Afghanistan vets make arrest in poppy box thefts
Published Friday, November 9, 2012 7:01PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2012 10:58PM EST
A 33-year old man was arrested by two Afghanistan war veterans Friday night in connection with the theft of poppy boxes from several Tim Hortons locations.
Nicholas Moorhouse of Toronto is facing charges after being arrested by two constables -- Const. Robert Romano-peck and Const. Ed Otten -- who just happen to have fought for Canada in Afghanistan.
Police allege Moorehouse was involved in thefts that took place on King Street East, St. Michael’s Hospital and 250 Yonge Street.
A number of Royal Canadian Legion poppy donation boxes were swiped from retailers throughout Toronto this week.
The latest incidents occurred Friday at separate Tim Hortons locations.
Friday morning a man fled with a donation box from a downtown Tim Hortons location, close to the Eaton Centre.
The incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. in the bustling donut shop.
Later Friday, a man grabbed a poppy donation box at a Tim Hortons close to the Bloor Street West and Gladstone Avenue area and fled the scene.
Police say there are typically several witnesses when these thefts take place.
“These boxes are placed in businesses that are generally quite busy and there’s going to be opportunities and times when people are looking at that box,” Const. Wendy Drummond told CTV Toronto.
The two incidents occurred the same day a 31-year-old Toronto man made his first court appearance in connection with three other poppy thefts that occurred earlier in the week.
Police said a man waited until staff at a Beer store, sandwich shop and coffee shop were distracted before swiping the donation boxes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
After photos of the suspect were released, police say they were inundated with calls and tips from the public.
Christopher Ethier faces three charges each of theft, possession of property obtained by crime and breach of probation.
Police say anywhere between a few dollars and $100 are typically found in poppy boxes.
The poppy campaign is one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s most important programs with the money raised used to help veterans in financial distress, as well as funding for medical appliances and research, home services and care facilities.
“It’s very unfortunate,” said Drummond. “These donations go to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and served our country. It’s very sad to see.”
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Janice Golding
A man pauses as he touches the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after placing his poppy on top following Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa Friday November 11, 2011. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)