VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A woman is facing two felony counts for allegedly stealing items that were set outside of a charitable thrift store.
“It’s incomprehensible,” said Lisa Engelhardt, who owns JCOC Community Thrift with her husband, Jason.
Over the weekend, the couple left several donated items outside of the South Plaza Trail store. When Jason returned to work Monday, he noticed that a large couch was missing. He quickly reviewed the store’s surveillance footage.
Caught on camera, a woman is seen walking from the side of the building to the front, where she appears to look over the store’s items around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. She then walks off and a white pickup truck is seen driving away. About a half hour later, the truck returns, parking in front of the store.
A man and woman get out, and load a large couch into the truck’s bed. The pair drives off and returns yet again around 4:20 a.m. This time, they are seen take a love seat and a book shelf.
Jason said he felt “angry, violated… You know, we put our blood, sweat and tears into this.”
“Every day, six days a week, for little to no pay,” Lisa added. “We’re doing this to give back to our community.”
Determined to track the pair down, Lisa posted the surveillance images on social media.
“Everybody was sharing, sharing, sharing.”
She said that tips poured in, including one that sent her checking out a home on Thalia Road.
“The couches were sitting right there in the front lawn,” she said.
Lisa quickly called police.
Officers arrived and ultimately arrested 51-year-old Loretta Cantal. She was charged with two counts of grand larceny and released from custody.
On Wednesday, 10 On Your Side also went to the Thalia Road property. The couch was still in the yard and several items were in a driveway.
A woman at the home stated she was a friend of Cantal’s, and that the defendant was not home.
When asked where the outdoor items had come from, the woman stated “she buys things.”
Court records show this isn’t the first time Cantal’s faced charges. She was found guilty of shoplifting in 2008 and and petit larceny in both 2011 and 2012.
Meanwhile, Lisa opted not to take the snatched couches back. They appeared ruined from the rain. She said the store could have made roughly $500 on all of the items that were taken.
“That’s money that could go to charity or help something that needed it,” Lisa said.
“It was donated for a reason,” Jason added. “It was donated for a cause. It wasn’t to help her.”
Cantal is due in court Aug. 11. At last check, the man seen in the surveillance video had not been charged.