Thief takes money from Bay Area toy drive helping children in need

"Then all of a sudden, she started screaming..." Thief targets annual toy drive days before it ends
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- For the past 28 years, the Northern California chapter of the NFL Alumni organization has partnered with the Domini Hoskins Black History Museum to hold an annual toy drive in Redwood City.

This year had been no different, until Saturday afternoon.

"Then all of a sudden, she started screaming saying we're being robbed," said Carolyn Hoskins.

Hoskins is the director of the drive, which collects both toys and monetary donations to help provide better Christmases for children in need.

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She says around 3p.m. on Saturday afternoon, a man walked into the group's storefront on Jefferson Avenue.

Hoskins says the man was friendly and chatted with several members of her team, including herself.

Then, all of a sudden, as he was near the door, the man smashed his hands into the donation box and ran off with the money the group had been raising for the past two days.

Hoskins says the man was friendly and chatted with several members of her team, including herself.

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"It was going to go to buy gift cards and things that were much needed, you know, for kids. Now, that money's gone," Hoskins said.

Hoskins estimates that about $500 were stolen.

She says she's heartbroken that someone would steal money from the organization.

"We're here to help people. If he needed money, even if he would have asked me, I would have donated, you know, to his cause."

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Hoskins says the man rode away on a bike and was wearing what appeared to be some sort of law enforcement badge.

"When I saw the badge on him, I felt comfortable. It wasn't like somebody I felt I had to watch," Hoskins said.

Redwood City police have opened an investigation into the incident, and told Hoskins that the badge was likely a fake.

But with just a few days left until the toy drive is set to end, Hoskins is now asking for the community's help to make Christmas a little brighter despite the day's dark events.

"We're asking people to please try and help us to regroup the money that was taken from us today," Hoskins said.

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