Every year leading up to Remembrance Day, poppies and poppy donation boxes can be seen all over the city. The proceeds go to the Legion Poppy Fund which provides financial assistance to Veterans and families in need. The boxes function on the honour system, allowing individuals to leave a donation and take a poppy from the box. This year, police have reported 25 cases of Calgary poppy donation theft.

In some cases, people have been caught on surveillance footage stealing the boxes in broad daylight. In other cases, windows of local businesses have been smashed in the middle of the night to get to the boxes.

The Calgary Police told the Calgary Sun that they have recorded the theft of over 25 poppy donation boxes since November 1, 2019. The police have charged one suspect in relation to the thefts.

Three Calgary stores had their windows smashed and donation boxes stolen over the Remembrance Day long weekend.

According to Global News, the impacted businesses include Global Pet Foods on Northmount Drive and their neighbouring business, Hounds Like Fun.

The same was the case for The Top Dog Store in the northeast of Calgary. Both Global Pet Foods and Hounds Like Fun had their windows smashed with rocks in order for the thieves to gain entry.

Brittany Leeder, store manager at Global Pet Foods told Global News that she was deeply concerned when she got the call that the store had been broken into.

“At first, I was quite terrified because this is our livelihood,” she explained. She also said that nothing like this has happened in the store’s nine years of operation. In this case, the poppy donation box was the only thing stolen.

"It is with a heavy heart to say that we were broken into early this morning. Our front door was smashed in and the only thing that was taken was our Poppy Donation Container," said a post on the business' Facebook page.

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There have also been a number of reported instances of individuals stealing the boxes from businesses during hours of operation.

Just outside of Calgary, a box was stolen from the front till of a Boston Pizza in Okotoks. The act was caught on surveillance footage and posted on Facebook by the store’s manager.

In the video, a man is seen inspecting the restaurant’s poppy donation box before grabbing it, putting it under his coat, and leaving.

According to Global News, Calgary police charged one person with the theft of a poppy donation box last year and charged three people for the same offence in 2017.

If you're wary to put money in one of the donation boxes, donations can be made directly to the Poppy Donation Fund on the Legion's website.

You can also check the Legion's website to find out how to pay tribute on Rememberance Day in your city.

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