Shoplifters Hit Nonprofit

Shoplifters take off with designer duds and hurt a local nonprofit in one swoop.

Two women pretended to browse the retail arm of Career Wardrobe - an organization that helps Philadelphia women seeking work with clothing and job skills - around 5:30 p.m. Friday, according to store employees.

"The ladies came through the door," said Kimberly Cottman, sales associate at the store located on the 1800 block of Spring Garden Street. "They act like regular shoppers. ...Trying on clothing, trying on pocketbooks."

But it was all a ruse.

The suspects grabbed a Gucci handbag, two pocketbooks and a wallet from Louis Vutton, and two Burberry jackets - even pulling one off a mannequin, according to reports.

In total the items account for nearly $2,000 for the nonprofit.

"That's almost a week's worth of our take here," said Sheri Cole, Career Wardrobe's executive director, who added that amount of money could have helped 20 women get back on their feet.

The store receives the luxury goods through donations and then sells them to pay for educational programs.

"The real sad part about it is any woman that would come in even our doors here and say they need something," Cole said, "We would figure out a way to help them."

Career Wardrobe, which began serving the area in 1995, has helped nearly 75,000 women obtain employment, according to the nonprofit's website.

Police say the two female suspects, who appear to be in their early 20s, fled in a white vehicle.

During the robbery, one of the women was wearing a red jacket and white pants, while the other had on a blue jacket and purple scarf.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the suspects or the incident to contact the Philadelphia Police Department.

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