Thieves break into Cherry Bomb Toys, steal donation box
Shattered glass on Cherry Bomb Toy's backdoor is pictured: Dec. 13, 2019 (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Downtown Victoria's Cherry Bomb Toys suffered a disheartening loss Friday after thieves smashed through the business's back door and swiped years-worth of donations from the store and museum's donation box.
According to Cherry Bomb Toys owner B. Woodward, the thieves broke into the store at approximately 6:15 a.m.
"We got calls and our neighbours were telling us, 'Hey there's something going on', and I run out back and I see that somebody's smashed the back door and gone into the store and smashed the donation box and stolen all the money that was in there," said Woodward.
"6:17 a.m. is when we were alerted, so by the time I got there at about 6:20 a.m., they were long gone."
Woodward, who runs the toy store with his wife, lives just one floor above the downtown business. While he's not entirely sure how much money was contained in the donation box, he said it was the accumulation of several years of donations.
"We had people from all over the world, there was some very interesting pieces in there," said Woodward. "We had some people donate some original King George Canadian dollar bills, American two-dollar bills and all kinds of unique money from around the world."
Cherry Bomb Toys, which is also home to the National Toy Museum of Canada, has suffered several blows due to extenuating circumstances that the community has rallied to support in the past.
The most recent setback came when the historic Plaza Hotel, which borders the store, burned down in May. Smoke from the blaze forced the business to close for several days, and then exhibits in the museum needed to be scrubbed of smoke damage.
Woodward adds that since the Plaza Hotel was demolished, foot traffic and suspicious activity have increased in the alleyway behind the store, which used to be between Cherry Bomb and the Plaza Hotel.
The local business owner says that the city needs to do more to make residents and visitors in downtown Victoria feel more secure.
"We need to put more money into the policing," says Woodward. "I called at 6:30 in the morning and it's after 10 [a.m.] now and they haven't been able to come over and see me."
"I'm sorry city council, I appreciate what you're doing but don't ask for raises, let's put the money into the police department," says Woodward. "Let's put the money into mental health, let's put the money into where we need to take care of our citizens and businesses so that our city grows stronger and better."
Woodward said that while the theft was disheartening, the store and museum will endure.
"There's going to be all sorts of crazy things that happen in your day and no matter what, just keep smiling," said Woodward. "We're grateful we're still here, we're grateful that the building didn't burn down and we're grateful for all the love and support we get from people. That's why we keep going."