South by Southwest is in full swing, which means that Sixth Street is clogged with bodies at such previously innocent and innocuous times as 11:00am. If you walk past The Thirsty Nickel and don’t hear “when I say Mary, you say Jane” erupting from the speakers, then clearly you’re not doing it right. Unfortunately, the influx of humans also means an increase in crime. On Tuesday night, SpareFoot’s COO and Co-Founder Mario Feghali returned to his car to find that it had been broken into, and that he had been robbed of some truly prized possessions.

Here’s the backstory: thanks to SXSW, Chuck and Mario have been relatively homeless, having rented out their apartment for the week. As a tradition they have since dubbed “Host Chario,” our co-founders have been wandering around like nomads and soliciting room and board from various SpareFeet who have kindly opened their homes (watch out for the Host Chario blog and video series coming soon!).

Another tidbit: for those of you who don’t know, Mario is known throughout the office as a sweater connoisseur–his wardrobe seems to consist solely of sweaters ranging from grandiose to questionable, but remains impressive nonetheless. Which is why, upon learning of the gross robbery he suffered, the entire SpareFoot office only had one pressing question: “What of the sweaters?!”

Mario (second from right) clearly shines in his exceptional multi-color sweater.
Mario (second from right) clearly shines in his exceptional multi-color sweater.

Mario was kind enough to pull away from his busy, sweaterless day to talk to me about the heartbreak he suffered on Tuesday evening. In his own words:

“I had to pack for 10 days because of Host Chario. I’m not sure if everyone does this, but you have a set of clothes you always wear and the clothes you never wear, which are the clothes you want to get rid of–now the ones I’m currently wearing. My daily wardrobe consists of a pair of jeans, brown shoes, and a sweater. I don’t think that changes in the months from October until about April.”

“For this 10-day period, I packed 80 percent of the clothes that I like and put them in my car. I parked in my normal spot like any normal day at around 8:30 in the morning. Since my trunk was full, I put my luggage in the back of the car, which happens to be a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer with a broken window. But no one knows it’s a broken window–it’s hidden discreetly by tape.”

“I’ve been parking in the same lot since 2009 and I’ve left a lot of things in that car in worse times, unintentionally. Sometimes, for example, you end up sleeping in the office and it’s convenient.”

“So I come to work, I leave, and my suitcase is no longer in my car–and my GPS is gone too. It was funny in a way, because a couple of weeks ago, I told Chuck that I have nothing valuable in my car except my GPS and that I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been stolen yet….”

“It was my first time,” he finished despondently.

Mario (bottom right) models the latest in casual holiday-sweater fashion. The holiday season was a particularly great time for his sweater collection. Mileage!

Let it be a lesson learned: world at large, never leave your valuables (in this case, your sweaters) in your car in plain sight. And certainly don’t leave it in a car that doesn’t have a real window. Otherwise, you may find yourself much in the same position as our sweaterless Mario.

“They were a really great selection of my uncle Joe’s sweaters. He kindly donates to me a lot of his clothes during Christmas, and a really good part of my wardrobe is his. It’s some really nice stuff–world-class. They’re very breathable–whoever has them is lucky.”

“I’ll miss those things. I packed four sweaters at most, which is a lot for 10 days in Texas. I can’t even go back to my apartment, so I don’t know. I lost my running shoes and my brown shoes. I lost a pair of white shoes. I would hope that someone returns them, because they have sentimental value to me.”

One good thing has come out of this, however. Despite being a few thread counts short, Mario has optimistic views for the future of his wardrobe.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I can either be really upset about this or not,’ and I chose the latter. There’s someone out there who’s really lucky. I’m thinking about donating the rest of my clothes and starting fresh.”

As long as you don’t come in to work dressed like Redfoo, we’ll still love you Mario.

Operation Bill Cosby: Sweater Reclamation

Do you have an old sweater you would like to donate to Mario? He wears a medium or large. Please send your extra threads to:

720 Brazos St
Suite 300
Austin, TX 78701

And if you happen to see any suspiciously smug person walking around in a breathable, world-class sweater, make sure you let us know.