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Toronto police find truckloads of toys, donations allegedly stolen from Salvation Army

A woman walks through the Salvation Army's Railside Road food and toy distribution centre in Toronto on Wednesday, November 21, 2012.


Toronto police have recovered a massive cache of toys and donated goods they say were stolen from a Salvation Army warehouse.

Police say they had to use three tractor-trailers to haul the items, which were found Friday when officers searched a commercial warehouse in Brampton, northwest of the city.

They say they discovered 146 skids stacked with items including toys, baby cribs, strollers and food.

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Police say the donations were "diverted" from the Salvation Army and being sold for profit.

It's alleged up to 100,000 items worth some $2-million were stolen from the charity's facility in north-end Toronto over nearly two years.

Police say they will return the goods once they have finished taking an inventory.

More information is expected to be released Monday.

Police have been investigating since September but have not made any arrests.

Salvation Army spokesman John Murray said 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.

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Mr. Murray said the charity believes its Toronto warehouse was the only location targeted by the alleged theft.

He said 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 that 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," he said.

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