EAST ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – A van, filled with items meant for charity, was stolen in front of an East St. Louis boutique.
It’s tough for Tina Ivory-Dixon to watch what her surveillance cameras captured early Sunday morning: a group of men walking up to her boutique, breaking into the gray Chrysler van parked out front, then a few minutes later, driving it away.
“Please don’t steal from me,” she begs, “we are the agency and boutique that gives back to the community.”
The name of Ivory-Dixon’s boutique is “Every Time You Buy,” because every time you buy something, a portion of the proceeds go to children in need. She explains, “They come and get a gift from us: hygiene items, soap, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste. We’ve given away hats, scarves, gloves, clothes, furniture.”
The goods in the van were meant for two Metro East families who lost everything in recent house fires. These victims should have had these items by now, but instead, the crate filled with clothes, shoes and hygiene items is gone. Meanwhile, the van was found, abandoned, on North 13th street, and taken to a tow yard.
According to East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore, there shouldn’t be a towing charge for victims of car theft. However, the towing company owner tells FOX 2 he still expects the van’s owner to pay, leaving Ivory-Dixon in the lurch. “I’m not going to be able to afford to get the van back,” she says.
Even if she’ll never see her van again, she still plans on helping these house fire victims, and everyone else she possibly can: “I have several girlfriends who are coming to make some more donations. We are going to pull together in this time of crisis and we’re going to get some more things for them. We won’t let this stop us.”
Right now the theft of this van, along with the items inside it, is being investigated by East St. Louis police.