Crime

Christmas toys were for tots, not for lying Grinch, says sheriff

Tammy Strickland is facing charges of grand theft, 28 counts of providing false statement to obtain property, obtaining property by fraud and 164 counts of possessing counterfeit /fictitious identification
Tammy Strickland is facing charges of grand theft, 28 counts of providing false statement to obtain property, obtaining property by fraud and 164 counts of possessing counterfeit /fictitious identification Polk County Sheriff’s Office

A 38-year-old Eagle Lake woman is facing serious charges after illegally attempting to collect more than one hundred toys from Toys for Tots.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Tammy Strickland used 140 fictitious children’s names and 28 fictitious adult names on falsified “Toys for Tots” applications.

Strickland then picked up the toys and loaded them into a trailer on Monday at the the Toys for Tots warehouse. She was then taken into custody, arrested, and transported to the Polk County jail.

She is facing charges of grand theft, 28 counts of providing false statement to obtain property, obtaining property by fraud and 164 counts of possessing counterfeit /fictitious identification.

"Children in need. ‘Toys for Tots.’ These things are synonymous with Christmas," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "And sadly, in this case, so is the Grinch.

"Tammy Strickland spent a long time filling out fraudulent applications for non-existent children to receive toys. Now she’ll be spending a lot of time in jail."

Authorities said they first received a tip last month about Strickland.

Investigating detectives then determined Strickland had submitted a large number of applications requesting assistance from Toys for Tots on behalf of dozens of children. Strickland was listed as the “contact person” on each of the applications.

Undercover deputies met Strickland at the Toys for Tots warehouse in the Eagle Lake area on Monday. With the help of several family members accompanying her, Strickland loaded the toys on the trailer.

Strickland, who has three other arrests dating back to 2006, was then arrested.

Also, deputies served a search warrant at Strickland's home and discovered another 118 unwrapped toys still in their packaging.

A witness in the home said the toys were from “Toys For Tots.”

Detectives determined that Strickland submitted “Toys for Tots” applications during 2015 as well. Those applications are currently under review.

"Is she selling them?" Judd asked. "Is she giving them away?

"(I don't know). But she just dadgum sure is stealing."

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