2 arrested in connection to 'disgusting' Langley poppy donation box thefts

A Langley coffee shop caught three poppy donation thieves on surveillance video, which has been handed over to the Langley RCMP for an investigation.

RCMP say video evidence has led to the arrest of two people suspected of the theft of poppy donation boxes from a Langley coffee shop in the last week.

A woman was arrested Friday in North Vancouver, followed by the arrest of a man in Langley on Saturday, police said.

Langley RCMP Sgt. Barry Beales tells Global News there are at least a half dozen similar incidents of stolen poppy boxes involving the duo, and there could be more.

Both incidents were caught on security video at the Joy of Coffee in Murrayville Square. Video evidence was provided to Langley RCMP, who began investigating.

The first theft happened on the evening of Nov. 3, shortly before 8 p.m. The video shows a man walking right out the front door with a box in each arm.

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“He was sitting at a table at the front of the store,” owner Ron Corrado said.

“When the turned her back, he walked to the counter, grabbed both boxes and walked out.”

On Thursday around 3:45 p.m., a couple approached the counter. As the man distracted the employee, the woman put her jacket over the donation box. A short time later, the woman left with the box wrapped in the jacket as the man counted out change for a purchase.

Corrado didn’t mince words when asked what he thought of the suspects.

“They’re scumbags,” he said. “Not very nice people.”

Corrado said he wants to put out another donation box, but may booby-trap it with a musical birthday card underneath that would play if the box is removed.

“You can’t have your eyes on it all the time,” he said.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Craig Van Herk had told Global News on Friday that he hoped good quality video would aid the public in identifying the suspects.

“It’s saddening, it’s disheartening,” he said.

“But the good news … is this is a good video. We hope someone can help us identify who these suspects are, so we can hold them to account.”

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Van Herk had also said there’d been a rash of similar thefts in the Langley area, and said it’s “disgusting” anyone would steal donations meant for veterans around Remembrance Day.

“In a time like this, when you know this money is going to be donated to someone who sacrificed for our freedom, it’s absolutely wrong,” he said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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