North Sound News

'Constant burglaries' are major setbacks for charity-based Monroe bargain outlet

MONROE, Wash. — The owners of a Monroe outlet store offering discounted overstock and refurbished items say they're struggling to keep up with the costs of five break-in burglaries in 10 months.

"I think they're just trying to grab stuff and go and get out, not realizing the impact they have to other people, said Josh Gibson, a co-owner who helps bargain and treasure hunters find new treasures at Monroe's Bargain Barn--from LED monitors to baby items - to food, said seniors on fixed incomes and young mothers rely on the outlet for reliably affordable items.

"The other day we sold a double stroller for $60," he said. "The same product online was $160."

And Gibson said a portion of the cash the faith-based organization gets is given away to area charities.

"The real reason the Bargain Barn exists at the end of the day is to give generously locally and internationally," he said, adding that his organization helps charities with money and often even merchandise.

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The burglaries have all been caught on store surveillance, but the cameras have not deterred thieves from targeting the little store. Gibson said the costs from loss and damage threw the entire benevolent business model into doubt.

"When someone broke our door, that's a thousand dollars," he said. "That's a thousand dollars we can't give back out.''

The Bargain Barn Outlet's owners covered every corner in cameras and bought new locks and alarms.

Recently, thieves were seen on camera breaking into the store's empty delivery trucks.

"I think it's just human depravity in all honesty," Gibson said, adding that the store would consider helping people who approached them in need.

The owners now hope the thieves caught on surveillance are brought to justice because they say the break-ins make the outlet unsustainable.

"We help causes, be it food banks, women's shelters, orphanages, that's what we exist for," he said.

Monroe police are investigating all five of the burglaries, and say they are open to tips regarding the identities of the suspects.