Stealing from veterans is a crime that is hard for most people to comprehend but poppy box theft is on the rise in Calgary.

Police say it is a challenge to protect the boxes from thieves as they are meant to be easily accessible for people to drop in a donation.

"It’s unfortunate, the poppy fund is there to support the programs offered by the Legion to men and women that have provided outstanding service to our country so I think it would be best if that money could be put to the use it was intended to and not to line somebody's pocket,” said CPS S/Sgt. Craig Skelton.

Skelton says shop owners should keep an eye on who comes in and out of their stores.

“Just be aware of who’s in your store and realize that you have this opportunity available to someone that’s less than scrupulous and often times it’s easy to grab that box and run out the door,” said Skelton.

So far this year, nine of the boxes have been reported stolen.

(With files from Chris Epp)