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GRINCH & GRITS: Atlanta Hit by Christmas Toy Bandit

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There is a funny thing about the holidays that we don’t like to talk about too much, but bears understanding:  Everything bad feels worse the closer we get to Christmas.

Bad behavior takes on a whole new tone when we’re all about to receive gifts and such abundant love.  We know better better, in a lot of ways, understanding that we can and will be judge for our actions regardless of the generosity under the tree.

Adversely, the tragedies of the season hit harder too, and we would each be hard pressed to find a friend who can’t recall a sad moment connected to this time of year.

And, above all, those who choose the heinous route appear especially vile this time of year, like the Atlanta holiday toy bandit.

For nearly a century, the Empty Stocking Fund has battled poverty in Georgia through its Christmas gift program for children in need. But in recent years, the nonprofit has had to wage another kind of fight.

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Its southwest Atlanta warehouse has been targeted in a rash of break-ins by what authorities believe to be a serial bandit who has stolen thousands of dollars worth of toys. The capers have threatened the nonprofit’s mission to ensure every child, no matter their economic status, receives a gift that brings them joy during the holiday season.

The group was determined to press on.

“We’re not going to let one Grinch steal Christmas, but it is and it has proven very difficult to keep him out of our building,” said Manda Hunt, executive director for the nonprofit.

Hunt, who has led the Empty Stocking Fund since 2010, said the problems started in 2020 after moving to its 24,000 square-foot home in the Pittsburgh neighborhood. The nonprofit believes the man at some point last year gained access to the facility by posing as a volunteer. The break-ins started last holiday season and have accelerated this year.

The group also detailed some horrible trouble from last year as well, when a thief posed as a delivery volunteer for the organization, only to later discover that they had taken the products all for themselves.

All the coal in West Virginia isn’t enough for their stocking.

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About the Author:
As a lifelong advocate for the dream promised us in the Constitution, Andrew West has spent his years authoring lush prose editorial dirges regarding America's fall from grace and her path back to prosperity. When West isn't railing against the offensive whims of the mainstream media or the ideological cruelty that is so rampant in the US, he spends his time seeking adventurous new food and fermented beverages, with the occasional round of golf peppered in.