Every year, we hear of heartbreaking stories of thieves snatching donation bins meant for the Legion’s Poppy Campaign, but one Calgary businessman hopes his solution will make criminals pass on robbing veterans.
Dan Kroffat says that his redesigned poppy box can’t be stolen.
The bin itself is made of composite metal and is attached to the store’s counter with a wire.
He says his redesign should stop spontaneous thefts of poppy boxes that account for 75 percent of incidents.
Kroffat says the inspiration for the change came from the amount of thefts in the news last year.
"I saw in the newspaper, there was a story about these veterans, their money was stolen. I said, 'next to that is stealing money from children'. When you think of the money and the value this plays in sustaining their lives, add to that, this. The veterans, a large, large amount of veterans are living below the poverty line, a large number, hundreds are living on the streets. I got pissed off and said 'we need to fix this'."
He's has built 50 of the prototype boxes and plans to put them in place as a test in Cochrane businesses.
He hopes to see the boxes in use all across Canada by 2017.
The current poppy box used by Legion members hasn’t changed in decades.
Donations to the Poppy Campaign are used to help support Canada’s serving and retired veterans who are in need.
The funds are used for items like food, heating costs, clothing, accommodation, essential home repairs among many other areas.
Calgary police say there were 39 poppy box thefts in 2015.
Last November, Lloydminster RCMP arrested a man connected to a series of poppy box thefts in Calgary.
Dwayne Shane Soroka, 31, was charged with eight counts of theft under $5,000.
B.C. authorities also arrested a man in connection with a string of thefts in Nanaimo last year.
Anthony Britt of Nanaimo was sentenced to five months in jail, one year probation and fined $400 as a victim surcharge.