Since November 4, 2017 local businesses and members of the Royal Canadian Legion branch 76, here in Greater Sudbury have reported the theft of twenty Poppy boxes that contained both poppies and an undisclosed amount of money.

The funds raised by the Poppy boxes are essential to providing assistance and support to our local Veterans each year.

Over the past week, Members of the Break, Enter and Robbery (B.E.A.R.) Unit with the assistance of Uniform Patrol have investigated each theft complaint and worked collaboratively with local business owners to secure surveillance video footage from each incident.

As a result, 29-year old Michael Petryna was identified as being responsible for at least seven of the twenty Poppy box thefts. On Thursday, November 9, 2017 around 2:15 p.m. Michael was arrested and charged with seven counts of Theft Under $5,000.

Historically, the Poppy Campaign has been based on the trust and honesty of community members where the Poppy boxes are easily accessible to the general public. Typically, when a person wants to support and honour our Veterans, they remove a Poppy while making a financial contribution.  The thefts of the Poppy boxes in our community are not only against the law, but the actions of these individuals are morally and ethically despicable.

During these investigations, it became evident that these crimes upset many members of our community. The community involvement and assistance to solve these crimes was exceptional and greatly appreciated by the Greater Sudbury Police Service. This type of crime and breach of trust is not socially acceptable in our community.

The Greater Sudbury Police Service Break, Enter and Robbery Unit has identified a second man responsible for two other Poppy box thefts in Greater Sudbury and efforts are being made to locate and arrest him. If you are responsible for any of the thefts (and you know who you are) our Officers are actively looking for you, so you may as well turn yourself in.