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The Grinch of Toronto: Salvation Army director fired, charged with $2 million toy theft

Samantha Schroeder
Contributor

On Monday, Toronto Salvation Army executive director David Rennie was fired and charged in connection with the theft of $2 million worth of toys, according to the Toronto Star.

Rennie, 51, was arrested after he turned himself in Monday morning. He faces charges of theft over $5,000, possession of stolen property and criminal breach of trust.

He was released on a promise to appear in court on Jan. 4.

“We’re alleging the thefts took place under David Rennie’s control and without the permission of the Salvation Army,” detective Jim Gotell said at a news conference.

Gotell said the “toys were going to be redirected to other parties and sold for profit.”

Police uncovered a massive cache of goods — including toddler playpens, porcelain dolls and chocolate bars — on Friday at a warehouse where a company, the Northern Sales Group, owned storage space.

On Saturday, a second cache of goods police say belonged to the Salvation Army was uncovered at a different warehouse also used by Northern Sales Group, which is suspected to be a part of the scheme.

The toy thief was known by friends and colleagues as a “consummate professional and part-time teacher with a love of motorcycles,” according to the Toronto Star.

Allegedly, detectives are looking for a second person of interest who is connected to Northern Sales Group.

“We’re making attempts to arrest him,” Gotell said.

Police have been investigating the thefts — which occurred over a span of two years — since Nov. 6, following an internal audit by the Salvation Army, according to Gotell.

Rennie was on paid leave after an employee blew the whistle on the theft in August. He was fired last week.

According to the 2011 Sunshine List — a listing of public-sector employees who make more than $100,000 anually — David Rennie was paid $111,215 per year as the executive director of a Salvation Army warehouse in Toronto.

Two more searches by investigators yielded documents that police believe will assist in the ongoing investigation.

As for the salvaged toys, Gotell said that police are working with the Crown Attorney’s office to have the stolen goods returned to the Salvation Army “as soon as possible.”

The Salvation Army plans to address the public at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Railside warehouse.

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