It’s been a disappointing week for one coffee shop owner in Langley, B.C. after three poppy donation boxes were stolen in less than seven days. Poppy box thefts in Canada seem to have become increasingly common this year, as several businesses have reported having their donations stolen. With just days to go until Remembrance Day, the Langley cafe owner described the thieves as “scumbags.”
Every year, thousands of Canadians will buy and wear traditional red poppies, in order to honour and commemorate war veterans on November 11.
While poppies are usually distributed by donation-only, a number of opportunistic thieves have taken the chance to steal donation boxes this year, stealing money away from the Canadian Legion charity.
In a striking example of just how bad the problem has become, one Vancouver coffee-shop owner has had three poppy donation boxes stolen from him this year, with just days to go until Remembrance Day.
According to the Langley-based coffee shop owner, three donation boxes have been stolen from his store since Sunday November 3, with one thief snatching his last box just days before Remembrance Day.
A report from Global News revealed that the first theft at Joy of Coffee in Murrayville Square happened last Sunday night, just before 8 p.m.
A customer took advantage of the cafe’s busy staff, and stole two poppy donation boxes at once, walking out of the front door with a box under each arm.
Just days later, a couple stole the third box. As a man distracted one of the coffee shop’s employees, a woman put her jacket over the donation box and walked straight out of the cafe.
The shop owner told Global News, “They’re scumbags. Not very nice people. There’s not much you can do, but hopefully, they can catch them.”
According to local police, there’s been a bunch of similar thefts in the Langley area this year, and it seems that this might be a Canada-wide problem.
Last week, it was revealed that similar thefts had taken place in Quebec and Ontario, with one Royal Canadian Legion branch reporting four thefts of donation cans from Tim Hortons locations near Laval.
In another upsetting example, 160 mini Canadian flags were also stolen, taken from the graves of war veterans at Windsor Grove Cemetery.
While these thefts seem to have been surprisingly common this year, there were several similar incidences back in 2018, proving that these donation box thefts have been a problem for a number of years.
Thankfully, both incidents of the poppy donation box thefts in Langley were caught on security cameras, and Langley RCMP are now investigating.
Remembrance Day is on Monday November 11, and there are several ceremonies and services taking place across the capital city.