"Grinch" Trying to Steal Toys from Toys for Tots

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Toys for Tots officials say someone is going up and down the I–70 corridor claiming to be with Toys for Tots and trying to pick up donations.

Businesses were smart and didn't give up the goods but this is compounding an already tough year for the charity.

As of Wednesday night, Toys for Tots was only at 40 percent in donations versus need.

Officials say the ailing economy has demands up and donations down.

Another problem the group has run into this year, a Glenwood Springs business accidentally sent their toys to Denver.

Topping it all off, there's now someone trying to steal the few toys there are from the children.

Guns and knives line the walls at Tim's Tools in Silt, but it's teddy bears and baby dolls that are the true passion here.

Poke Stiers owns the business and has been collecting for toys for tots for 14 years.

"You can not describe what it feels like to see a little kids face smile. There's nothing like it," Stiers told 11 News on Wednesday.

But something is putting a frown on his face.

"If there's someone going around picking up Toys for Tots or other toys and using them for something else, it does not make me very happy."

Stiers got a strange phone call from a woman he didn't know and Toys for Tots officials didn't' know but she was asking about toy pick up.

"They're just going to do anything they can to take advantage of other people. We at Tim's Tools will not stand for it," said Stiers.

He made sure his toys went to marines with Toys for Tots.

Other businesses in Basalt, Glenwood Springs and Rifle have had run-ins with someone claiming to be with the charity, luckily they didn't give up the toys.

Greg Merschel has worked with toys for tots for 20 years and says he's shocked.

"It's the honors system. You just hope somebody doesn't get greedy around christmas when somebody else is truly in need," Merschel told 11 News on Wednesday.

He says it's hard to safeguard donation boxes, usually not guarded at businesses.

He hopes police catch the Grinch and has his own idea of justice.

"I would say shipping the person to Afghanistan or Iraq would be about the appropriate punishment."

Poke Stiers said he also had an idea for punishment but said it wasn't suited for television.

But he did have a wish for all of the Toys for Tots volunteers and the children.

"Have a very Merry Christmas!"

Toys for Tots said it plans to file a police report.

Officials say they don't want this to get in the way of the main message and that donations are needed so no child will go empty handed.

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