Salvation Army: Response to toy theft overwhelming


It's believed as many as 100,000 toys were stolen over an almost two-year period from the charity's Toronto warehouse.

The Salvation Army says it only learned of the thefts after a whistleblower came forward in August. Spokesman John Murray said Wednesday the response from people wanting to help replace the stolen toys has been overwhelming.

Harold Chizick, a spokesman for Toronto toy company Spin Master, says the company is donating more than $100,000 worth of toys to the Salvation Army.

The Toronto facility's executive director, David Rennie, has been fired. No criminal charges have been filed.

Meanwhile, the executive director at the Salvation Army in Ottawa, Perry Rowe, has been fired after auditors discovered $250,000 has gone missing.

The Salvation Army says that it reaches 1.8 million Canadians in need every holiday season, with about 140,000 toys distributed from the Toronto warehouse. Murray said at a news conference Wednesday that no one will go without this year.

"I can assure you that anyone in need this Christmas will be helped by the Salvation Army," he said. "To those Canadians who routinely and generously give to the Salvation Army, I would appeal to you this afternoon to not lose confidence in the work of the Salvation Army and the work that we do on your behalf in Canadian cities."

Police have not yet determined what happened to the toys at the Toronto warehouse. Murray said the Salvation Army believes no other locations have been hit with alleged thefts.

"This is an isolated situation," he said. "We believe that it's been very specific. It's been targeted. It's been very strategic in the way that it was put together. It was thought out."

The warehouse has video surveillance and security systems, but the Salvation Army has retained auditing firm KPMG to determine what improvements can made.

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