11/25/04 — More toys stolen

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More toys stolen

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on November 25, 2004 1:57 PM

The woman who grabbed expensive toys from a Toys for Tots collection box at Wal-Mart may have done the same thing at another store in Goldsboro, police said Wednesday.

"Kmart also has filed a report of the same-type incident," Sgt. David Kelly said. "We're working with them to see if the two are related."

The woman on Tuesday walked into Wal-Mart, did not provide identification and told an employee that she was a Toys for Tots volunteer. When the employee checked with a supervisor, the woman scooped up the toys and fled.

The woman has been described as white, 5-feet-8 and 160 to 180 pounds with shoulder-length brown hair. She wore dark blue jeans and a light blue short-sleeved shirt and carried a pink purse.

The suspect drove a late 1990s or early 2000 model white Chevrolet Suburban with tan trim. She had parked in a handicapped space near the door.

A surveillance video camera photographed the woman and the vehicle. However, the photo was slightly blurred.

After hearing of the scam, Connie Lashnet, the Toys for Tots coordinator for Wayne, Duplin and Sampson counties, called Kmart to check on a collection box. Then she learned the same thing had happened there. Someone had claimed to be a Toys for Tots volunteer and had stolen the toys.

A Kmart store manager said the box was about three-fourths filled.

A Kmart official says the store did not require identification from those picking up the toys but from now on it will deal only with Ms. Lashnet.

Police Investigator Dwayne Dean is working on the Goldsboro thefts.

Wal-Mart officials say they will replace the toys that were being collected for distribution to underprivileged Wayne County children.

A thief also had stolen food Nov. 7 from the pantry at the Salvation Army. The food was to be used for Christmas baskets. Since the theft, many people have donated food.