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Veterans Association "Overwhelmed" by Response to Poppy Box Thefts

11/10/2011

AM980 News: The senseless actions of one poppy thief in London have unleashed an outpouring of support and donations.

AM980 was first to report the theft of 10 poppy donation boxes at the Canadian Corps Veterans Association Building on Dundas St.

Less than 24 hours after the story aired, officials with the veterans group say they've received a total of nearly $10,000 in donations from companies and individuals.

"The first donation to come in was from Sifton Properties, they have sent us $1,000." said Ken Maudsley, President of the Canadian Corps Veterans Association in London.

"TriCar is sending us $2,000. The outpouring is pretty good, I don't know what else to say, I'm kind of overwhelmed. The phone has been ringing off the hook. Advanced Security is going to put in a camera system, and teach us how to use it free of charge. I'm just overwhelmed with the response we've had."

It's believed the theft of 10 poppy boxes from the association's building contained between $500-$1,000 total.

Donations are still coming in. If you're interested in making a contribution, you can do so in person at the office on Dundas St East near Kellog Lane.

If you're in the downtown area on Friday morning, AM980 and Corus Radio London will be hosting a "poppy drive thru." All donations collected will go to support the local Veterans Association. More than 3,000 poppies will be available for sale outside between 6AM and 9:30AM at the corner of Wellington and King.

Police still have no new leads in the case.

The suspect or suspects broke through the Canadian Corps Veterans Association's office window on Sunday night and stole the boxes.

"I was in shock to think that someone could do this to our Veterans," said Sherry Cornish, the First Vice of the Canadian Corps.  "To me this is really disgusting."

Cornish says the Veterans, their sons and daughters, husbands and wives as well as volunteers had collected the money at Oxbury Mall.  At this point, it's not clear how much money was actually stolen.

"It's very hard to estimate," said Poppy chairman Brian Hobbs.

London police were contacted but could not get finger prints because the suspect or suspects had on gloves.

"I just hope that they realize what they've done," said Cornish.  "Maybe they've woken up in the last few days and have some remorse for what they've done."

This was the latest in a rash of poppy box thefts across the province.

In Hamilton, police say they have arrested a suspect in the thefts of four poppy donation boxes from Tim Hortons stores.  A 33 year-old Hamilton man faces charges including four counts of theft and is to appear in court Thursday morning.

In Trenton, a man and a woman face charges after money was stolen from two poppy donation boxes at a restaurant. In North Bay, a 31-year-old man has been charged after thefts from convenience stores and a hotel.

And a 26-year-old Toronto man charged in two poppy box thefts has been released on bail and is back in court Dec. 7.