Home News North Carolina Toys for Tots warehouse robbed, toys smashed and broken

North Carolina Toys for Tots warehouse robbed, toys smashed and broken


toys-for-tots3SANFORD — J.J. Cuff couldn’t believe it.

As he opened the door to the storage room for the Lee County area Toys for Tots collection, all he saw was a mess. Toys were broken and smashed, boxes were torn into and several items he had seen just days before were missing.

“I don’t remember any damage when we were taking stuff out there,” said Cuff, the local area organizer for Toys for Tots. “I do know that somebody just took it upon themselves. It’s not like I had unmarked toys just laying in a corner. Somebody just decided to go through it.”

More than $3,000 of estimated damage was done to the collection of sports balls, kids’ books, children’s toys and more at the warehouse on Wicker Street where Cuff and the Sanford Detachment of the League have been storing Christmas gifts for kids from low-income families.

Toys for Tots is a program of the U.S. Reserve, based out of Washington, D.C., which distributes new toys to “less fortunate” children at Christmas. The League in Sanford began collecting toys at almost 50 locations throughout the county in late October.

Cuff said basketballs, soccer balls and footballs and anything with batteries and electronics were taken. Many of the other toys and boxes were damaged. Some toys were scattered around the main floor of the warehouse, owned by Simpson Construction Company.

“We’ve been storing here for eight years and we’ve never had a problem,” he said. “Every box had been emptied upside down. I walked in here and toys were piled up. Everything they didn’t want, they just commenced to jump on and break it. I can’t use a broken toy. Even if the box is damaged, I can’t use it.”

Since the incident, which occurred in late October, Cuff has been working to clean up the room and try to save the toys he can.

“I have to separate them,” he said. “It puts us behind a little. We always have toys left over. This year is a little slower. We’re just trying to get our stuff back together.”

While some toys are damaged beyond repair, some boxes and toys were only slightly damaged. Toys for Tots’ policy is to only accept new toys. Those toys that are still usable but not in perfect condition are often donated to other organizations, Cuff said.

Toys for Tots collects both toys and money, which goes towards toys. Cuff said all the donations from Lee County stay in Lee County.

“When we get donations, the money that we get around Christmas time, we go ahead and buy toys,” said Helen McCarthy, another member of the League. “Then we store them.”

McCarthy called the events “heartbreaking.” Cuff said he was “a little peeved,” to put it mildly.

Cuff said those interested in supporting Toys for Tots can still donate financially through the organization’s website or drop off toys at locations with donation boxes, which include Southern Lee High School, Temple Theatre and several medical facilities and businesses. The organization plans to give out the gifts a week before Christmas, Cuff said.

His job from now on, he said, is to sort out what’s remaining and continue collecting toys. They try to give multiple gifts to each child, but if they only have to give one to each, he said, they will. It’s all about the kids.

“Right now, I’ve got to see what we have left,” he said. “We’ll still have a campaign. We try to bring back the spirit of Christmas. (What happened is) a small setback.”

To donate money or contact the Sanford Toys for Tots organization, please visit their website.


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  1. God will bless the Marine Corps. Endeavours for the love and light they show all people all year round. I will pray that the culprits turn themselves in which is unlikely but I will also pray that the Corps. are returned the blessings that they are to everyone.

  2. There are so many, who put their hearts, time and effort into this amazing organization. Every little bit counts, and the goal is priceless. A child’s joy on Christmas. I don’t understand people like this, who have no respect for an organization like the Marines TFT, and how hard they work with the surrounding community, as a group effort every year to ensure happiness on Christmas Day. I pray that most can be salvaged and if not, used elsewhere. Bless those who are trying to fix the current situation, and for those who tried to destroy be rightfully dealt with. The best lesson, return, replace, and spend time in that warehouse to understand this well run organization. Keep the faith that all will be restored.

  3. Does anyone know where i can find a link just to donate to this location like money and etc. I want to help and run something to help the kids out online sending ppl to do donations n etc.

  4. When did society slip so deep into despair? This is both disgusting, and inexcusable.

    This is a cause my wife and I strongly support. As a business-owner, we are blessed with the ability of giving back. One charity I hold close to my heart is the United States Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots. Each year the brave men and women in uniform give of themselves to deliver a brighter Christmas morning to countless children. Reading this story brings tears to my eyes.

    Growing-up poor, this time of year offers an opportunity of giving. I cannot imagine an excuse that would ever justify this behavior. As I’ve already mentioned, this makes me sick to my stomach, and fills my soul with anger. Need I remind so many…the innocence of child? How dare anyone victimize our children, or attack our beloved Corps?

