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Toys For Tots Tries To Get Past Theft 

Since news of a volunteer stealing toys surfaced last week, organizers of the Toys for Tots program say donations have been on the rise.With less than two weeks until Christmas, this is what’s known as crunch time for the volunteers at the Toys for Tots facility in Brewer. The folks here are also dealing with the news that one of their own has betrayed them. Jim Nickerson, a 3 year volunteer, admitted last week he stole from Toys for Tots. Other volunteers, like Phyllis Wolf who has volunteered here for the past 4 years, say they were shocked by the news. “I was angry,” she says. “I kept coming here and saying where are the toys? How come we don’t have any toys this year? And I just thought donations were down.” Skip Young, a coordinator for Toys for Tots, says they’re trying to move on from this. “The kids are going to get their toys, Christmas is still going to happen and if you have one bad apple in the basket not all of them are bad.”Other organizations have stepped up to help out. Over the weekend, the Bar Harbor Merchants Association turned their holiday open house into a fund raiser to raise money and toys for Toys for Tots. Young says he’s learned from this incident. “Well when I start bringing in volunteers I look a lot more closely, scrutinize them a bit more.”The investigation into Nickerson’s behavior continues to shed light on what happened and it’s hanging over the heads of the folks who volunteer here. “From what I understand, they took like 13 pages of items off EBAY that he had on their for sale but he stated that this has only been a couple months,” says Young. “It goes beyond that because some of the things he had we recognize from last year.”The remaining volunteers have their own ideas on where Nickerson should spend next Christmas. “I think he needs to go to jail.”Young says the authorities need to make an example out of Nickerson. “Because if not, we’re going to have people volunteering and just grabbing a handful of stuff and saying hey nothings going to happen to me.”