Sarina Dickson was one of several Mission legion volunteers offering poppies and collecting donations at local businesses this season.

Sarina Dickson was one of several Mission legion volunteers offering poppies and collecting donations at local businesses this season.

Thief targets Mission legion poppy boxes

For the first time in two years, some poppy boxes have disappeared in the community.

Members of the Mission legion greeted the week with a round-up of the poppy boxes placed in town – only to discover that several boxes have been stolen or damaged.

The Royal Canadian Legion in Mission distributed 120 of the white plastic boxes throughout the community to offer poppies in recognition of Remembrance Day. The boxes include a compartment for donations. The funds are later distributed to organizations that support veterans and their families in Mission.

Last year, every one of the boxes returned to the legion.

But this year, three have been stolen. At the Best Western hotel and the Junction liquor store, a woman went in last weekend, said she was from the legion, and picked them up.

The box at the Cedar Care Clinic also disappeared. At London Drugs, someone broke the donations box to make it possible to withdraw money.

The legion discovered the theft when volunteers went to pick up the boxes on Tuesday. The incidents have been reported to RCMP.

It is unclear how much money was stolen – but it is the loss to the community that matters, said legion president Karen Kuzek.

“Regardless of how much money it was, it’s taking out what we can do the for veterans in our community. It’s just a sad state of affairs that people would do something like that,” she said.

There was a similar story in Abbotsford, where 10 poppy boxes were discovered stolen this week. At many of these locations, a woman entered saying she was from the legion and took off with the boxes.

The Abbotsford legion may be reviewing its procedures to minimize future thefts. This might include requiring volunteers who pick up the boxes to carry identification indicating they are legion representatives.