Thieves steal toys from charity

by The Canadian Press

TORONTO, Ontario—The Salvation Army says it will still get toys to needy children this Christmas despite the alleged theft of about 100,000 toys and other donations from a Toronto facility.

A spokesman for the charity says a whistle-blower alerted the charity to “irregularities” at the Railside Road warehouse and distribution centre a few months ago.

John Murray says the organization immediately got its auditors involved and soon realized it had been victimized by what he called an “intentional” and “targeted” scheme that went on for about two years.

Murray says the alleged theft and fraud likely involves up to several million dollars, including $2 million worth of toys, but the charity expects to recover most of the losses through insurance.

He says the charity is working with police and outside experts to deal with the case and appealed to people not to lose confidence in the charity and its work helping the needy.

Murray confirmed that the charity’s executive director David Rennie had been terminated but referred any further questions to police.

“It’s disheartening to be a victim of a crime,” Murray said, adding that when people steal from the Salvation Army, they are actually stealing from the people the charity helps.

News of the alleged Toronto theft comes just days after an executive director at the Salvation Army in Ottawa was fired amid concerns over missing money.

The Salvation Army is preparing to start its annual Christmas Kettle Campaign, where volunteers solicit donations in high-traffic areas like shopping malls and on the street.