    To those responsible, I pray you are apprehended, and held accountable. It’s saddening that your rage replaced your ability to act as a civilized human being. The organization that you attacked gives without prejudice, and does not discriminate. Because of those responsible, this holiday season is ruined for so many.

    I wish we our business was closer to those affected. We would gladly send our donations to offset the losses that have occurred. Please accept our heartfelt condolences, and support.

    • I agree, the damage done is sickening and feels like an attack towards the innocent children.
      You mentioned wanting to help the North Carolina Toys For Tots program that was vandalized. In the article they mentioned their website if anyone wants to donate, and several people have posted it in the comments.
      I hope this info helps you & your wife to fulfill your desire to help the NC TFT program.
      Bless you for your kind & giving heart. Have an amazing Christmas!

    • Please don’t blame this on any ethnic group. Mexicans/Latinos love their children and love children in general. Most cultures do love their little ones. Let’s just put this down to some very sick individuals who obviously can’t see past their hatred and self loathing. No one in their right mind would do something this reprehensible. Most vandalism is done because of anger. Why would ANYONE be angry at anyone trying to make Christmas happier for some little kids?

    • OMG you are a flaming dick. What a rotten thing to say. You have absolutely no way to know that yet there you go, spouting your hate. You suck. Have a crappy holiday.

    • Pamela Rojo, very well said!
      “G”…not willing to use your name? Probably one of your smarter decisions with a comment like the one you’ve posted here.
      The vandalism could have been done by anyone…their race has NOTHING to do with it. If you stop & think about it; there are good & bad people in EVERY race. Please don’t automatically assume it was one particular group of people just because you don’t know how to show respect to EVERYONE. I understand if someone gives you a reason NOT to respect them. I ask for you to remember that one person only represent themselves…not everyone from their cultural background.
      I hope you & your family have a great Christmas.

  5. Figures the trash doesn’t have the balls to do that shit with Marines around, have to wait until everyone is gone to be all big and bad. Probably stupid socialists.

  6. The people who did this are worse than animals. But you know what? THEY LOSE! Social Media got the word out and the toys are being replaced and thousands more are being donated. You just made Christmas very happy for a lot more kids. See – WE THE PEOPLE love our children – and THAT is bigger than anything YOU do. We will ALWAYS come back – BIGGER AND BETTER. So – suggest you give it up.

  7. Truly sickening. However, as expected our brothers and sisters over in the USMC have done damage control and are carrying on with this most noble tradition. This isn’t about immigration or politics, it is about kids and your actions more than demonstrate that point. From this Army vet let me just say thank you. Also thank you for posting the site where we can donate. Semper Fi Marines. You have always got Santa’s six covered.

    • SSG H, I love your comment! I wish everyone could see this is NOT about immigration or politics, it has nothing to do with either of those. You’re right, this has everything to do with a wonderful program the USMC has been doing for years for the children of this amazing country.
      I also want to say Thank You for your service! This proud American & mother of a Marine, appreciates your willingness to do what so many can’t.

  8. What kind of sick, twisted, bastard would do this? I’ll bet it was a couple of these tolerant, liberal, children we’ve been so privileged to meet these last few weeks!

  9. The stock photo used for the news article is of 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, where we were doing Toys For Tots at an Oakland Raiders game, I think that’s from 2014? I was there, but I don’t recall the year.

  10. Hang them by there balls then start beating the fucking shit out them then cut there junk off then throw them in a pool of rubbing alcohol assholes

  11. This makes me sick. It doesn’t get any lower than this, stealing toys from children. I really hope the criminals are brought to justice. So sad.

  12. Did anyone notice the Marines that are working to correct this may be thinking it, but haven’t made a negative comment in a public forum? Let’s make this about the kids and the Marines who continue to work to put a little happiness in the lives of those less fortunate. Let’s be bigger than the culprits who did this. Lets NOT give them their 15 minutes of “fame”. God Bless our U.S. Marine Corps!!

  13. I’m Commandant of the Marine Corps League Detachment in Pitt County NC. Well done my Brothers and Sisters of the Sanford Detachment of the MCL
    If you need our assistance please contact me.ASAP.

  14. Truly sad… I am part of a jeep club in Illinois called Jeeps On The Run..Annually we host one of the biggest Toys for Tots Run’s in The state. After hearing of this we are committing to a $1000 donation to the Lee county area Toys for Tots program. Our members and staff hope that we can encourage others to help and pay it forward.

  15. Ok I can see stealing if your kids don’t have anything. Or maybe to sell it. But why senseless vandalism? I suspect it the same type of kids that smash new homes, video it and post it online. In a few day their vandalism will be all over social media.

  16. Call the marines the army and every service member to find who ever did this they’ll be tough a lesson they’ll never forget for generations, even their grand grand grand kids will feel the ass whooping they get for doing this to innocent kids


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