The manager of a Vancouver store where wigs intended for children with cancer were stolen says it has been heartbreaking to call their families and break the news.
Frances Rae, manager of Eva and Company Wigs, said the families have been understanding, and one six-year-old girl wrote a letter to shop staff saying she wasn't worried about her wig, but wanted to make sure the employees were OK.
Some of the children had skipped the first week of school so they could start classes with their new hair, she said. Now they 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. About 15 of those had been prepared for BC Children's Hospital patients, including children with cancer and other medical conditions, such as alopecia, that involve hair loss, Rae said.
The wigs for sick children are made with donated virgin hair, which means it hasn't been dyed.
When the children come in, staff measure their heads and look through pictures with them, so they can choose the colour, density and texture 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. 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 that's under renovation.
"They broke into that, then took a crowbar and just smashed through the wall and came into our place,'' she said.
Police 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 it's possible someone is in possession of one or more of the wigs without knowing they were stolen or intended for sick children.