Female thief steals poppy funds from Abbotsford legion

Poses as legion volunteer picking up donation boxes.

Members of the Abbotsford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion display the types of donation boxes that were stolen from local businesses. From left are volunteer driver Francis Gallant

Members of the Abbotsford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion display the types of donation boxes that were stolen from local businesses. From left are volunteer driver Francis Gallant

Members of the Abbotsford branch of the Royal Canadian Legion were appalled this week to discover that a woman posing as a legion volunteer made off with up to $3,000 in funds from the recent poppy campaign.

The legion first made the discovery on Tuesday, when volunteer drivers who arrived at local businesses to pick up poppy donation boxes were told the containers had already been collected.

The white plastic boxes contain poppies sold in recognition of Remembrance Day and include a slot for donations to be deposited. They were placed at businesses throughout the city, starting on Oct. 25.

Three legion volunteers began their pick-ups on Tuesday – the day after Remembrance Day – and discovered that five businesses had been hit over the weekend.

Staff at those locations all described the same scenario – a woman entering the business and claiming to be picking up the boxes on behalf of the legion.

By ThursdAlleged suspetay, the legion determined that another five boxes were missing, for a total of 10. The thefts occurred mainly along McCallum Road and Sumas Way at places such as gas stations and coffee shops.

Geoff Hosking, acting president of the Abbotsford legion, said the donations collected would have amounted to between $2,000 and $3,000. Last year, the campaign raised approximately $47,000 in Abbotsford.

Hosking said members were hurt by the theft.

“That money goes to a good cause … It’s like stealing from a church. What kind of people are these?” he said.

Abbotsford Police Const. Paul Walker confirmed Thursday that police are investigating the thefts at five businesses, although further details are still coming in, and more businesses could be involved.

“At this time, investigators are in the early stages of the investigation and are reviewing video from the various locations to obtain further information on the female suspect involved in these heartless thefts,” he said.

Images of the suspect – obtained from video footage at one of the businesses that was hit – have been circulating on social media.

Walker said Abbotsford Police, who did not release the images, have identified a suspect and are working with other jurisdictions that have had similar thefts, including Mission. The legion there has reported the theft of three poppy donation boxes, and the suspect in those cases was also a woman.

Hosking said the Abbotsford legion will be reviewing its procedures for the future handling of its poppy donation boxes, perhaps requiring all volunteers to carry photo ID identifying them as legion representatives.

Funds raised from the poppy campaign go into a fund to support veterans with costs such as hearing aids and eyeglasses. It also provides bursaries for their family members and helps support local army and air cadets.

The money raised in Abbotsford stays in the community.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225.

Donations to the poppy fund can be made at anytime through the Abbotsford legion, located at 2513 West Railway St. Phone 604-853-0569 for more details.

Just Posted

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read