A 38-year-old woman has been jailed after scamming the charity she worked for, fleecing toys meant for needy children this Christmas.
Tammy Strickland, a former Toys for Tots volunteer, had personally kept hundreds of toys intended for underprivileged kids in the Eagle Lake area in Florida, according to Fox 13 News. Toys for Tots is a program managed by the United States Marine Corps where toys are doled out to children whose parents find it difficult to afford during the holiday season.
Detectives,following a tip, apprehended Strickland who had submitted bogus applications for children’s toys using 28 fabricated adult names and a whooping 140 fabricated children’s names. She was picked up in an undercover sting at a Toys for Tots warehouse where she had submitted counterfeit applications.
Strickland really meant business, arriving at the place in a 2005 Cadillac Escalade to load all the toys. She is charged with 166 felony counts, including using fake identification and grand theft, as well as 28 other misdemeanor charges. A further search of Tammy’s home revealed 118 unwrapped toys. A witness in the home confirmed that they were all from the charitable organization. Police authorities established that the 38-year-old had pulled off a similar caper in 2015.
As of the time of this report, it had not been confirmed why Strickland was fleecing a large amount of toys from unsuspecting donors. But according to Grady Judd, the Polk County sheriff, Tammy ran an income tax preparation company and had been advertising about giving toys away to her customers. The sheriff was particularly annoyed that Tammy was hoodwinking the charity she worked for and yet was on the government’s payroll.
“The wonderful people of this state and this nation are paying her so she can steal from the kids. Are you kidding me? You drive a Cadillac, you steal toys from kids and the federal government is giving you $511 a month? Wow.”
During the press conference, Judd displayed the toys seized from the 38-year old and held up a picture of Dr, Seuss’ green-skinned Christmas character, the Grinch, and displayed Strickland’s mug shot alongside it. Judd described her as “the Grinch” who wanted to ruin Christmas for the little kids.
“This is really not the Grinch…this is the Grinch. There would have been 140 children going without Christmas this year because of her ugly attitude. We’re excited that she’s in jail. It makes my Christmas a happy Christmas to know that this Grinch, who was stealing those toys intended for children, is locked up.”
According to a Bay News report, police received a tip-off last month about Tammy Strickland. Detectives had been reeled in after she submitted an avalanche of applications asking for toys on behalf of many children. She was listed as the “contact person” on every application.
When questioned by detectives, Tammy tried to paint a picture that the children would be deeply saddened if they did not get their toys before Christmas.
“I was like maybe the applications that I took didn’t get in or something, so I started panicking because I have so many people calling me.”
The undercover deputies had allowed her go to the Toys for Tots warehouse in the Eagle Lake axis and arrested her while several family members were helping her load the toys. This is not the first time that the 38-year old has been arrested. She has three other arrests, dating back to 2006.
A genuine Toys for Tots volunteer said it was simply crazy to realize that there was someone trying to steal toys from kids. Tammy Strickland’s bail has been set at $30,000.
While the 38-year-old Florida woman was trying to deprive needy children a good Christmas, a New York couple was doing the exact opposite. Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker receive hundreds of letters from disadvantaged children every Yuletide season and answer every one of them.
According to the Daily Mail, in 2010 the pair mysteriously began receiving letters to their apartment, but addressed to Santa Claus. The requests were heartbreaking, with poor kids asking for shoes, blankets and food. The married couple began asking family, friends, and strangers for help.
This year they have responded to 400 letters. Most of the requests are from New York City and kids asking for basic necessities, including kids who want to eat turkey on Christmas day, rather than go to a soup kitchen.
Their Facebook page is now a go-to portal for people looking to support charitable causes during Christmas.
[Featured Image by Asiseeit/iStockPhoto]