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Police arrest second suspect in Salvation Army thefts

Major John Murray of the Salvation Army attends a news conference at their Railside Road food and toy distribution centre in Toronto on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, after discussing the alleged theft of several million dollars worth of items.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Police in Toronto have made another arrest in a massive theft of toys that rocked the Salvation Army.

More than $2-million worth of toys and other gifts were stolen and the former executive director for the group's main warehouse was arrested on Monday.

On Thursday, one day after investigators exercised search warrants and recovered 26 skids of material, police confirmed that they had arrested a second man. Umaish Ramrattan, 61, of the suburban Toronto city of Ajax, faces 40 theft-related charges.

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Toronto Police Service spokesman Constable Victor Kwong said the suspect, who was arrested Wednesday evening, would be in court Jan. 4.

Mr. Ramrattan is an associate of the company Northern Sales Group, which police say was involved in the misappropriation of the goods, whose value exceeded $2-million.

The bulk of the missing items were discovered last week at two other warehouses, in Brampton and North York.

The first person arrested, 51-year-old David Rennie, had been under suspension since September, when a whistleblower with the charity alerted the organization to a possible problem. An audit was ordered and Mr. Rennie was fired by the Salvation Army last week after it was discovered that over a period of roughly two years, the toys had vanished from - or never reached - the east-end warehouse he supervised.

Released on his own recognizance Monday afternoon, Mr. Rennie is to appear in court the same day as Mr. Ramrattan.

Constable Kwong said that police are categorizing the enormous amount of goods seized. If the courts accept that photographic evidence will be sufficient the material could be returned to the Salvation Army in time to be distributed this Christmas.

The Salvation Army released a statement  commending the police for its "co-operation and continuing dedication" in the investigation, adding that it had never had any dealings with Mr. Ramrattan.

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"We have not had a business or personal relationship of any kind with the second individual arrested or his company,"  spokesman Major John Murray said.

"We  are well on our way to helping to make this Christmas a special time for thousands of families, something which would not have been possible without the police and the generosity of many businesses and people in our communities."

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About the Authors

Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More

At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

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