The former executive director of the Salvation Army’s North York warehouse is facing a number of charges in connection with the theft of $2 million worth of toys and other items.
David Rennie, who was fired last week, will make his first court appearance Jan. 4, Toronto police announced Monday.
On Friday Nov. 23, officers with 33 Division’s major crimes unit recovered 150 skids of toys, cribs, strollers, food and personal care items that had gone missing over two years from the Salvation Army’s warehouse and distribution centre on Railside Road southeast of Lawrence Avenue and the Don Valley Parkway.
Some of the property was found at Northern Sales Group near Weston Road and Steeles Avenue while other items were discovered in a cold storage warehouse in Brampton, police said.
“The volume of the re-routed skids of donations we found in the Brampton location that were meant to reach 150 Railside Rd. were beyond our belief,” Det. Robert Strain said in a statement. “The merchandise we located there should not have been in a freezer storage facility. It was quite clear they were being held off-site.”
The recovered property included two of 23 high-end bicycles donated by Premier Dalton McGuinty to Salvation Army camps.
A suspect allegedly controlled portions of shipments in the Salvation Army warehouse and re-directed some items through Northern Sales Group, which is a wholesale company, Strain said.
Meanwhile,, police are looking for a second suspect connected to the company, he said.
The alleged theft, which involved 100,000 toys stolen over about two years, came to light in August through a whistleblower.
Salvation Army Maj. John Murray said the theft is disheartening.
“It’s a terrible shame when people donate their good, hard-earned money towards buying toys for those in need at the holiday times and these articles are now being re-directed for profit,” he said in a statement.
“Our organization will co-operate with the Toronto Police Service and the Crown’s office and the Salvation Army will continue to work with its external partners to ensure that something like this never happens again.”
Major also applauded the quick actions of police.
“We commend the Toronto Police Service for what appears to be timely progress in its investigation and wish it continued success,” he said in a statement.
“The Salvation Army is under no illusions that the recovered toys can be returned to us soon, as it appears likely they will be required as evidence in any criminal court proceedings that arise.”
Murray thanked companies and individuals were are coming forward with donations since the alleged theft was made public.