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Local News

December 6, 2013

Toys for Tots donations stolen in Danvers

DANVERS — Police say up to $4,000 worth of Toys for Tots donations were stolen from a storage container on Andover Street Wednesday night.

The container was broken into, and various toys were stolen from a resident collecting the toys for the charity at his home, said police Lt. William Carleton.

“There are some leads they are trying to run down,” he said.

The incident is still under investigation, as is the exact amount of toys stolen. The $4,000 amount was reported on the department’s Facebook and Twitter social media pages last night.

Carleton said the only description of a vehicle involved is a “large dark-colored late model.”

“It is just a shame someone would do something like this,” said Danvers resident Ray Jalbert, the commandant of the Essex County Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Jalbert said Andover Street resident Bert Russell, who is in his 80s, has been collecting toys for the program for about 20 years. Russell is a Korean War veteran and a former police officer in town, he said.

Jalbert said about four large boxes of toys were stolen. There could have been a couple hundred in there, but the exact number is unknown, he said.

“We locked them up,” Jalbert said.

Russell noticed a car in the driveway around 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to Jalbert. Russell thought it was a Marine loading more toys into the storage box, but it turns out it was the thief or thieves.

The car took off on Route 114 and headed toward Middleton. The incident was reported to police shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday, Carleton said.

“He went down in the morning, and the lock wasn’t on it,” Jalbert said. “So, he opened it up, and the four boxes weren’t there.”

Jalbert, who has been working with the program for the past eight years, said this reminds him of an incident in 2010 when 1,500 gifts collected for Toys for Tots were stolen from a locked storage facility in Burlington. The stolen toys were valued around $15,000.

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