Thieves break into Everett day center for homeless women

VIDEO: Thieves break into Everett day center for homeless women

EVERETT, Wash. — An Everett day center that helps hundreds of homeless women and children a month was targeted by thieves over the weekend.

"Very devastated," Esther's Place founder Judy Hoff said, "and devastated for the women we serve."

Hoff showed KIRO 7 how burglars threw a rock through the window, shattering it.

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She said they damaged the inside of the center, which is around the back of Everett's First Presbyterian Church. Hoff said they even went to the bathroom on the day center's floors.

"It was like an outhouse on our carpets," she said.

Hoff said many items were stolen, including DVDs, CDs, a recent donation of sweatshirts, and other clothing. Other items were simply destroyed.

“They even got inside of our refrigerator and tore food out of the freezer,” Hoff said.

On Wednesday, volunteers spent the day packaging up what they had and sanitizing items they could save. While the center’s common spaces aren’t open due to social distancing, they continue to hand out food and hygiene products.

“We offer them breakfast and lunch and resources to connect them to the community and society,” Hoff said. “We give them a safe place of hope.”

It's a place even more crucial now in the time of coronavirus.

“We have more clients now than ever before,” Hoff said. “There are greater needs for them because other places are not open.”

Nancy Zarnicki, who uses the center, said the volunteers truly care.

“For somebody to break in like this-- it's really, really sad,” she said. “A lot of us gals depend on being able to come here.”

Hoff estimates the damage, including the ruined carpeting and some ruined upholstered chairs, is upwards of ten thousand dollars. But she’s determined the thieves won’t get in the way of volunteers carrying out their mission.

“Who knows why anybody would do that?” Hoff asked. “It’s not logical at all. Because what we do is give free food to the homeless and a place for people to grow and change their lives.”