Grinch Steels Toys

By: Roxanna Haynes Email
By: Roxanna Haynes Email

All and all, coordinators say the bandits stole more than 300 toys from the Toys for Tots boxes around the area, mostly in large retail stores.

Bells are ringing and Christmas cheer is spreading, but things weren't all that cheerful at the Wal-Mart on Inner Perimeter Road.

A greeter here says he saw people taking donated toys.

John Gates, Toys for Tots Valdosta coordinator, said, "Of course, merchants can't watch their boxes 24/7. I really hope that they really needed the toys."

The greeter and the Toys for Tots coordinator reported the theft to store owners, but nobody filed a police report. Toys for Tots organizers say they're willing to forgive the thieves.

Gates said, "The only thing we ask is that next year come back and do the process of the application. Once you do the application and you're qualified, you will receive your toys for your children.”

Organizers say the community responded with an outpouring of donations after word of the Grinch got around. Store managers say they will beef up security.

Walter Vickers, Harvey's store manager, said, "Of course upset. That should make anyone upset and we've done very well of course and our store because we police every sale."

Despite it all, Toys for Tots gave out more than 2,000 toys just in time for Christmas.

Gates added, "Knowing that these kids are going to have a Christmas makes my Christmas 100-percent better.”

Toys for Tots coordinators and volunteers say this all came as a huge surprise to them because this is the first time they've had toys stolen.


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