Police looking for more suspects in Salvation Army theft
Published Monday, November 26, 2012 10:29AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 26, 2012 3:18PM EST
Bikes donated by Premier Dalton McGuinty were among the items police discovered over the weekend when they raided a warehouse stacked with toys diverted form the Salvation Army.
“We found beyond our imagination the volume of re-routed skids of donations that were meant to reach the Railside warehouse,” said Det. Robert Strain of the Major Crime Unit, speaking at a press conference Monday. “The merchandise we located shouldn’t be in a freezer storage facility.”
He said the high-end bikes were meant to reach children at a summer camp run by the Salvation Army this past summer, but they never arrived. Instead two of them ended up in a warehouse controlled by a wholesale company called Northern Sales. Some 21 bikes are not yet accounted for.
The news conference came after David Rennie, the Salvation Army executive fired in the midst of an investigation into donated goods that disappeared from a Toronto warehouse, turned himself into police earlier Monday.
He is charged with theft, possession and breach of trust.
Last week, the Salvation Army notified the public that an internal audit had revealed that approximately 100,000 toys had disappeared from its Railside Drive warehouse over a two-year period.
The approximate value of the toys is $2 million.
“We’re alleging the thefts took place under David Rennie’s control and without the permission of the Salvation Army,” Strain said. “He either would take portions of the shipments into the warehouse and control it or portions of the donations didn’t even come into the warehouse.”
Strain said police are now looking for a second suspect connected to Northern Sales, but provided few details about who he is.
Spokesperson Maj. John Murray said a whistleblower first called attention to the missing toys in August, which triggered the internal investigation.
Rennie was later fired from his post as executive director of the Railside Dr. warehouse as a result of that probe. Police became involved in the investigation in September.
“On behalf of the Salvation Army, we’d like to thank Toronto Police Service for their extraordinary work and the quickness of their investigation,” Murray said. “Our organization will continue to work with Toronto Police as this case moves through the criminal justice system.”
Murray added that the Salvation Army is working with KPMG and other groups to try and make sure a similar theft never happens again.
Rennie’s arrest followed news over the weekend that police had recovered a portion of the stolen toys.
CTV News confirmed that investigators found 146 skids of items, including strollers, cribs and baby toys, at a commercial warehouse in Brampton, Ont., on Friday. The haul is large enough to fill three tractor trailers.
Toronto police said after investigators itemize the goods, they will be returned to the Salvation Army.
Within days of the theft being made public, several companies offered large donations to the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas toy drive. Spinmaster Toys donated $100,000, while Hasbro Canada pledged $250,000 in toys to CTV’s Toy Mountain, which collects toys that are then passed on to the Salvation Army.
Rennie is due in court on Jan. 4, 2013.