Theft of wigs for kids who have cancer is “heartbreaking” says shop manager

Amy Smart - The Canadian Press

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The manager of a Vancouver store where wigs intended for kids with cancer were stolen says it’s been heartbreaking to call their families and break the news.

Frances Rae, manager of Eva and Company Wigs, says all of the families have been understanding and one six-year-old girl wrote a letter to shop’s staff saying she wasn’t worried about her wig but wanted to make sure the employees were OK.

vancouver wigs kids cancer theft
Frances Rae, manager of Eva and Company Wigs, works at the store where a collection of wigs worth more than $350,000 that were intended for cancer patients at B.C. Childrens’ Hospital were stolen, in Vancouver, on Wednesday September 12, 2018. Police say at least 150 wigs worth approximately $2,500 each were taken on Friday morning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Some of the kids had skipped the first week of school so they could start classes with their new hair, she said. Now they’ll have to wait six weeks to two months for new ones.

Police said at least 150 wigs worth about $2,500 each were taken from the store early Friday morning. Among those, about 15 had been prepared for patients at BC Children’s Hospital, including kids with cancer and other medical conditions that involve hair loss like alopecia, Rae said.

The wigs for sick children are made with donated virgin hair, which means it hasn’t been dyed.

When the kids come in, staff measure their heads and look through pictures with them, so they can choose the colour, density and texture that they like. Then they find donated hair from about a dozen ponytails that fit the bill to construct the wigs.

It’s always a good feeling to call a child and say the wig is ready, Rae said.

“You know you can just see that look on someone’s face when it goes from sadness, because you know they have a tube out of their neck and a tube up their nose and they’ve got no hair,” Rae said. “And then when you put a wig on their head they just smile.”

Rae said the thief or thieves broke in through the business next door, which she said is under renovation.

“They broke into that then took a crowbar and just smashed through the wall and came into our place,” she said.

Police say they are looking for a man with long curly black hair, who was last seen walking away from the store carrying a large black garbage bag and wearing a denim or blue jacket.

Sgt. Jason Robillard said police need people to come forward with information and that it’s possible someone is in possession of one or more of the wigs without knowing they were stolen or intended for sick children.

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