Thousands of Toys for Tots Gifts For Children in Need Reportedly Stolen by Men Who Posed as Volunteers

A group of thieves that signed up as Toys for Tots volunteers in Akron, Ohio, were accused of stealing thousands of gifts meant for children.

"Right now, we have over 15,000 children in Summit County and the surrounding areas. It means a lot, for some of the kids, this is all they have," Toys for Tots director Traci Higgenbottom-Williams told WJW.

Williams said that the organization opened itself up to volunteers for the first time this year. "This is our first year we opened it up to volunteers; usually we have a small staff that does this. Around 10:40 at night, I noticed some things were gone that shouldn't have been gone," she said.

Toys
Thousands of gifts meant for children this holiday season were stolen from an Ohio Toys for Tots organization. The alleged thieves posed as volunteers before stealing the toys. Scott Olson/Getty Images

A toy drive was held on Monday, according to the Springfield News Sun. Surveillance cameras caught a group of male volunteers stealing bags and boxes filled with toys and taking the stolen toys out the back door of the First Faith Development Corporation, WJW reported.

Two people were filmed inside the building and two cars sitting outside.

The theft made Williams tear up, she told the station. "Because this process just doesn't start in December. 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," she said. "So when you take from them, it hurts me. Makes me angry."

Williams estimated the loss to hit $5,000, she told WJW. Donations can be made to the Summit County Toys for Tots here.

A similar incident occurred in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Residents of Bridgeport rallied to replace toys stolen on December 1 from the storage bins located behind Greater Bridgeport Christian Fellowship. Toys for Toys in Bridgeport estimated the loss was about $80,000.

"Re-raising the funds is going pretty good," organization co-director Jerry Martinez told the CTPost. "We got a lot of community support. A lot [of] individuals are donating using Amazon and Walmart."

Martinez said the organization will know by December 15 how many families it will be able to service. If more families are in need after that date, the organization will continue to raise more and do another toy distribution on December 22.

Toys for Tots in Bridgeport services approximately 1,600 families. Donations for the Bridgeport Toys for Tots can be made online.

Thousands of Toys for Tots Gifts For Children in Need Reportedly Stolen by Men Who Posed as Volunteers | U.S.