The money was supposed to help veterans, but instead a thief has been lining his pockets by stealing poppy collection boxes from businesses along Vedder Road.
Six of the collection boxes have been stolen over the past week, according to police and Pat Johnston, the poppy fund co-ordinator for the Vedder Golden Branch 280.
The collection boxes have been stolen from the counters of businesses along Vedder Road.
While Johnston said theft of the boxes is an occasional problem, he said the fact that multiple boxes have been stolen over several days indicates someone is targeting them.
The boxes were discovered missing by veterans who make daily trips to remove the money contained within.
"I don't think they got away with a lot of money," Johnston said.
But the veterans are still stinging from the lack of awareness shown by whomever is stealing the boxes.
"The fact that somebody would even think of doing it is beyond comprehension," said Johnston, who served 30 years in the Air Force. "We're very disappointed because the money that we are raising is to support our veterans who are disabled.
He continued: "These people are not thinking about where the money is going. They're just thinking about themselves."
"It's pretty disturbing," added RCMP spokesperson Const. Tracy Wolbeck. "The motivation behind crimes like this is just pure greed. Our veterans have played such an integral role for Canadians and it's really upsetting to have to report on a crime like this."
Johnston said he's hoping the thief will come forward, hand back the money and apologize.
"Whoever is doing this to veterans is not thinking very clearly," he said. "They obviously don't know what the veterans have done for them."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Beyond the thefts, however, Johnston said this year's poppy campaign is going well.
"It's been a very successful campaign this year," he said. "We're getting a lot of support from students."
He said the legion has seen more local participants in its essay and poster contests recently. It's even seen a local winner, with John Calvin School student Brady Tiessen claiming first prize in the junior category earlier this spring.
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