D.C. cops caught stealing from Toys for Tots on Christmas eve
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Saturday December 27, 2008

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This year, the Grinch is wearing blue instead of green.

On Christmas day, four Washington, D.C. police officers were caught on tape stealing from Toys for Tots, a charity organization that collects toys for poor children. The United States Marines led the group's toy collection drive.

Yvonne Smith, the Washington, D.C. police department's outreach coordinator, pleaded with the media for less focus on the crooked officers.

This "starts off Christmas on a sour note, puts distance between the community and the police, and worst of all, tarnishes the image of the Department during a time when we are trying to build strong relationships to foster trust that ultimately helps us solve crimes," she wrote in an e-mail to D.C.-area media.

Smith added that officers with her department had never done anything like this before -- both distributing, and stealing, the charitable toys.

“Please don’t let the Christmas story of the day be about an investigation of officers who make up .001 percent of the department,” she concluded. “Many many many more members made outstanding contributions during this holiday season to make a difference in the lives of families who are struggling.”

"Anytime we are involved in programs that have potential for abuse we ask for the assistance of our Internal Affairs to maintain the integrity of our department and our members," said Police Chief Cathy Lanier. "In this case, I am sad to say that monitoring has uncovered some questionable behavior of a few of our members."

No arrests have been made, but D.C. police say the officers have been placed on paid suspension pending the investigation's conclusion. Chief Lainer has vowed to see the officers "prosecuted to the full extent of the law."