Thieves posing as volunteers steal thousands of dollars in donated toys from Toys for Tots
Authorities in Akron, Ohio, are investigating after two thieves posing as volunteers stole thousands of dollars in toys from a local Toys for Tots collection warehouse on Monday night.
Traci Higgenbottom-Williams, who has directed the Toys for Tots' Akron program for over 20 years, told WJW that the thieves, believed to be a man and a woman, signed up to help sort through donated toys and prepare them for distribution, a task normally handled by a small staff.
However, instead of lending a helping hand as promised, the pair rounded up what Williams estimated to be $5,000 worth of toys and shuffled them out the warehouse's back door in clear sight of surveillance cameras.
The director says she is heartbroken over the theft but still hopes to provide gifts to as many needy children as possible.
“It tears me up. Because this process just doesn’t start in December," Williams told WJW. "I start in January to make sure the kids get the best. I don’t give them anything I wouldn’t give my kids when they were small. So when you take from them, it hurts me. Makes me angry."
Staff Sgt. Phillip Greer, the coordinator of the Akron Toys for Tots program, took to the charity's Facebook page on Wednesday morning to thank local authorities and provide an update for donors.
"In response to last night's news regarding the theft of toys from our warehouse, the dedicated men and women of the Akron Police Department is handling the legal aspects of those involved with the theft," he wrote. "Your Marines are out to collect toys as we speak in order to ensure that no child is left with out (sic) a Christmas this year."
To donate to the Akron Toys for Tots program, click here.