A Christmas Grinch is accused of stealing from children in need, and the brazen thief was caught on camera.
Managers of Comfort Inn & Suites in Mount Pocono say a guest stole from their Toys For Tots donation bin. They hope someone will recognize and report the man seen on surveillance around 12:30 Saturday morning.
He looks calm and collected, sipping coffee while staring directly into the camera. But moments before, he’s accused of swiping three toys then stashing them in a towel.
“If you had money to pay for a hotel room, you can go to the dollar store and get a toy. You don’t steal from children. I mean, you just broke some kids heart for Christmas and that’s really sad,” Anthony Regan, general manager of Comfort Inn & Suites said.
Every year, the hotel hosts a Toys For Tots donation bin in the front lobby. Jay Rake, a member of the Marine Toys for Toys program, helps collect the toys, which are eventually distributed as Christmas presents for local children in need.
“It makes me angry. If they would ask, we would gladly give them the toys. Just don’t steal them,” Rake said.
Since the incident, hotel management posted a sign above the bin asking people to bring their toy donations directly to the front counter.
This system might become the new norm. “It’s sad I might have to, because I don’t want to break children’s hearts,” Regan said.
Ada Puhse of Missouri stayed overnight at the hotel and she’s sad to hear what happened. “In our hometown somebody also stole some Toys For Tots as well in storage bins, so it just is what it is. It’s horrible, but people do do that during the holidays,” Puhse said.
The hotel general manager is still trying to check guest records from this past weekend. He hasn’t contacted police, but has the surveillance if officers would need it.
People have already started dropping off toys to make up for the loss.