Remembrance Day poppy box thefts in B.C. an annual disappointment

Over the past few days, B.C. has seen four separate incidents of thefts of Remembrance Day poppy donation boxes.

A spate of thefts across the province has targeted donation boxes.

A spate of poppy box thefts in B.C. is disappointing, but no surprise to the Royal Canadian Legion.

Vancouver barber Dino Arvenidis cannot believe that someone would stoop so low as to steal money collected for Canada's veterans.

But, sadly, the theft of Remembrance Day poppy donation honor boxes is an annual occurrence — over the past few days, B.C. has seen four separate incidents alone.

In tony Kerrisdale on Vancouver's west side, Arvenidis only discovered the box he had placed in front of his store was gone when he was shutting up for the day. He thinks as much as $150 was taken.

"Of course I was really upset," Arvenidis told CBC News Friday. "I mean, all the people, they put some money in for a good purpose, you know... everything for us to be free."

Another theft in Vernon has prompted an amazing response.

On Monday evening, a man entered a pet food store in the town, saying he needed a large bag of dog food. As the store owner looked away to help him, the man grabbed the donation box, poppies and all.

The manager told CBC News that since the theft, people have been coming into the store purely to make a donation, with two separate gifts of $100 each.

Coquitlam RCMP are on the hunt for a suspect in his 40s, after a donation box was swiped right in front of an 84-year-old Legion member collecting outside the SuperStore on the Lougheed Highway.

Meanwhile, Naniamo RCMP arrested a 48-year-old man in connection with multiple poppy box thefts.

The Royal Canadian Legion told CBC News that the recent spate of thefts is disappointing, but not a surprise.

With files from Belle Puri

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