Toronto police say they’ll provide more details Monday about a huge seizure of toys and other donations they say were stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse.
Investigators say three tractor-trailers were needed to haul away the items recovered Friday from a commercial warehouse in nearby Brampton. Police say the donations were “diverted” from the charity and being sold for profit. It’s alleged up to 100,000 items worth some $2-million were stolen from the Salvation Army’s facility in north-end Toronto over nearly two years.
The charity says it doesn’t expect the goods back any time soon, since it’s likely they’ll be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. Police haven’t said what percentage of the allegedly stolen items have been found.
Salvation Army spokesman John Murray told reporters Wednesday that a whistleblower tipped off the organization a few months ago, sparking an internal audit that made the “troubling” discovery.
That probe lead to the firing of executive director David Rennie. No criminal charges have been laid. Police have been investigating since September but have not made any arrests. Mr. Murray said the charity believes its Toronto warehouse was the only location targeted by the alleged theft. He added the Toronto depot had video surveillance but that auditor KPMG has been retained to see if anything more can be done.
The discovery came as the Salvation Army starts its annual Christmas Kettle donation campaign.
Mr. Murray said about 140,000 toys are distributed to families each holiday season from the Toronto warehouse, but that no one will go without.
“I can assure you that anyone in need this Christmas will be helped by the Salvation Army.”