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DESOTO COUNTY | $2,500 worth of Toys for Tots donations stolen over the weekend

DESOTO COUNTY | $2,500 worth of Toys for Tots donations stolen over the weekend
Posted at 11:08 PM, Nov 01, 2023

ARCADIA, Fla. — As many begin preparing for the holiday season, the DeSoto Toys for Tots is trying to figure out how to replace $2,500 worth of stolen toys from over the weekend.

Holly Layport, Coordinator for DeSoto Toys for Tots, told Fox 4 she discovered the toys were missing Saturday when she was bringing in donations from over the weekend.

"Disbelief," said Layport. "Couldn't believe that somebody would actually do it.”

Layport said the Toys for Tots distribution has been held out of the historic Brownville School for seven years now.

"It's overwhelming because you don't think that it's gonna happen because it hasn't happened," said Layport. "Now we're very vigilant.”

Layport said the thieves went in through the back door of the historic building. When she was going through inventory, she noticed they had taken eight bicycles and LEGO sets valued up to $150.

However, she said even with the $2,500 set back, she is confident that the community will step up.

“It hurts everybody. It does, it hurts Desoto County but it's not gonna stop any of us,” said Layport.

The Brownville School is boarded up from every window to every door now and with newly installed cameras. Layport tells Fox 4 this is to ensure this does not happen again.

“These are folks that are that are doing a good thing," said James F. Potter, DeSoto County Sheriff. "They're collecting toys for deserving kids. Why would somebody do that? It's just it's disappointing."

Shortly after the discovery, Layport says she contacted the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office and they have been on the case since Saturday. Sheriff Potter said the thieves could face multiple charges depending on what they find.

"I did a screening of the neighborhood, checking with other neighbors, and things like that," said Potter. "We're doing our due diligence."

Sheriff Potter said to contact the local crime stoppers if anyone has tips or information about this crime.