Holiday Thief Teaches Us A Valuable Lesson About Giving

How do you prevent the theft of canned goods from the cardboard donation boxes in your community’s Christmas Food Drive? There are a number of ways, but the best ways are to educate participants and community members and adopt these action items:

1) make the donation box such a deep dive so that its not easy for anyone to lift items undetected

2) aim a security camera squarely at the box and then write a note telling residents that the camera is watching

3) make reference to the Holiday Food Drive in printed material throughout the building to reinforce its importance

Three large boxes were parked in the lobby of our building and they were filled surprisingly quick this year, but sadly all that generosity was just as quick to disappear…

Dole pineapples in holiday food drive donation box from toronto moversOn Weds Dec 11th the Holiday Food Drive containers at Chess Condos on Dufferin St in Toronto were looted; a security guard knocked on a 26th floor apartment door. ??????Hello, its building Security.” he said, “Can we have the tins you nicked from the bins in the lobby please? We have you on video taking the goods.” But nothing happened. The door remained closed and police were not called to the scene . Instead some laweyers made some phone calls is what I thing happened. You can read about the case in this piece about the Scoundrels on Digital Journal and again here Toronto charity thief on Buzznet.

Earlier this month, some socially responsible Toronto movers donated cardboard boxes to support our Holiday Food Drive as part of a larger charitable initiative in the King & Dufferin area. I see their distinctive boxes in the lobby of 219 Dufferin st and other buildings on Liberty St. This year, like many others before, our building residents were encouraged to donate non-perishable food stuffs to help the city’s less fortunate make some nice memories over the holidays.

On the night of Dec 10th 2013 the Holiday Food Drive boxes in the lobby of Chess Condominiums on Dufferin St were looted clean of all the choice items. Instead of taking everything, the thieves carefully selected and stole away the very best stuff.

Although Phil Lafontaine the overworked and underpaid building manager has issued a statement informing residents that we were robbed, and he updated us to say that he he was in the process of recovering the donations – that was last week – he has not recovered the goods yet – twelve days later. According to one insider’s report, there’s plenty of footage of the thieves on video. The building security cameras in the lobby are focused on the front door but in one angle the boxes are visible and apparently its very clear who stole what at 3am on Dec 11th.

Housekeeping is always very talkative and on December 12th, I encountered Maria (not her real name) who told me rather candidly that the food items were taken by two of the wealthiest people in the building. When I asked how Maria could possibly know the economics of the situation she told me that their expensive European luxury car is part of the investigation, and their apartment is ???????on top???????? which is all Mara would say, as though the people who lived on the top floor were somehow the wealthiest?? The building doesn????????t have Penthouse units.

Now the food drive boxes are parked inside the building administration office where the submitted material can be directly supervised by staff. It sucks because people have basically stopped donating now that the box is out of sight as most folks need to be reminded to do the right thing. The conclusion here is that security is necessary for charity to thrive.


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