Suspect charged after multiple poppy box thefts in Calgary

Click to play video: '3 Calgary stores damaged during poppy box thefts'
3 Calgary stores damaged during poppy box thefts
WATCH: Three Calgary businesses were damaged early Saturday morning as poppy boxes were stolen. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, one shop manager says it has come to the point where having a donation box is just plain risky – Nov 9, 2019

A person has been charged with committing “multiple thefts” after several poppy donation boxes were stolen from stores across Calgary in recent days.

According to police, there had been 28 poppy box thefts as of Monday, including three on Remembrance Day proper.

Police didn’t say how many of the thefts the person was charged in relation to.

Shattered glass and a smashed door greeted customers who walked into Global Pet Foods on Northmount Drive in northwest Calgary on Saturday morning.

“At first, I was quite terrified because this is our livelihood,” said store manager Brittany Leeder.

“This is our family business. That keeps all of us going and our employees going too. I felt a pit in my stomach when we got the call this morning. Nine years of business and we’ve never had something like this happen.”

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Surveillance video shows a person grabbing the donation box on Saturday at 2:20 a.m.

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Leeder said the thief used a rock to smash the glass door. The poppy donation box was the only item stolen.

“I don’t get it. To break into a business and tear down their door just to take donation money. And to boot — yes you’re breaking into a business but you are stealing donation money from veterans,” Leeder said.

The business next to Global Pet Foods was hit overnight too. The window at Hounds Like Fun was broken with a rock and a donation box was swiped.

Police said there was another poppy box theft reported early Saturday morning from The Top Dog Store at 5010 4 Street N.E. On Saturday afternoon, a piece of plywood was covering a broken window at the store.

Staff who work in the strip mall on Northmount Drive just off 14 Street said they’ve noticed an increase in the number of people looking for cash.

“There’s a man who used to live in the dumpster in the back, and there [are] people who roam around in the parking lot, haggling change from everybody. It’s tough,” said Lindsay Lagimodiere, who has worked at Global Pet Foods Cambrian for three years.
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“There’s a lot more suspicious characters around here. It’s sad that people would go to this level to hurt our veterans.”

Leeder said it’s crazy that it’s come to the point where having a poppy donation box can be hazardous to a business, but she’s not backing down and plans to keep a donation box at the store.

“I think it’s risky. Why is it like that? [The] fact of the matter is, next year if this happens again, at least we tried to raise money for the veterans. Our door can be broken down every single year. Go for it. It’s not going to stop us from raising money,” Leeder said.

Police are now looking at the surveillance video from Global Pet Foods Cambrian.

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