Break-in frustrating for Rifle volunteer thrift shop |

Break-in frustrating for Rifle volunteer thrift shop

RIFLE, Colorado – Whatever clothes or other used items the person(s) who broke into the Rifle Thrift Shop last Friday night made off with, there’s a good chance they could have just gotten for free if they’d happened by during business hours.

“If it’s something they really needed, we would have given it to them,” said Julie Lewallen, a volunteer who helps out at the non-profit thrift store on Fourth Street in Rifle.

That’s part of what they do as a charitable organization, after all.

Lewallen said that someone busted through the dead-bolted front door at the store around 10 or 10:30 p.m. Aug. 7 and attempted to get into the antique cash register.

The register was empty, but was damaged in the process. Lewallen was uncertain if anything else was taken, since they don’t keep an inventory of the used items that are donated to the store to sell.

“It is frustrating, because it did cost us money to repair the door and the register is not something that can be fixed,” she said. “We’re just a small thrift shop with a big heart.”

Lewallen chalked it up to another sign of the ailing economy. Ironically, the thrift shop exists to help people in need, she said.

The shop has done well enough this year that it was able to give out six $1,500 scholarships to graduating high school seniors this past spring. It has also helped defray tuition for students seeking to get their GED at Colorado Mountain College, she said.

“We pay rent and have utilities on top of that, and none of us get paid,” Lewallen said.

The store also donates generously to other charitable organizations in the area that help the needy, such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, the Western Slope Food Bank and Feed My Sheep.

And, with school set to start back up next week, the store also assists with any school supply needs local families may have, she said.

Rifle Police could not be reached for comment on whether they have any leads in the case, or whether there were any other break-ins that night.

Lewallen said she is willing offer a reward out of her own pocket for any leads. She can be reached at 625-9939.

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