Store owner outraged at poppy can theft

Barb
Barb Sweet
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Robert Tucker is shown in his St. John’s store, Tucker’s Superette, where thieves made off with a poppy fund can this week. — Photo by Barb Sweet/The Telegram

In the several decades that Tucker’s Superette in St. John’s has sold Remembrance Day poppies, no one ever touched the donation can — until now.

“This is really low,” said store owner Robert Tucker, whose late father, also Robert, started the business in 1934.

“It’s a bit much that someone would stoop so low. They don’t care anymore.”

The poppy can was grabbed by a man and a woman, seizing an opportunity when an employee briefly turned away from the counter on Tuesday.

In the lead-up to Remembrance Day, the convenience store, like other businesses, sells poppies on behalf of the Royal Canadian Legion. The annual campaign is the major source of funding for the legion.

The theft was captured on videotape and Tucker said he reported it to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

Tucker, who began helping in the store in the 1970s and took it over full-time in 1978, said extended family members — uncles and cousins — fought in the Second World War, which lasted from 1939-45.

He recalls a cousin, Phillip Tucker, who was wounded with shrapnel after serving on a ship that was torpedoed.

“As a child, I remember seeing his back scarred by shrapnel,” Tucker said Friday between serving customers in the busy store. “He had been a strong man and he suffered all his life.”

The store is still selling poppies, but now keeps the donations behind the counter.

“Now you can’t put the poppy can out and trust the public,” he said. “(The thieves) have no respect.”

Tucker said the pair, who he figures are aged 25-30, have been in the store before and will be pegged sooner or later.

“The police are doing a fantastic job. We’ve never had a better police force,” Tucker said. “But they are so damn busy.”

He said even if caught, the thieves won’t get much out of the justice system, which he said creates a climate where criminals don’t serve adequate time on multiple charges.

“It’s just as well for them to giv ’er,” Tucker said of the thieves.

A staff member at the Royal Canadian Legion in St. John’s told The Telegram Friday its had reports of four poppy can thefts so far this year.

The Canadian Press has reported several thefts of poppy donation boxes in Ontario.

The artificial poppy pins are an iconic symbol of war remembrance. According to the Royal Canadian Legion website, on July 5, 1921, the forefather of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Great War Veterans Association, adopted the poppy as its “Flower of Remembrance.”

The primary purpose of the Poppy Trust Fund is to provide financial assistance to ex-servicemen and women in need, and to their dependants.

Canadian John McCrae most famously wrote about poppies in his poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium, in the First World War.

Organizations: Royal Canadian Legion, Canadian Press, Great War Veterans Association Poppy Trust Fund

Geographic location: Ypres, Belgium

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    November 09, 2011 - 00:58

    Lots of easy answers here from people that will probably not really contribute any measurable change. Cheer Bear said it simply. That is all there is to say about the root of the problem. Human addiction and it's power kills the humanity before the body.

  • Cheer Bear
    November 06, 2011 - 10:32

    It's not even about respect. They are drug addicts. When you are a drug addict, everything else goes out the window except how to get more drugs.

  • redrantingtory
    November 06, 2011 - 09:37

    A thief ranks down there with the lowest forms of life and criminals as far as I'm concerned. I despise them. This thief has sunken to a new low of all lows. Stealing a poppy can and stealing from veterans who fought in wars to give him the freedom to sit on his lazy ass all day and do nothing only go out and steal to support his greedy no good life. How do these people sleep at night? Should they get jail time? Yes and then they should be made to stand on a corner on the busiest street in St Johns with a sign telling that they are a thief and that they stole a poppy can from veterans. They should also be forced to work community service for nothing to pay back the amount stolen a hundred times over. Shame on you, you lowlife.

  • Peggy
    November 05, 2011 - 23:34

    Absolutely no respect or gratitude whatsoever for the Veterans who served so that we may live in the freedom we do have. Thousands upon hundreds of thousands died, others were severely wounded, others forever traumatized mentally and emotionally because of horrendous memories, etc.., and for another heartless so-called human being to do such a thing as steal Poppy donations, they should be punished. When caught, spread their names and faces all over the media. If caught before November 11th., show them at the War Memorial Services passing the tins back to an elderly Veteran. Shame them to the extent; they deserve no less; then put them in jail. What a mockery to our Veterans.

  • Joan M.Downey
    November 05, 2011 - 20:28

    Whenever these NO GOODS are caught PLEASE, PLEASE send them overseas as our fore fathers done. Not with warm clothes and winter outfits but as the veterans did in the first and second world wars. I don't want to pay by housing these scums in warm jails with movies and cigarettes while some of our DEAR veterans are either going to be cold or don't know where their next hot meal is coming from this winter. If they are big enough to do the crime let's also see them do the time.

  • yo mama
    November 05, 2011 - 17:31

    Hey, today's youth have to support their drug habit somehow, when the ability to access drugs has disappeared, so will most of the crime. Where do I send a resume to become Premier? Drug dealers will be hanging off the overpasses for all to enjoy.

  • David
    November 05, 2011 - 15:53

    Yup, it's a disgusting, stomach-turning crime. But if you operate a convenience store in St. John's in 2011, and you for any reason put a container of money within grabbing distance of the scumbags who live among you, well, something just isn't wired right.

  • Disgusting
    November 05, 2011 - 14:25

    This happened at my work last year. The part that I hated was it was while I was working. I was helping out a nother customer and about a half hour later I noticed the can was missing. I know it was pretty full because I had to move it not long before. Believe it or not there really isn;t enough in there to ever make people even wanna consider taking it but people still do. I just don't understand it. You might get $20 or something in it. Big deal. Go get a job and work a cpl of hours and EARN it.

  • Disgusting
    November 05, 2011 - 14:24

    This happened at my work last year. The part that I hated was it was while I was working. I was helping out a nother customer and about a half hour later I noticed the can was missing. I know it was pretty full because I had to move it not long before. Believe it or not there really isn;t enough in there to ever make people even wanna consider taking it but people still do. I just don't understand it. You might get $20 or something in it. Big deal. Go get a job and work a cpl of hours and EARN it.

  • The Draft is Good
    November 05, 2011 - 11:35

    Make these crooks Vetrans, send them off to to the middle east like Bosina or Afganhistan and the varried peace keeping missions.

  • Willie Hunt Pouch Cove NL
    November 05, 2011 - 10:03

    When I signed up for WW2 all they gave me was a tin hat and a gun. The kids today got the fancy tanks, airplanes and this and that and this and that. Its a lot different now. Back in my day you'd tighten up your spats and go...no lookin' back...caution to the wind....brute stength and ignorance got me thru it. If you have a can full of money in your general store around here you are better off drivin' a 4 inch nail into the counter so no one gaffs it. Willie Hunt Pouch Cove NL

  • nobody
    November 05, 2011 - 09:20

    Another example of why the justice system needs an update. Not the police. It's odd so many are fighting Harpers new crime bill. Like Harper or not, he does want to make changes to a system that will help get people like this off our streets.

  • Kevin Power
    November 05, 2011 - 08:24

    Thieves are everywhere and they would rather steal than work. Some people are , plain and simple, just no good. These two losers are just an example of lowlife.