Sheriff says mom tried to take advantage of holiday toy program

- The Toy Express Program has been a Christmas tradition at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for years. Employees spend months collecting toys and donations from the community and local businesses for underprivileged children.

This year, hundreds of children will receive gifts through the program, but Sheriff Johnny Moats is riled up over one mom who tried to take advantage of the program.

“She came in to collect the toys and coats that would go to her kids, then came back a few minutes later saying we didn’t give her enough toys!” said Sheriff Moats.

The sheriff said that was bad enough, but within 20 minutes he got a phone call from a concerned citizen saying the mom had gone to the local Walmart and tried to return the coats and toys.

“She was getting toys that was going to be for her kids and trading them for whatever,” said Sheriff Moats.

The sheriff said it’s bad enough she was taking advantage of the generosity of others, she was also cheating her own kids.

“So now these kids, unless another family member or organization helps them out, they’re probably not going to get Christmas. That’s what makes me sad,” said Sheriff Moats.

The sheriff said this is the first time that he knows about that someone has done this, and he’s already taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“If I catch them up there doing it again, we will arrest, I’m not going to put up with that,” said Sheriff Moats.

He said the program is a good one and he hopes the actions of this one woman won’t keep people from giving.

“People may to scam us, but look at all the families we help, all the kids that get something for Christmas,” says Sheriff Moats.

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