Poppy donation boxes stolen from Coquitlam Tim Hortons, library
Published Wednesday, November 7, 2018 6:29PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2018 7:26PM PST
Police are searching for suspects after the thefts of two poppy donation boxes in Coquitlam, B.C. in the span of five days.
It's a crime that has happened again and again over the years. Often all it takes is a second and a thief is able to make off with a box of donations meant to help Canada's veterans.
It's a scene that played out at the Austin Avenue Tim Hortons on Friday. Someone cut a wire meant to secure the box then made off with the proceeds.
Then Tuesday night, Mounties were called to the Coquitlam library on Pinetree Way for a similar report.
"As RCMP we're very close to veterans. We march with them every year. This is something we take seriously and, like everybody, want to make sure we get to the bottom of this," Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said.
Poppies are worn to honour veterans leading up to Remembrance Day, but they're also a way to help them. All donations go toward programs for those who have served.
"We wouldn't have our freedoms today if it wasn't for our veterans. We have to support them," said Laurie Chapman of the Coquitlam Legion.
Collection boxes are improved each year. Some now have zip ties, and some have opaque plastic covers to hide the amount of money inside. Still, the thefts keep happening.
The RCMP said the best ways to avoid snatch-and-grabs are to keep donation boxes away from areas easily reached, and to secure them to a more permanent fixture if possible.
But ultimately, it's not up to businesses to police them, Chapman said.
"We thank businesses very much for allowing us to place the boxes in their businesses. We can't expect that they're going to watch them 24 hours a day," she said.
As a result of the thefts, the Coquitlam Legion will be stepping up collection efforts this week. Chapman said they usually check the boxes every three days, but now they're checking every day or two.
And on a positive note, a Good Samaritan who'd heard about the robberies visited the Legion Wednesday and made a $100 donation.
Officers are looking at surveillance video and photos from the library and the Tim Hortons, hoping to track down the person or people who stole something from those who gave everything.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith