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Thieves grab €10k clothes haul from charity volunteer

A FASHION collection worth around €10,000 was stolen just days before a charity event in Dublin.

A van filled with Christian Louboutin shoes, Prada, Calvin Klein and Gucci clothing was taken from a car park at the back of a venue for fundraising.

Aoife Keogh has been organising several 'Swap Style' events for the hospice in locations around Dublin.

The Coolmine woman said that the concept was "recession-proof shopping" for customers -- all combined with goodwill.

"We were only starting to get on our feet. Then two days before the last event, it was all gone," Aoife told the Herald.

"It was originally set up as a business, but when I took over it was all charity. I don't have the finances to start again.

"We had an event in Clonee. I hadn't someone to bring me back up to collect the van until the next day and we went out to celebrate afterwards for a few drinks," she explained.

"When we came up the next day, it was gone. There is absolutely no sign of it.

"They knew what was going on and they must have been watching us. I was devastated."

Aoife said that apart from the €10,000 worth of clothing and shoes inside the van, there was equipment and the van costs to contend with.

And the hospice in Blanchardstown is missing out on the fundraising.

"The van belongs to a friend of mine, he is a carpenter," she said. "He's on his way back from Australia and he has no van."

The idea of the 'Swap Style' event is that individuals brought together their old designer and boutique clothes and swap for those of a similar quality.

"You clear out your wardrobe, pay €10 to charity and shop for free," she said.

"We rent out a function room, and charge €10 on the door.

"It has to be of the highest quality and standard. It is graded gold, pink and blue -- related to couture, boutique and high street. There are no price tags on anything but you could offer to exchange for a charitable donation.

"A lady walked out of here with a Karen Millen evening dress for €25 after she donated another dress."

But single mum Aoife is not confident that she will be able to relaunch the event unless the clothing and equipment is returned.

Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of the van is asked to contact gardai at Blanchardstown station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.