UPDATE: Abbotsford police have arrested a suspect in relation to the poppy box theft in November of last year. Thirty-year-old Mission resident Lisa Marie Goddard was charged with five counts of Theft.
Abbotsford police say they’re confident they’ve identified a female suspect who made off with $3,000 in poppy donation funds.
Cst. Paul Walker from the Abbotsford police is calling the crime heartless.
“It affects the veterans and what they do, they’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice and its come to this.” says Cst. Walker.
The thief posed as a volunteer of the Royal Canadian Legion and claimed to be picking up the poppy campaign boxes on behalf of the Legion.
The stores affected believed that she was from the Legion.
The Abbotsford Royal Canadian Legion only found out when they went to do their pickups and discovered that the boxes had already been picked up.
Geoffrey Hosking, acting President of the Abbotsford Royal Canadian Legion, says he’s devastated by the the cruel theft.
“It’s bad, it’s an honest campaign. And it’s for goodness. As far as I’m concerned the stealing is taking away from the people of Abbotsford that would normally go to the veterans for their needs.”
Money collected from the poppy donations goes directly into a special account for veterans.
Joanne Henderson, the Poppy Fund Coordinater of the Royal Canadian legion, says the money is “desperately needed for the young men and women returning home from Afghanistan.”
She says that a lot of the donation money goes to programs to help victims of post traumatic stress disorder to transition back into civilian society.
Hosking wants to ramp up security for picking up the boxes.
He wants an identification protocol in place for people picking up the boxes to prevent a crime like this from happening again.