FRAMINGHAM – Reacting to the "despicable'' theft of 1,500 toys just before Christmas, dozens of people are dropping off replacement toys and checks at State Police barracks across the state, State Police said this afternoon.
“They are getting a lot of donations and a lot of toys,’’ said State Police Lieutenant David Wilson, a spokesman for the agency. “The response has been great.’’
Individuals and corporations have been energized by the theft and are working feverishly to replenish the estimated $15,000 worth of toys stolen from a Toys for Tots storage container early Saturday morning.
Sophia McCormick had tears in her eyes when she dropped off 10 large shopping bags brimming with toys at the State Police headquarters here today.
“Every kid deserves a Christmas,’’ said the Winthop mother of three young children. “I just hope this puts a smile on someone’s face.’’
“It has been heartwarming to see people like Sophia,’’ Colonel Marian McGovern, the head of the State Police, said at a press conference. “This has touched a lot of people’s hearts.’’
Marc D. Kozin and his wife, Donna, were so disturbed by the theft that he planned to drop off a check for $5,000.
“It’s a noble cause,’’ said Kozin, who only grudgingly allowed his name to be published because his goal was to help, not gain media attention. “To have this happen on Dec. 20 is terrible.’’
State Police said today that people can donate toys and checks – no cash – at any barracks around the state. Checks should be made out to the Toys for Tots program. Donations will be accepted until 6 p.m. Tuesday, said McGovern, who called the theft "despicable.''
The locations of State Police barracks can be found here.
According to their public relations firm, Regan Communications, Clear Channel Outdoor Boston Division has donated the use of an electronic billboard along I-93 in Medford to let the public know donations are still being accepted.
A spokesman for the Walgreens drug store chain today said the company has resumed collecting toys at its 152 Massachusetts stores. The chain stopped taking toys Dec. 17, the collection deadline.
For McGovern, the theft has also touched the cop in her, and she vowed to capture the people responsible for breaking into a storage facility early Saturday morning and stealing the toys.
“It’s disgusting,’’ McGovern said of the theft, which took place at a Burlington warehouse early Saturday. She described herself as “very, very angry.’’
McGovern appealed to the public for help in tracking down the thief or thieves, asking that police be alerted if anyone notices someone selling a large volume of toys well below market prices.
“We are asking the public to really keep their eyes and ears open,’’ she said. Police will be monitoring eBay and other auction sites for someone making large volume toy sales, she said.
The Globe reported in today's editions that whoever broke into the locked storage container also was selective in what they stole - all of the gifts were for children 8 years old and up and valued at between $15 and $30.
Police asked anyone with any information about the theft or who has "suspicions about a sudden presence of a large quantity of toys" to contact the Burlington Police Department at (781) 270-1914 or Massachusetts State Police at (508) 820-2121.
Walgreens company spokesman Tyler Hough said Walgreens will now collect toys until Tuesday at noon and then drop them off at the nearest State Police barracks.
Hough said that this year, the chain’s 250 stores in New England participated and collected an estimated 10,000 toys that had been donated by customers. The resumption applies to the Massachusetts stores only, he said.
Joanne Rathe / Globe Staff
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more