Central Florida woman accused stealing from Toys for Tots

EAGLE LAKE, Fla. (WSVN) — A former Toys for Tots volunteer in central Florida is behind bars, accused of scamming the charity out of more than a hundred toys.

Fox 13 reports that Polk County Sheriff’s deputies received a tip that 38-year-old Tammy Strickland had kept toys she received from Toys for Tots that were intended for needy children.

Investigators discovered Strickland submitted applications on behalf of nearly 170 children and adults, providing fake names and even what gifts the non-existent children wanted for Christmas.

Deputies set up an undercover sting, making Strickland believe she was going to get more donations. But when she drove up in her Cadillac, she was arrested instead.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office displayed some of the toys found at Strickland's home. (Photo courtesy: Fox 13)
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office displayed some of the toys found at Strickland’s home. (Photo courtesy: Fox 13)

Upon searching her home, deputies found 118 toys still in their packaging. They’re now reviewing applications Strickland submitted to Toys for Tots last year as well, and say several have already been determined to be fake.

Sheriff Grady Judd compared Strickland to the Dr. Seuss character ‘the Grinch,’ saying she also was receiving government assistance.

“The wonderful people of this state and this nation are paying her so she can steal from the kids,” Sheriff Judd said. “Are you kidding me? Come on, girl! You drive a Cadillac, you steal toys from kids, and the federal government is giving you $511 a month? Wow.”

Strickland faces dozens of charges, including grand theft, fraud, and providing counterfeit identification.

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