VERNON - Two local businesses are asking the public to keep an eye out after a man in a blue hoodie made off with poppy pin donations and a tip jar Monday evening.
Bosley’s pet store manager Dawn Vipond noticed right away the poppy tray and donation jar was missing Tuesday when she came in for work. She checked the store’s video surveillance footage from Monday, Nov. 2, and was brought to tears by what she saw.
“Sure enough, there was a guy walking out with the poppies,” Vipond says. “It’s just so shameful. It makes my heart ache that someone would go that low. It’s a slap in the face to veterans.”
The footage shows the man waiting until storekeepers were out of sight before grabbing the donation jar around 5 p.m.
“It was Velcroed to the tray and he couldn’t get it off easily so he took the whole tray of poppies with him,” Vipond says, adding there was roughly $20 worth of donations in the jar.
Earlier this year, a donation jar for the Okanagan Humane Society was also taken from the store, Vipond says.
“My gut was telling me not to leave these poppies the way they were but I thought people were better than that,” she says. “Unfortunately, there was that one scumbag who let me down.”
The store is still accepting poppy donations, but is taking the precaution of keeping the money out of sight. Vipond is urging other businesses to tie their donation jars down, conceal the jars so people can’t see how much money is inside, or to keep the donations hidden.
It appears the same man also made off with a tip jar from a Vernon liquor store. Kalamalka Wine and Spirits manager Andrea Hipkiss says their surveillance footage shows the same man stealing a tip jar around 7:10 p.m. on Monday — just a couple hours after the Bosley’s theft.
“I recognized the picture (from Bosley’s) as the same guy that stole our tip cup,” Hipkiss says. “You can see him come in and take it. He asked the (clerk) for a pack of smokes and didn’t have enough money and left. He used that as a distraction.”
She’s not sure how much money was in the tip jar.
Vipond has notified police of the incident and provided them with photographs of the suspect. She’s hoping someone will recognize him, and he’ll be held accountable for the thefts.
The RCMP has not yet responded to an interview request.
Anyone with information can contact Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Video surveillance at Bosley's pet store in Vernon caught this man leaving the store with a tray of poppy pins and a donation jar on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.
Image Credit: Bosley's/ Dawn Vipond
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