Local News

Police Release Photos In Charity Toy Theft Case

Posted November 25, 2004

— Investigators in Goldsboro have released photos of a woman who may have stolen a bundle of toys meant for needy children from two local stores.

Police say a woman walked into a Wal-Mart in Goldsboro and told managers she was there to collect the toys on behalf of

Toys For Tots

.

It turns out it was all just a scam. The woman walked away with enough toys to give 20 needy kids a merry Christmas.

The images released Wednesday by police from an outdoor security camera show a woman getting out of a white Chevrolet Suburban SUV.

But investigators say the images are blurry and hard to see well.

Connie Lashmet, the Toys for Tots coordinator for Wayne, Duplin and Sampson counties, said the woman took the nicer toys and left the inexpensive ones.

"I cried for the first hour," she said. "I just got my list for Wayne County and I have 950 children from the Salvation Army alone and that was going to be a struggle because it's our first year."

Lashmet called a Goldsboro Kmart to check on a donation box there, only to learn the same thing had happened.

A store manager told Lashmet someone claiming to be with Toys For Tots came by and took all the toys.

Store manager Maria Minor said the Kmart box was three-quarters full.

"It's just that we've been doing it and they've picked them up a couple of times in the past so we assumed it was the same one who picked it up," she said.

Kmart said it did not have an arrangement with Toys For Tots requiring identification to pick up toys, but from now on will only deal with the local coordinator.

Wal-Mart's corporate representatives said the company will replace the toys that were taken.

and

Mike Charbonneau



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