Poppy box thefts: Toronto and Halifax alleged thieves arrested, facing charges

The campaign raises money to support veterans in financial need.
The campaign raises money to support veterans in financial need. (Photo courtesy The Royal Canadian Legion)

Unfortunately, a rash of poppy box thefts occurred as the country recently observed Remembrance Day. Though they seem to happen every year around this time, a number of thefts have recently made the news.

In Toronto, Ont., a 32-year-old man was arrested on Sunday for an alleged week-long theft spree. Munir Hudani was charged with ten counts of theft under $5,000 and nine counts of fail to comply with probation.

The boxes were stolen in the downtown Toronto area from November 5 to November 12. The man is due to appear in court today.

In Halifax, N.S., a man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly stealing a poppy donation can from a Tim Hortons the previous Sunday. George Allen Clayton was charged with theft under $5,000, possession of property by crime under $5,000 and failure to comply with a probation order.

Unfortunately, these weren’t the only poppy box thefts in Canada:

  • Five poppy box thefts were reported in the first few days of the campaign in Calgary, Alta.;
  • A poppy donation can was stolen from an 84 year-old veteran in a store in Coquitlam, B.C., before the thief cycled away;
  • Poppy donation boxes were stolen at four Ajax, Ont. businesses; and
  • Police are currently looking for a man who allegedly stole both a poppy box and a cancer charity donation box from a store in Barrie, Ont.

It’s the lowest of the low. . . People see these things sitting on the counter ... They know those boxes are going to be full of loonies and toonies. It’s an easy, low-risk crime to do,” Toronto Police Const. Craig Brister told The Toronto Sun.

The theft of poppy boxes has become so pervasive in Canada, that one Alberta man designed a “theft-proof” poppy box. Dan Kroffat, a former Calgary wrestler, designed the new boxes, because he was angry at the yearly thieving.

The new boxes are made from metal and have a wire that attaches it to a store counter. About 50 boxes were built and placed in various businesses in the Cochrane, Alta. community and as of November 9, none were missing. Other legions have already requested the theft-proof box.

The poppy box campaign has been a yearly occurrence since 1967, when the Royal Canadian Legion started it. The campaign raises money to support veterans in financial need.
Find a Lawyer