The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 18, 2012

Grinch steals toys meant for needy tots

Patrick Buchnowski

JOHNSTOWN — Chillies Pub in Dale Borough posted a Christmas wish on a sign outside.

It reads: Who ever took the kids toys for poor children please return them.

Someone stole toys last week that were being collected for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign, Chillies officials said.

Employees and patrons at Chillies began collecting toys last month and had filled three 55-gallon barrels. The barrels were in the breezeway of the pub, located at 900 Bedford St.

Someone leaving the bar apparently emptied two barrels of toys into bags and then fled, said Paul Reese, a longtime customer.

Several hundred dollars worth of toys including trucks, Matchbox cars and Barbie dolls were taken.

“Whoever did it was sneaky,” Reese said.

“Nobody heard them.”  

The theft may have occurred Dec. 12. Dale police are looking for a suspect. The thief might have been a customer, a visitor or someone who wandered in to buy a six-pack, Reese said.

It’s uncertain how many people were involved in the crime, which happened during evening business hours.

The remaining toys were given to Toys for Tots on Saturday, Reese said.

Anyone with information can call police at 800-281-1680.