The Abbotsford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is taking precautions to prevent the theft of poppy donation boxes from local businesses and organizations. (Abbotsford News file photo)

Abbotsford legion takes precautions to avoid theft of poppy funds

Members who pick up donation boxes will be in uniform or wearing membership card

The Abbotsford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is taking precautions to prevent the theft of poppy donation boxes this year.

The branch says that any legion member who is picking up poppy funds will be in a legion uniform and/or will be wearing their legion card in a clear plastic container around their neck.

Some might also be sporting a red “volunteer” ribbon with the legion logo on it, the branch says.

These steps have been taken to prevent thieves from posing as legion members and picking up the boxes from businesses and organizations that have agreed to host poppy sales.

The public is asked to place a donation into the box in exchange for a poppy pin.

The boxes have been subject to theft in previous years, including in Abbotsford in 2013, when a woman posed as a legion volunteer and collected them from several businesses.

Lisa Marie Goddard of Mission later pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and received a four-month jail sentence, which was lumped in with the six months she had already service on previous theft charges.

The Abbotsford branch changed its protocols at that time, and continues to follow them.

This year’s poppy campaign begins on Friday and runs until Nov. 11.

Funds raised from the campaign support veterans with costs such as hearing aids and eyeglasses. They also provide bursaries for family members and help support local army and air cadets.

The money raised in Abbotsford stays in the community.

RELATED: Female thief steals poppy funds from Abbotsford legion

RELATED: 5 poppy donation boxes stolen in B.C. city, RCMP investigating

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