Christmas Gift Thief
This is the real life story about the Grinch who pretended to be a helpful concerned citizen, sorting donated Christmas gifts to be distributed to young kids in the community; only to steal them for himself instead.
Calvin Hunter, 46 turned himself into Akron Police after he was caught on surveillance using a tarp to load $1,000 worth of toys out of First Faith Development Corp. on Easter Ave in Akron. Each year the Toys for Tots program supported by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, donate thousand of toys to needy families throughout Summit County.
Traci Higginbottom-Williams, director of First Faith Development Corp., spoke with your Reporter Newspaper about reaching out for help with distribution on facebook.
“Normally we work alone but this time we had so much donations that we decided to reach out through social media for help with distribution,” said Traci. She described how things began to go wrong saying, “At first I noticed that the big ticket items (the more expensive) items were coming up missing, and I had already told those volunteering to please make sure to keep account of the more expensive items as they are handed out,” said Traci. She credits God for pointing her in the direction of Hunter whom Traci claimed to be a classmate of hers from high school. “I noticed him using a tarp to load up a lot of toys and carrying them out,” she described.Traci stated that she confronted Hunter about what she noticed only to be told by the supposedly helper that he was merely taking out the trash.
She insists that surveillance cameras show Hunter loading up toys as early as 7:00 p.m. that evening until late as 11:45 that evening.
Traci claimed that Hunter had several accomplices although it was only Hunter who turned himself in to police. She described the theft as “heartless and “cruel.” She also shared that some of the items we’re being sold on social media. Perhaps the most troubling part about all of this according to Traci was that Hunter had previously requested donations for his grandchildren. “He asked me when he first got here if I could sign him up to get toys for his grandchildren and I told him yes.”
“It’s a shame that he would go as far as stealing from us during the same time we’re donating to his grandchildren.”
Traci estimated a loss of $5,000 from the theft. However, she claimed to be grateful for those who have donated to make up for the loss.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan earlier announced the city had received a $5,000 donation from eBay to help replace items stolen. Traci shared that First Energy Foundation also donated $5,000 to the Toys for Tots program.
“Luckily the Marines dropped off more toys and books to replenish stolen items and members of the Akron Fraternal Order of Police did too,” said Traci.
She’s very proud of the program sharing that the Toys for Tots program have helped over 15,000 kids this year. “I thank everyone for the love and support that has been given. Because of them we’ve been able to supply toys to the Children’s Home, Shelters and Salvation Army.”
For information about First Faith Development log on to firstfaithdevelopment.org.