It turns out a report of a Toys for Tots donation box theft at Walmart was all a misunderstanding.
Glenville police Lt. Stephen Janik said a report came in Monday night that the box had been stolen from the vestibule of the Walmart Supercenter on Dutch Meadow Lane. A pair of Walmart employees saw a woman pull up to the store’s entryway, get out of her car, grab a donation box, put it in the back of her car and drive off.
“There are two things,” said Janik. “They assumed it was a Toys for Tots donation box, and they assumed it was a theft. It was neither.”
The box was actually a separate toy donation box not affiliated with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, which collects new, unwrapped toys in the months leading up to Christmas and delivers them as gifts to children who would otherwise have nothing under their trees Christmas morning. Janik said he was unsure which organization the box was affiliated with, but he spoke with the woman who got permission to put it in the store and confirmed her story.
The woman apparently saw news of the theft Wednesday and called police to let them know what had happened. Police reviewed surveillance tapes from Walmart security and confirmed this was indeed the woman who was supposed to collect the donation box.
Another reason for the faulty assumption by Walmart employees was that the actual Toys for Tots donation box that had been sitting in the vestibule for several weeks was no longer there that night — staff had moved it behind the service desk because it was full.