LINDEN, N.J. (WABC) --A New Jersey woman just trying to help others ended up being the victim of a thief, who swiped her car when she stopped to donate clothes in Linden.
Lacy was doing a good deed Monday night, as she dropped off clothes at a drop box for the poor in Linden. It never occurred to her how dangerous that might be.
It didn't occur to Karina Penkala, either.
"I'm disgusted. Disgusted. I don't feel as safe anymore. It makes me think twice," Penkala said.
Penkala and her mother-in-law came by to drop off a couple of bags of clothes on Friday, and left the car running when they went to get the bags.
"We stopped right by the box, came out of the car, took out a bag. I turned around, the guy jumped in my car and drives away," Penkala said.
Karina didn't see anyone there when she got out of the car, which means the person was hiding, must have noticed that people leave their cars running when they drop off clothes, and seen that as an a opportunity.
Karina's car was stolen, her purse was in the car and so was her phone. Karina and her family have only been in Linden for a few months. They moved from Queens, for the reason you'd guess.
"For a better life, a safer life. We bought a house and finally we're like, life is looking up, I got a new job and it was great," said Penkala.
The car is a gray Audi A4 Avant, license plate #P47DZZ. Karina hopes maybe you'll keep an eye out for it and call police if you see it.
She says she didn't think what she was doing was dangerous, and neither did Lacy Monday.
"You wouldn't think that anyone would do that while you are trying to help other people," said Lacy, a clothing donor.
Police describe the suspect as a dark-skinned male about 30 years old and 5'10", wearing a long white-sleeved shirt and a black vest, similar to a "waiter's attire".
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Linden Police Detective Bureau at 908-474-8537.