Toys for Tots volunteer eyed in gift thefts

Posted Dec. 08, 2010, at 1:51 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Police recovered a cache of toys Wednesday from a residence on Patten Street that were stolen from the annual holiday Toys for Tots program.

Lt. Tim Reid, head of the Bangor Police Department’s investigative division, said charges are expected and the person they believe is responsible for the thefts was a recent volunteer for Toys for Tots. Additional information about the suspect is being withheld until the investigation is complete.

Earlier this week, police received a tip that several donated toys were missing from the local Toys for Tots drop-off area, including many that were dropped off by members of the Bangor Fire Department.

Bangor police Detectives Tim Cotton and Brent Beaulieu responded to a subsequent tip that a Patten Street resident had several toys at his residence and that he was a Toys for Tots volunteer. Police went to the home on Wednesday and seized several thousand dollars’ worth of toys.

Shortly after 1 p.m., officers could been seen loading toys from the residence in a mobile police van to take back to the station for inventory. It wasn’t clear whether the resident or anyone else was there at the time.

Toys for Tots is a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps to which people donate toys that are distributed to children and families in need during the holiday season. Recently, the Toys for Tots branch in Bangor announced that donations were down this year, while the number of people seeking help has increased.

Last year, nearly 7,000 area children received toys through the program. So far this year, more than 3,000 gifts have been given.

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