One week after thieves broke into a Vancouver shop and snatched more than 100 human-hair wigs – most intended for young cancer patients – police have managed to recover some of the stolen items.
Police said they received a tip about a bag of wigs in the hallway of a Downtown Eastside hotel on Thursday night.
Const. Jason Doucette said the tipster had seen media coverage of the theft and immediately recognized the stolen goods.
"They called 911 and our officers arrived and were able to identify them as 66 of the wigs that were stolen," Doucette told reporters Friday.
Police have yet to track down a suspect, however. And the manager of Eva and Company Wigs, the West Broadway shop that was targeted last week, said she's not sure the recovered wigs will even be usable.
"We have to see them and see if they were contaminated," Frances Ray said. "We're giving them to people with compromised immune (systems), so we have to be really careful."
Authorities are still on the lookout for almost 100 other top-quality wigs, which are valued at around $2,500 each. Eva and Company said all the wigs destined for patients at BC Children's Hospital were being donated, so the parents are not out any money.
And since the theft has been made public, the store has been inundated with donations.
Ray said a pair of bikers in leather jackets came to the store after closing Thursday to help out.
"They said we want to donate our hair, we just cut it off, so here you go," she said.
If the recovered wigs aren't useable, and if the others are never found, then replacing them will be a huge job. Each one takes up to 60 hours to make.
Police said the search for the remaining wigs is a priority, and they are continuing to hunt for the suspect, who was seen walking away from Eva and Company on the night of the theft.
"We have officers in the (Downtown Eastside) right now collecting evidence, trying to find out how the bag got there, who's responsible," Doucette said.
The suspect is described as a man with dark skin and long, curly, black hair. He was spotted wearing a denim or blue jacket and carrying a black garbage bag.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts, or on the location of the other wigs, is asked to call the Vancouver Police Department or Crime Stoppers.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos and Breanna Karstens-Smith