Port Angeles Salvation Army overwhelmed by community support after toys stolen

PORT ANGELES -- Salvation Army Major Scott Ramsey said Monday night the organization has been overwhelmed by the support they've received from the community since news came out that real-life Grinches stole toys that were going to be given to kids in need.

Scott Ramsey said businesses donated, the local radio helped, and there were lots of walk-ins. They’ve gotten at least $15,000, 25 bicycles, and lot of toys, he said.

Since they will be able to exceed the demand, Ramsey said, they will be accepting more applications from needy families next week.

Police are still hoping to catch the Grinches, however. Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the toy thieves.


On Sunday, Major Cherilee Ramsey of the Salvation Army said a neighbor saw thieves taking items from a back window of their warehouse early Sunday morning. If police hadn’t been alerted then, the thieves might have been able to take it all.

“We think they were probably in here for a couple hours,” she says. “Because things were tucked away and hidden and they found them.”

After searching through the toys that were being collected for families in need, they took the items worth the most money. That included video games, electronics, and bicycles.

“I just felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness thinking what are we going to do now,” she says. “Because I know we have promised these families we’re going to make a good Christmas for them.”

Ramsey says the need in Port Angeles this year is greater than ever.  Four-hundred families are supposed to come here and pick up toys for their children this Friday and Saturday.

But when news of the break-in started to spread, donations began pouring in.  Eleven-year-old Hunter Robinson gave $20 of his own money.

“When I heard about what happened, I felt sorry for some of the kids who may not get toys.”

Hunter and his sister say they wanted to give back, because they know what it’s like to be in need.

“When I was little, we got some of these too,” he says. “God blessed us with toys and other items.”

Major Ramsey says gifts like Hunter’s have restored her faith that they will be able to find a way to still fulfill Christmas wishes.

“I was so touched, that was wonderful,” she says. “To think children would go on their own, without their parent’s persuasion, to get money out of their piggy bank so another child could have a gift. That just really touched me. That is what this season is all about, the season of giving.”

Businesses like the Lazy Moon, Front Street Alibi and Castaways were holding an emergency toy drive, starting Monday. Donations can also be given directly to the Port Angeles Salvation Army at 206 S. Peabody St., 360-452-7679.