
"Stealing from Granny's, you're stealing from everybody in the community," she said.
Some items were stolen that had already been sold through eBay and were ready to ship, she said. She'll have to inform the winners of those online auctions that their items were stolen and are no longer available.
"This was our way to broaden our client base and further the mission of the organization," Westmore said. "This is tough, especially during Christmas time — it's a good time of year to make sales."
She said that Granny's Attic has been selling certain items through eBay for about a year. All the proceeds from items sold on eBay — and in the store — are donated to health organizations on the Island, including Vashon Health Center, located just up the hill from Granny's Attic at Sunrise Ridge.
"This is really discouraging, because it really affects our ability to donate to really good Island causes," said Donna Klemka, president of the Granny's Attic board.
Still, Westmore remained optimistic. She pointed to the outpouring of community support Vashon Theatre received after its burglary.
"Maybe something good will come of it. We'll just have to wait and see," she said.